The rainy and windy weather played a large part in helping Ocean coach Don Klein decide on what his message would be to his team prior to kickoff. Klein made sure he let his team know that turnovers and field position would be huge due to the conditions.
“We stressed that the team that forced turnovers and won the battle for field position tonight would come out on top,” said Klein. “And I was pleased with our team rising to the challenge and not letting the weather conditions affect them.”
The Spartans heeded their coach’s words and remained undefeated with a 33-6 Class B North victory over Red Bank. Ocean took advantage of a couple early turnovers and its defense and special teams provided it with great field position throughout the game.
The Bucs actually forced the first turnover of the game on Ocean’s first possession. The Spartans fumbled deep in Red Bank territory and the Bucs recovered at their own 23. On the next play, Ocean got the ball back when Cole Mehr recovered a fumble at the Red Bank 21.
Three consecutive runs by Ocean running back Tyler Thompson got the ball to the Red Bank 2. Quarterback Royal Moore handed to Thompson again and he plowed his way into the end zone for a 6-0 lead.
“Our offensive line really did a tremendous job tonight,” said Klein. “Red Bank has some really tough kids up front on their defense and our line came through with a strong performance.”
The Bucs put the ball on the ground again on their next possession and Ocean’s Mike Halawani recovered at the Red Bank 32. Five plays later, Thompson scored again on a 2-yard run for a 12-0 first-quarter lead.
The Spartans defense continued to stifle the Red Bank offense and forced a punt by the Bucs. Ocean took over at its own 31 and proceeded to put together its longest drive of the night. Seven straight runs advanced the ball to the Red Bank 11. From there, Moore ran up the middle for the touchdown to make it 19-0.
Later in the half, Ocean’s special teams provided the offense with great field position when they tackled Red Bank’s punter at the Bucs 3. Three plays later Moore snuck in for a 1-yard score and a 26-0 halftime lead.
“We work on trying to get to the punter every week and it paid off tonight,” said Klein. “It helped us a few times in this game.”
Ocean added another score in the third quarter on a 10 yard run around right end by Mehr. Red Bank scored late in the fourth quarter when quarterback Joe Persico connected on a 42-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Cook.