Mired in years of tough seasons, the Bucs took a big step forward, moving to 3-0 for the first time in at least a decade according to Asbury Park Press records thanks to a 16-6 victory at Ocean in a key early-season Shore Conference Class B North matchup.
Outerbridge’s 28-yard fumble return for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter highlighted a third straight excellent defensive performance by the Bucs. Palmer, who has offered a non-binding verbal commitment to Syracuse, finished with five catches for 85 yards in what was the biggest win of his career to this point.
“We respect Ocean so much and to come into a situation where we’re 2-0, we need to feel where we’re at in our division and this was the game,” Giglio said. “Just to come in and compete with them was our goal and at the same time, this group is very confident. They practice confident and they play confident.”
A defensive battle ensued for three quarters before the last play of the third gave Red Bank (3-0, 3-0) some separation. On second-and-7 from his own 12, senior quarterback Jake Navistsky threw to the left sideline looking for Matt Reardon. The senior wide receiver made the catch, got his defender turned around in the process and sprinted 88 yards for the game’s first touchdown. The extra point was blocked as the Bucs took a 9-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
“I just came in, it dropped and I picked it up,” Outerbridge said. “I didn’t think I was gonna score, I just knew we needed it, so I went all out.”
“We knew what we were gonna come out here and do tonight because we’ve been working for it,” said Palmer, whose team has given up a total of 13 points through three games, including a 30-0 shutout of Colts Neck in Week 2. “We want it more than anybody.”
Red Bank managed to hold Ocean star running back Tyler Thompson to just 64 yards on 17 carries and three catches for 46 yards. In Ocean’s first two games, Thompson had 402 rushing yards, seven touchdowns and was averaging 10.7 yards per carry in wins over Neptune and Wall. The Spartans (2-1, 2-1) scored a total of 82 points in those two wins.
“Tyler is a special player and we just knew we had to tackle,” Giglio said. “We had to tackle and we had to do it on every down against Tyler. He makes you do it and I’m very proud of that. That fundamental alone, tackling, helped us tonight.”
KEY PLAY: The touchdown pass from Navitsky to Reardon on the final play of the third quarter broke open a game that had been a defensive struggle. Before that, Jack O’Connor’s 32-yard field goal in the first quarter was the only scoring.
OFFENSIVE GAME BALL: Navitsky finished 7-for-9 for 188 yards, with six of those completions and 85 of those yards going to Palmer, who did all of his damage in the first half.
DEFENSIVE GAME BALL: Chris Outterbridge’s 28-yard scoop-and-score early in the fourth quarter all but closed the door on Ocean. That made the score, 16-0.
UP NEXT: Red Bank will host Neptune on Friday evening. The Bucs have won two of the last three meetings against the Scarlet Fliers, including a 36-35 double overtime win at Neptune on Oct. 19, 2013. Ocean hosts Manasquan on Friday night for its Homecoming game.
Staff writer Josh Newman: firstname.lastname@example.org
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