UNION – You can never underestimate the value of senior leadership at the high school level, but what running backs Doug Goldsmith and Jack Britton accomplished on Saturday evening at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium was priceless.
Playing in their final football game at Shore Regional, they combined for 478 yards rushing as the Blue Devils pounded the ball all game long to win their second consecutive NJSIAA Central Group I title, 56-28, over high-powered Palmyra.
In doing so, the pair might have been a part of the best team in Shore’s storied history. A history that includes seven sectional titles, including back-to-back titles in 1981-82.
“I saw this coming on Aug. 10,” Shore head coach Mark Costantino said to his team during the celebration after the game. “First 12-0 team in Shore history!”
The 2015 squad is the first in Blue Devils history to finish 12-0. Shore’s other unbeaten team, the 1981 squad, was 11-0. Saturday’s win was the Blue Devils’ 20th straight overall.
“My dad’s (Shore) team went undefeated in 1981 and he said we were better than them,” Britton said.
“My dad still hears about how good his (1981 Shore) team is.”
Britton’s dad is a part of the past success at Shore, but he and Goldsmith are a big part of the recent success.
It’s hard to imagine any duo playing much better than Britton and Goldsmith did on Saturday evening.
“At halftime I challenged the seniors,” Costantino said. “I said it’s your year and you have to make a play.’’
And make plays they did.
Goldsmith, who earned the Asbury Park Press Game Ball last week for his efforts on defense on Thanksgiving, showed just how good an offensive player he is on Saturday
He punished the Palmyra defense all day long, finishing with 260 yards and five touchdowns.
Britton, who rushed for 218 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown, gashed Palmyra’s defense on counters.
“I’m a little bruised up right now,’’ said Goldsmith, who had 37 carries, “but I didn’t take too many hard hits because our line was just blowing those guys off the line.”
Whenever Palmyra would close the gap on Shore, the Blue Devils would answer right back behind their dynamic duo.
“When they made it 28-14 at halftime, we knew we had to put the pedal on the gas and fire right out (in the second half),” Goldsmith said.
Goldsmith ran for three scores (1, 2 and 15 yards) in the second half as the Blue Devils pulled away. He also had touchdown runs of 19 yards and four yards in the first half.
Best Shore Regional team ever?
That’s up for debate, but the 2015 team definitely cemented their place in Blue Devils history.