10 games which ignited and sustained the Bulldogs’ success
Entering the 2013 season, Jersey Shore had won three games in four years and had not recorded a winning season since 1997.
Tonight at Lampeter-Strasburg, Jersey Shore will play in the Class AAAA state semifinals for a second straight year. Since 2013 the Bulldogs have won five district championships, four league titles and made seven district final appearances while going 69-29. It has been one of the most stunning turnarounds in area history and the following is a look at 10 key games which ignited and sustained this run.
No. 10 Jersey Shore 42, Milton 39
(Week 9, 2013)
This is the one that started it all. Jersey Shore had lost four straight and Milton won four straight. In a game filled with six lead changes, the Bulldogs mounted a last-minute, program-changing 14-play scoring drive which Logan English capped by hitting Brody Smith for a 9-yard touchdown with 39 seconds remaining. The dramatic road win against a team that had played in two consecutive district finals was the first brick laid in this championship foundation.
No. 9 Jersey Shore 20, Selinsgrove 16
(Week 12, 2013)
Three weeks later what started at Milton produced a champion at Selinsgrove. Troy Rowan caught English’s late touchdown pass and the defense wreaked havoc as for the third time in four weeks, Jersey Shore erased a second-half road deficit. A team which went winless a year prior was a champion and the seeds for a dynasty had been planted.
No. 8 Jersey Shore 27, Montoursville 21, OT
(Week 4, 2014)
Montoursville had won 28 straight in this series and was a play from making it 29. But Jersey Shore reminded everyone that a new era had started, doing so in amazing fashion. Smith first caught English’s Hail Mary as time expired in regulation and forced overtime. In the extra period, Smith intercepted a pass in the end zone and returned it for the game-winning score which set off a frenzy.
No. 7 Jersey Shore 16, Selinsgrove 10
(Week 8, 2014)
Anyone who doubted Jersey Shore’s credentials was silenced as the Bulldogs won this heavyweight battle and slowed a powerful offense. Levi Lorson ran for 113 yards, Boone Costa made a crucial interception and Jersey Shore captured the HAC-I championship during a season which featured an 11-0 start.
No. 6 Jersey Shore 19, Shikellamy 13
(Week 7, 2016)
Jersey Shore had lost two straight games, was 3-3 and was down 13-0 at halftime on the road. Maybe the run was losing steam. Nope, this win showed it was just gaining more. Dominic Williams’ Pick 6 ignited a 19-point second-half flurry as the Bulldogs took over and changed their season’s trajectory. They would not lose again until the state tournament.
No. 5 Jersey Shore 31, Selinsgrove 15
(Week 12, 2016)
Selinsgrove had won four straight in this series, beating Jersey Shore in the past two district finals. Jersey Shore ended those streaks in emphatic fashion and won its second district championship in four years, building a 24-point second-half lead. Williams clinched the victory with another Pick 6 as Jersey Shore avenged a 20-point Week 6 loss and showed again that it often plays its best football when it matters most.
No. 4 Jersey Shore 20, Selinsgrove 17, OT
(Week 12, 2018)
Selinsgrove is on here a lot. That is what happens when two teams meet in six district finals over a seven-year span. Jersey Shore again avenged a regular-season loss after Selinsgrove took the first contest, 31-10. A team which had overcome so much adversity brought another championship home for injured Caleb Leone, doing so in dramatic fashion. Jersey Shore erased a 14-point halftime deficit and Cameron Griffin’s 20-yard overtime field goal gave the Bulldogs the first of what has become three straight championships.
No. 3 Pottsgrove 14, Jersey Shore 10
(Week 13, 2018)
The only loss on the list, this game’s magnitude has been felt over the last two seasons. Pottsgrove had run roughshod over its opponents and was an overwhelming favorite in this state tournament opener, but Jersey Shore held a fourth-quarter lead, slowed a potent offense and instilled a powerful belief. The Bulldogs no longer thought they could just compete with the state’s best teams, they now believed they could beat them.
No. 2 Jersey Shore 42, Pottsville 35, 3 OT
(Week 14, 2019)
The most thrilling win in program history sent Jersey Shore to the state semifinals for the first time. It was classic Jersey Shore, too, with the Bulldogs showing in one game everything that has built this championship tradition. Jersey Shore rallied from a 21-point second-quarter deficit, forced overtime with a last-minute Tanner Lorson to Stanton Westlin touchdown and kept delivering throughout three heart-pounding overtimes. Cayden Hess caught two overtime touchdowns and Brett Guthrie’s fourth-down touchdown put Jersey Shore ahead, 42-35. Guthrie clinched the win with an end-zone interception three plays later and Jersey Shore was off to the Final Four.
No. 1 Jersey Shore 26, Crestwood 14
(Week 10, 2020)
In a showdown of unbeatens, Jersey Shore went to the Comets’ home field and made three stops inside the 10-yard line to earn another shot at the Final Four. The Bulldogs erased a second-quarter deficit and played well in all three areas, answering the bell every time it looked like Crestwood was poised to gain momentum or the lead. Jersey Shore has coveted the opportunity to get back to the semifinals and have another shot at playing in the state final. Because of this determined performance it gets that opportunity tonight.