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Jersey Shore captures third straight district championship

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette ... Jersey Shore's Ben Webb (left) assists in a tackle after losing his helmet in the second quarter against Shamokin in the District 4 Class AAAA championship game.

JERSEY SHORE-Technology kept them together, but Jersey Shore players practiced on their own last spring when COVID-19 had them quarantined. Individually, they grew stronger.

Together again since last summer, they again became champions.

Jersey Shore dominated all facets Friday night at Thompson Street Stadium, leaving no doubt that it again is District 4’s best Class AAAA team. Through all the adversity, Jersey Shore remains perched upon its throne. Owen Anderson scored four touchdowns, Cam Allison ran for 146 yards and a menacing defense forced six turnovers as Jersey Shore overwhelmed Shamokin, 54-0 and captured its third straight district championship.

The Bulldogs (8-0) built a 47-0 halftime lead, shined in all three facets and joined Muncy as the only area teams to ever win three straight district titles. Jersey Shore also earned a spot against District 2 champion Crestwood, a 34-14 winner against Dallas, in next weekend’s state quarterfinals at a District 2 site. The Bulldogs have captured four district championships in five years and five in the last eight, rising from the ashes and becoming a program well known throughout the state.

“We’ve been doing Zoom meetings since we were shut down last (March) and weren’t able to work together or lift together. It basically is all paying off right now with a moment like this,” Anderson said. “We just kept doing our own thing and kept working when everybody else wasn’t and it led to this.”

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette ... Jersey Shore's Cayden Hess tries to catch a pass as Shamokin's Blake Hockenbrock defends during Friday's District 4 Class AAAA championship in Jersey Shore.

“You knew this was the night you wanted to be here but you had to have the most concentrated tunnel vision because you didn’t even know if there would be a season,” Jersey coach Tom Gravish said. “You didn’t know if there would be a first game, we didn’t know if there would be two games, so to finally get here it’s really hard to believe and I’m really proud of the kids and all our coaches.”

Anderson was an all-around force, totaling 138 yards, scoring four times, intercepting a pass, forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble. But again, Jersey Shore’s power was in its collective effort. Every Bulldog did his job and mastered his role with the offense scoring on seven of eight first-half possessions and the defense stifling a high-powered Shamokin arsenal.

There was no one standout player. All the Bulldogs stood out and Jersey Shore put together its most dominant district final performance ever.“We just had a great week of practice and the coaches really had us prepared. I just felt like we were really ready to go and everyone was excited,” Allison said after scoring twice and setting the game’s tone with a 49-yard opening kickoff return. “Especially because I’m a senior, it just feels so good to get a three-peat. I’m just glad we have won games like we know we can.”

“I feel like our line was clicking and (quarterback) Brandon (Wheary) was clicking and Cam was clicking and our defense was clicking,” offensive lineman Joe Lorson said. “Everyone was doing what they’re supposed to do.”

Allison’s return and a horse collar penalty set up Jersey Shore at Shamokin’s 25-yard line, but a holding penalty quickly had it staring at a third-and-32 from the Indians 47-yard line. Unfazed, the line gave Wheary a clean pocket and the senior threw a beauty of a deep ball down the left sideline toward Anderson. The throw split two defenders, Anderson caught it in stride and Jersey Shore took a 7-0 lead.

MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette .Jersey Shore's Cayden Hess catches a pass as Shamokin tries to defend during Friday's District 4 Class AAAA championship game in Jersey Shore. MARK NANCE/Sun-Gazette

Once Anderson crossed the goal line, the snow ball started rolling and soon became an avalanche that quickly buried Shamokin (5-4). Anderson forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, then scored on a five-yard fourth-down run. Shamokin put together its best drive on its second series, but it ended when Dalton Dugan hit Brett Nye as he threw and Cayden Hess intercepted the pass inside the 5-yard line.

Wheary dropped another dime four plays later, finding Dugan for a 50-yard completion and Hayden Packerás 1-yard touchdown made it, 20-0. Allison opened the next series with a dazzling 42-yard run and Anderson scored a play later on a 7-yard touchdown. Less than 11 minutes into the game, Jersey Shore already led, 26-0. And it was just getting warmed up.

“We just weren’t taking it,” Anderson said. “We came out with a vengeance.”

“Everything clicked,” Allison said. “It was just very satisfying tonight. I couldn’t ask for a better game.”

Lorson and his fellow linemen Ben Webb, Lee Springman, Eddie Woodring, Cadan Smith and Tyler Walker imposed their will up front and Jersey Shore kept its foot on the accelerator in the second quarter. The Bulldogs scored 21 more points and built a 47-0 halftime lead against a team coming off a stifling defensive performance in a 15-0 semifinal win over Selinsgrove.

Both the offense and defense fed off each other with the Bulldogs forcing five first-half turnovers. Anderson intercepted a pass in the second quarter and the Bulldogs forced two more fumbles. Jersey Shore scored touchdowns following four of those turnovers and Anderson continued his memorable night when he broke containment to the outside and ran 48 yards untouched for a second-quarter touchdown that made it, 33-0. Allison went over 100 yards by halftime and followed that score up with a 15-yard touchdown.

Brady Jordan ended the first half-barrage with a highlight-reel 1-yard touchdown. The sophomore was hit behind the line of scrimmage, bounced to his left, reversed field and sprinted toward the right pylon, scoring his fifth touchdown in two weeks. Even when things went wrong last night, Jersey Shore made sure they turned out right. The Bulldogs gained 359 first-half yards and averaged 10.6 yards per play.

“I feel like we can do better than what we did, but overall throughout the night we played really well,” Lorson said. “We have to build on this and take it into practice this week and just keep trying to get better every day.”

That mentality had Jersey Shore still thriving throughout the second half. Allison’s 17-yard third-quarter touchdown capped the scoring and, following Hess’s first-quarter interception, the defense never let Shamokin move closer than its 48-yard line. Lee Springman was part of a stellar defensive line which clogged running lanes all night and his fumble recovery helped set up the final touchdown.

Packer was all over the field, intercepting a pass, batting down another and making eight tackles. Webb, Quincey Myers and Zach Rooney all had sacks, Jersey Shore was in quarterback Brett Nye’s face all night and the secondary blanketed an explosive set of receivers. It was all those meetings, all the work and all the preparation coming together and creating another lasting championship memory.

“We want to play complimentary football. Tonight the special teams came out with a good kick return and that led to a touchdown and then we got another great special teams play where they forced a fumble and that went to offense and it just steamrolled from offense to defense, from defense to offense,” Gravish said. “They just work so darn hard and I’m really happy for them.”

Jersey Shore 54, Shamokin 0

Shamokin 0 0 0 0ä0

Jersey Shore 26 21 7 0ä54

First Quarter

JäOwen Anderson 47 pass from Brandon Wheary (Cam Allison kick), 11:08

JäAnderson 5 run (kick blocked), 9:56

JäHayden Packer 1 run (run failed), 3:57

JäAnderson 7 run (Allison kick), 1:17

Second Quarter

JäAnderson 48 run (Allison kick), 9:15

JäAllison 15 run (Allison kick), 3:19

JäBrady Jordan 1 run (Allison kick), :31.6

Third Quarter

JäAllison 17 run (Allison kick), 2:58

TEAM STATISTICS

S J

First Downs 10 17

Rushes-yards 39-103 44-312

Passing yards 61 135

Total yards 164 447

Comp-Att-Int 3-15-3 3-11-0

Fumbles-lost 3-3 1-1

Penalties-yards 5-45 6-53

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Shamokin, Max Madden 16-59; Ian Paul 6-40; Aaron Frasch 7-21; Wade Alleman 1-2; Corey Adams 2-0; Knowledge Artis-Jones 1-0; Billy Delbaugh 1-(-4); Brett Nye 5-(-13). Jersey Shore, Cam Allison 18-146, 2 TDs; Owen Anderson 8-91, 3 TDs; Gabe Andrus 6-39; Brady Jordan 3-21, TD; Connor Griffin 1-9; Branden Wheary 1-8; Kooper Peacock 2-8; Hayden Packer 1-1, TD; Nick Williams 4-(-11).

PASSING: Shamokin, Nye 3-14-2, 61 yards; Delbaugh 0-1-1. Jersey Shore, Wheary 3-11-0, 135 yards, TD.

RECEIVING: Shamokin, Paul 1-53; Ryder Zulkowski 1-14; Madden 1-(-6). Jersey Shore, Anderson 1-47, TD; Dalton Dugan 1-50; Cayden Hess 1-38.

INTERCEPTIONS: Jersey Shore, Hess, Anderson, Packer.

SACKS: Jersey Shore, Quincey Myers, Ben Webb, Zach Rooney.

RECORDS: Jersey Shore 8-0. Shamokin 5-4.

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