Defense provided the Carteret High School football team with a fourth quarter stop of Raritan to preserve a 12-7 victory on Friday night.
After Raritan has pulled within 12-7 late in the game, the Rockets recovered an onsides kick, but coach, Matt Yascko’s Rambler defense held the Rockets on a fourth-down play to end the comeback.
“Defensively it was all game,” Yascko said. “Offensively we didn’t get going at all. Penalties and turnovers hurt us, but defensively we were putting them in bad positions. Until that second-to-last drive we shut them out for the game. I think the game was all about the defensive effort and how we played.”
Both touchdowns for the Ramblers came within minutes of each other in the middle of the third quarter.
After getting sacked on a 2nd-and-7 play, quarterback Nelson Baez threw a 95 yard touchdown strike to wide receiver, Brandon Gilder.
“It was just instinct,” Baez said. “He (Gilder) is a good athlete. We just figured we’d throw it up and let him go get it. We had a lot of miscommunications in the first half, so we figured we’d come out passing in the second half.”
Running back, Terrell Merricks was held to only 36 yards on 19 carries. The Ramblers struggled to run the ball all game, and that was something Baez was able to recognize.
“We need to run the ball,” Baez said. “It’s something we definitely need to work on.”
After forcing the Rockets to a three-and-out on the following drive, and an obvious punt situation, Ra’keem Bennett recovered a blocked punt and took it into the end zone, which put the Ramblers up two scores.
The game began and ended with spectacular defensive play by the home team and even though it wasn’t played to Yascko’s likings, the Ramblers’ coach was satisfied with his team coming out victorious.
“It doesn’t have to be pretty,” Yascko said. “We need to try to win any game that comes our way. I don’t care if it’s by a point or by 10 points. We’ll take the ‘W’s and move on.”