Toms River North tops Toms River East 42-24

Toms River North tops Toms River East 42-24

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Toms River North tops Toms River East 42-24

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TOMS RIVER

For the 19 seniors on Toms River North, it was the perfect way to end their careers.

Toms River North defeated Toms River East (2-8, 0-6) 42-24 Friday night in their annual Thanksgiving rivalry game. With the win, North (6-4, 5-2) cut East’s lead in the series to 17-15-1.

“To win the final football game that I’m ever going to play is a great feeling,” said senior wide receiver Damien Singleton, who had four catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns. “It’s great to win against them.”

Singleton scored on touchdown catches of 7 and 43 yards.

“They are a great group of kids,” North head coach Chip LaBarca Jr. said of his senior class. “It was a really hard-working group of kids and I’m happy that we could send them out with a win.”

The Mariners had to come from behind to win the game. Midway through the second quarter the Raiders (2-8, 0-6) led 10-7, but the North offense rallied to scored 21 unanswered points to take a 28-10 halfway through the third quarter.

“I think that there was a little bit of hangover from last week,” LaBarca said. “Any time you are knocked out of the playoffs and then have to come back and play, there is going to be a little letdown.”

Last week, North lost to Eastern 24-14 in the first round of the NJSIAA South Group V playoffs.

“At the start of the second half we thought that we could throw on them a little bit,” LaBarca said. “We threw in some play action and were able to get some of our guys in space, which is something that we wanted to do.”

The win also gave the Mariners a bit of revenge after dropping last year’s game 29-17 and giving up nearly 500 yards of offense.

“This game is almost bigger than most ’cause we are playing against kids that we know and to be able to beat them the final time we ever play, it’s a great feeling,” senior offensive lineman Garrett Kroeger said. “We practiced hard all week, we were ready for them, we could not have what happened last year happen again.”

“It was important to send the seniors out with a win,” said North sophomore quarterback Carmen Sclafani, who finished with 350 yards of total offense on 108 yards rushing and 242 yards passing, and had four combined touchdowns.

“This being my first year as quarterback, I could not have a better group of guys to look up to,” Sclafani said. “These kids have taught me things that I’m going to take with me the rest of my life. They are great role models.”

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