Green Wave get physical

Green Wave get physical

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Green Wave get physical

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LONG BRANCH

This morning, those five turnovers which led to an opening-day loss to Manasquan feel like a long, long time ago to the Long Branch High School football team.

Hosting previously unbeaten Wall (3-1), the Green Wave played physical football, made some big plays on offense, and did not make any turnovers in a convincing 28-3 Class B North victory on Friday.

“We are a physical team,” said Long Branch coach Dan George. “This was the first game we didn’t turn the ball over and we did not hurt ourselves. That put us in position and when some big plays came along we made them.”

The first three quarters played out like three different games. Long Branch punted on its first two possessions while Wall kicked a field goal (a 44-yarder from Phil Shields) and later reached the Green Wave 19-yard line.

As soon as the teams changed direction, Long Branch’s offense struck three times on three plays which decided the game.

On the first play of the second quarter, senior quarterback Shabazz Shuler (4-for-6 for 82 yards) connected with Myson Pennington on a 64 yard catch-and-run toucndown. Pennington caught the ball eight yards upfield, pivoted to the inside, then streaked towards the left end zone untouched.

After Wall stalled at the Green Wave 30-yard line, Long Branch scored in three plays. On third down, Wall’s defense was playing tight, trying to stop the first down. Senior Wave tailback Raphael Williams raced through the line untouched and crossed the goal line 62 yards later.

Wall, perhaps stunned by the offensive explosion, turned the ball over on its next two possessions. Williams intercepted a pass which had deflected off of a receiver and returned the fortunate bounce 37 yards to the Wall 12-yard line.

On the first play, Shuler faked a handoff and ran around the right side for the score. In a span of 12 minutes, the Green Wave turned a 3-0 deficit into a 21-3 halftime lead.

The second-half statistics seemed to flat-out lie. Wall’s offense was on the field for 30 of the first 34 snaps. But the only score after the half was an 8-yard touchdown run by the Green Wave’s punishing senior Tyrone Covin. All that Wall gained in that frustrating third quarter was some black and blue marks on quarterback Jack Gifford.

Covin also excelled on defense, crashing through for several tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

“Our quarterback played excellent today,” George said. “In order to beat a contender like Wall we have to play a complete football game and that’s what we did. And we made some shots down the field.”

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