Jerod Johnson and Carteret’s prolific offense were shut out for the first 24 minutes by a motivated Woodbridge defense and appeared to be in trouble as they left the field at halftime last night clinging to a one-point lead.
But the Ramblers’ offense erupted for two touchdowns a mere 14 seconds apart midway through the third quarter and Johnson crossed the goal line three times in the second half as Carteret reverted to form and ran its record to 5-0 with a 33-12 victory.
Johnson, who ran for 132 yards on 21 carries, ignited the scoring barrage with a 19-yard touchdown run off left tackle to cap a 65-yard, eight-play to open the second half.
Woodbridge fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Tyler Pitchford recovered for Carteret at the Barrons’ 25. On the very next play, Tyler Rodriguez hooked up with Brandon Gilder in the end zone for a 20-6 lead with 7:29 left in the half.
“We just wanted to stick with the game plan and make sure we executed,” Johnson said. “We came out and executed in the second half and put points on the board.”
Woodbridge (3-3) responded with its best drive of the game, travelling 63 yards in 15 plays, with James Rueb scoring on a 1-yard keeper to reduce the margin to 20-12 with 2:25 left in the third period.
Woodbridge failed to register a first down on any of its three remaining possessions, while Johnson tacked on touchdowns on a 20-yard screen pass and a 15-yard run.
“We did a good job defensively, then they had the one drive right at the start of the second half,” Woodbridge coach Bill Nyers said. “We were inconsistent, that was our problem.”
Carteret entered the contest averaging 41 points per outing but just because Woodbridge kept the Ramblers’ high-powered offense out of the end zone in the first half doesn’t mean that the Barrons were pitching a shutout, however.
Woodbridge’s Robert Martinez picked off a Carteret pass on the Ramblers’ third play from scrimmage, giving the Barrons the ball at the Carteret 37. Woodbridge advanced as far as the six before settling for a 27-yard field goal by Martinez for a 3-0 edge five minutes into the contest.
Carteret went three-and-out but forced a punt on Woodbridge’s next possession. Carteret’s Erik Fruscella gathered in the ensuing punt at his 30, darted to his left and outran the Barrons kicking team for a 7-3 lead with 1:45 left in the opening quarter.
Fruscella appeared to follow that return with an 86-yard touchdown jaunt off a Woodbridge punt on its next possession, but a block in the back penalty returned the ball back to the Carteret 28. The Ramblers marched 64 yards downfield but stalled at the eight and came away empty.
“We were moving the ball, we had the 12, 13 play drive there that we didn’t get points on,” Carteret coach Matt Yascko said. “Were we concerned? No, but we have some things to work on.”
Woodbridge, aided by a 41-yard pickup on a hook-and-ladder from midfield, failed to convert a first-and-goal from the nine and turned to Martinez for a 29-yard field goal with 30 seconds remaining that brought to score to 7-6 at the break.