Matawan does just enough to beat Red Bank

Matawan does just enough to beat Red Bank

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Matawan does just enough to beat Red Bank

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ABERDEEN

The Matawan formula for success this year has been basic enough: rely on a strong defense and a good kicking game, and do enough on offense to be relevant.

So as the Huskies wrap up October, how’s that working out?

“We’re 4-2,” said Matawan coach John Kaye after his team’s 10-7 Class B North victory over Red Bank last night. “We’re still here.”

Indeed they are. The Matawan defense followed the script Friday night by limiting Red Bank (1-5, 1-3) to 19 rushing yards — 114 yards in all — and by forcing two turnovers.

As for the kicking game, Mike Creamer’s 23-yard field goal in the third quarter provided the margin of victory for the Huskies (4-2, 3-2).

And offensively, Devon Spann rushed for 112 yards — including 85 in the first half — and a touchdown on 23 carries.

Spann’s 7-yard run with 5:55 left in the first half gave Matawan a 7-0 edge at the break. The run finished a seven-play, 74-yard drive that featured Spann exclusively.

“We were able to run off tackle on that drive,” Kaye said. “The line did a good job running power.”

The drive took on added importance since Matawan was playing without starting center Chris Veary and starting guard Brandon Murphy, both of whom missed the game with injuries.

“We had to rearrange things on our line as a result,” Kaye said. “But the guys up front did enough, (especially) Nick Tomkins and Jake Weber.”

Matawan’s 7-0 lead held until Creamer’s field goal made it 10-0 with 3:54 left in the third quarter. The kick was set up by a bad snap by the Bucs in punt formation, which allowed the Huskies to take over on the Red Bank 12.

The Huskies caught Red Bank by surprise with an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, and recovered on the Red Bank 35. On the next play, quarterback James Pierce found Justin Ferrara for a 32-yard gain to the Bucs 3-yard line, but the ball was knocked loose and was ruled a fumble. The ball rolled into the end zone, where Red Bank’s Mario Williams scooped it up and returned it 53 yards to midfield.

“Had we got it to 17-0 there,” Kaye said, “that would have probably ended it.”

Instead, Matawan had to sweat out the last two-plus minutes of the game that saw Red Bank close to within 10-7 with 2:20 to play on a 29-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Joe Persico to Jimmy Ferrogine.

The Huskies recovered the ensuing Red Bank onside kick, but failed to record a first down and punted the ball back to the Bucs with 1:24 remaining.

A last-gasp Red Bank rally stalled at the Matawan 43 as time expired.

“We made a lot of mistakes, and we’re a young team, but we keep finding a way to win,” Kaye said. “It’s exciting to be where we are. Now we have to keep it going. We have Long Branch next week and that’s always a war.”

Red Bank, which beat Neptune last week for its first win this season, will host Freehold next Friday.

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