Shore Regional keeps up momentum

Shore Regional keeps up momentum

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Shore Regional keeps up momentum

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KEYPORT

Shore Regional showed quite convincingly it lost none of the momentum from a six-game winning streak prior to superstorm Sandy.

Junior quarterback Matt Muh threw for three touchdowns and senior running back Mark Costantino rushed for 170 yards and scored three times as the Blue Devils defeated host Keyport, 49-14, in a Class B Central game on Saturday.

With the win, Shore (7-1, 4-0) pulled into a first-place tie with Point Beach in B Central. The Blue Devils also put themselves in good position to gain a top seed in the NJSIAA Central Group I playoffs.

Both teams had players and coaches from towns that bore the brunt of Sandy’s destructive force — Shore Regional drawing from Sea Bright, Monmouth Beach and Oceanport, Keyport from Union Beach — and getting back to football was a difficult task for both sides.

“It was a weird two weeks, but we had a good week of practice,” Shore coach Mark Costantino said. “Most kids lost a lot of things, and to put it together really impresses me. We got hit hard.”

“There was a lot of devastation for the kids and the coaches, also,” said Keyport coach Mike Ciccotelli, whose mother died from an illness the day of the storm. “I lost my mother. It was nice to get back onto the field and practice when we did, but the devastation for these kids, it’s something that’s going to impact them for the rest of their lives.”

It was Shore that came out and played as strong as it had prior to Sandy, taking a 35-0 lead into halftime. Costantino opened the scoring by following his own 50-yard gain with a 17-yard touchdown run with 4:27 left in the first quarter to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead.

Shore then struck for four touchdowns in the second quarter. Muh (6 of 8, 139 yards) threw touchdown passes of 31 and 20 yards to senior receiver Tyler Vivian sandwiched around a 56-yard scoring strike to Costantino as the Blue Devils opened a 28-0 lead.

Senior running back Kevin Masica tacked on a 22-yard touchdown run with 1:54 left before halftime to make it 35-0.

“We knew how much this game meant to us,” the younger Costantino said. “That’s what we really wanted to do, we wanted to come out and send a message this week, and that’s what we did. We wanted to come out and just show that with everything going on we stay focused no matter what and just keep playing.”

“We didn’t expect this,” coach Costantino said. “We thought it would be a much closer game because they’ve really improved since early in the season. But we came out hitting on all cylinders today and we were able to get up on them. They’re a resilient bunch of kids.”

Keyport (6-3, 2-3) scored in the third quarter when junior quarterback Alex Thomson (13-25, 205 yards) threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Greg Armstrong to make it 35-7. Costantino, though, answered with a 68-yard touchdown run to give Shore a 42-7 lead.

“You wonder coming into a game like this how much of the focus was on the game,” Ciccotelli said. “Not taking anything away from Shore Regional, they’re a very good football team and they executed everything well. I just hope my kids — Keyport kids, Union Beach kids — can get it all back together. They’re devastated, kids living in other people’s homes right now because their houses were destroyed. We just do what we have to do.”

Admission to the game was free as patrons contributed at the gate to benefit a local relief fund.

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