Jersey Shore beats Selinsgrove for repeat District 4 title

DAVE KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette Correspondent Jersey Shore’s Tanner Lorson runs for a touchdown in the first quarter against Selinsgrove on Friday to win the District 4 Class AAAA title.

JERSEY SHORE –For the second time in two seasons, Jersey Shore sits atop the district as District 4 AAAA champions after a 33-14 win over Selinsgrove on Friday at Thompson Street Stadium.

The Bulldogs (9-3) silenced all of its preseason doubters in the win and advance to the state tournament against District 1 champion, Bishop Shanahan next.

“It was a goal for us. A lot of people doubted us because we lost a lot of guys from last season. They said it would be tough to go .500, it was the toughest schedule of the history of the program and the guys stepped up and answered the bell for us,” Jersey Shore coach Tom Gravish said after capturing the fourth district title since taking over the program in 2012.

Jersey Shore and Selinsgrove has met in the district final in five of the last six years and had a semifinal showdown in 2017. The rivalry has taken a new turn as both sides know the offensive attacks. It is up to the defenses and special teams to make a difference in the game. Shore was able to take advantage of the special teams game with an Owen Anderson 32-yard interception return touchdown to close the door on a Seals comeback in the win with just under ten minutes left in the game.

“We have never won two conference championships back-to-back and we never won two district titles in school history back-to-back until tonight. Hats off to the guys answering the bell and accomplishing that.” Gravish said.

Shore burst out to a 7-0 lead in its first drive as Tanner Lorson ran in a two yard touchdown run on the first Shore drive of the game. Lorson added a four yard run to close the quarter and give the Bulldogs a 14-7 lead that extended to halftime.

“(Jersey Shore’s) offense is a one-man show. If you take (Lorson) off the field, then they are easier to defend,” Selinsgrove coach Derek Hicks said after the medal ceremony. “He had to be all of their offense tonight. The defense let him break the contain tonight and we couldn’t make the play when we needed to to get off the field defensively.”

When Lorson wasn’t making the plays with his running ability, it was the balanced effort of running back Josh Malicky and the down field threat of Stanton Westlin that caused Selinsgrove to cover all facets of the Jersey Shore offense.

“It just comes down to responsibility football, unfortunately we had a couple of breakdowns that allowed them to get some big plays.” Hicks said.

Lorson accounted for 410 of the Bulldogs’ 434 total yards and two touchdowns knowing Shore would limit Malicky (12 for 21) as the feature back. Malicky did enough to keep the defense eyes off Lorson and the run-pass-option added an element of surprise for Westlin (7 for 163, touchdown) downfield.

“We’ve been looking forward to this game all year and working up for it. We’ve never beaten Selinsgrove two times in a row in back-to-back years. That’s a huge step for us in continuing the program. Lorson said after getting pictures and talking with family.

Looking ahead to the first round of the state tournament, Gravish and Shore have a bigger task at hand–winning the first state game in program history.

“Our last few games we have been hitting on all cylinders and this game gives us a lot of confidence going into the state tournament and look to get the first state win.” Lorson said.