TOMS RIVER – The Toms River North football team has one of the most electrifying offenses in the Shore Conference because of the guys up front.
That was the sentiment that Mariners coach Dave Oizerowitz relayed when discussing the team’s success this season.
“The guys up front have been our rock this season, and offensive line coach Bill Dowd does a great job with the kids,” Oizerowtiz said. “Tim Petersen (tackle), Luke Butera (guard), Will Sagarese (center), Dan Benishti (guard) and Matthew Melamed (tackle) and also Esiah Santamaria (guard) have all contributed to our success. They are a blue-collar group, they are physical, they pass-block, they run-block, and if we win on Saturday it will be because of them.”
On Saturday, the Mariners (10-1) will face Williamstown (9-2) in the NJSIAA South Group V championship game at 6 p.m. at Rowan University. The Mariners are seeking their first title since 2007 and the school’s fifth overall.
While the Mariners’ success starts up front, the operation is directed by junior quarterback Mike Husni and his ability to move the offense up and down the field.
“Midway through his freshman year, he took over at quarterback, and we’ve built the offense around him and what he can do running and throwing the football,” said Oizerowitz of Husni.
And this year, Husni has thrown for 1,334 yards and rushed for 1,147 yards. But the offense doesn’t stop with Husni. The Mariners also have senior running back Asante Moorer, who has rushed for 1,447 yards. Husni and Moorer are arguably the best 1-2 combination on offense in the Shore Conference.
“We also have the offensive pieces and the offensive line supporting Husni,” Oizerowitz said. “He’s still our leader out there, and we are tough on him, and he’s the most competitive person that I’ve coached.”
Those offensive pieces include senior wide receiver Darrion Carrington (660 yards), junior wide receiver Bryce Watts (285 yards) and junior wide receiver Kenney Cook (125 yards).
Defensively, the Mariners are led by senior defensive lineman Dashon Copes, who has 97 total tackles, 12 sacks and two fumble recoveries; senior defensive back Matt Tomascheck, who has 73 total tackles and one fumble recovery; junior linebacker Pete Laquaglia, who has 92 total tackles; and senior linebacker Anthony Storino, who had 45 total tackles, five sacks and four fumble recoveries.
Oizerowitz called Williamstown “an outstanding football team with a big and very athletic line,” and he expects the Braves to be a huge challenge on Dec. 5. So that’s why he’s taken the time this week in practice to chat with every player who will probably step on the football field for the Mariners.
“In a championship game like this, you honestly don’t know which player or players might step up in a big moment,” Oizerowitz said. “ We believe in every kid that we put on the football field each week, and we believe those kids are capable of making big plays for us at any moment.”
Sherlon Christie: email@example.com
SOUTH GROUP V CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
TOMS RIVER NORTH (10-1) VS. WILLIAMSTOWN (9-2 )
When: Saturday, 6 p.m.
Where: Rowan University, Glassboro
Directions to the game: Garden State Parkway South to Exit 38A and the Atlantic City Expressway West. Take the Atlantic City Expressway West to Exit 38 (Williamstown). Turn left after exiting and follow Route 322 West (eight miles) to the campus.
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