WEST LONG BRANCH
What’s the difference between a 4-1 football team and a 1-4 football team?
The opening drives of the two halves of Friday night’s Holmdel at Shore game illustrate that difference.
Holmdel received the opening kickoff and methodically marched down field. The Hornets sustained a 13-play drive which reached the Shore 12-yard line and took 8:24 off the clock.
Yet Holmdel (1-4) did not score. Two penalties led to a fourth down on which the ball was snapped over quarterback Eric Alvino’s head.
In contrast, Shore (4-1) opened the second half with a 13-play drive. The Blue Devils ate 6:30 off the third-quarter clock.
On play 13, senior quarterback Matt Muh, who had a mistake-ree game, (3-for-4, 35 yards) threw a 14-yard, six-point strike to Cole Barrale.
Shore sharpened up for its upcoming run at the Class B Central crown with a convincing 35-0 victory.
After fumbling on their first possession, the Blue Devils put together five consecutive touchdown drives.
“Give Holmdel credit, they came out with something new, something different to open the game,” acknowledged Shore coach Mark Costantino. “But we stiffened up in the red zone.
“After our bye week we have three consecutive divisional games and we hope to make a push for the playoffs.”
Brian Miller (18 carries, 171 rushing yards) and James Murphy (five carries, 69 yards) ran for two touchdowns each.
Shore rushed for 298 yards, with senior offensive lineman Chris Okupski leading a solid blocking group. Okupski has made an oral committment to play at Division I Albany next year.
“We had a real good second quarter,” Costantino said. “We move Okupski around all over the line, we try to hide him, slide him so the defense can’t find him easily.”
Shore scored three second-quarter touchdowns. The first two were Miller’s. On a third down and four, Miller broke free from a crowd of Hornets and sprinted 37 yards down the left sideline with 7:45 remaining. After James Bedell intercepted a Holmdel pass, Miller ran in over a big hole at right tackle.
Murphy closed out an 85-yard drive, again rushing around the right side, scoring from 14 yards with 55 seconds left before the half.
After Mark MacStudy recovered a a Holmdel fumble, Murphy closed out the scoring on a six-yard dash with 2:31 left in the third quarter.
Holmdel drove from its own 20 to the Blue Devil 12-yard line on that opening drive, but finished with 74 total yards.