By Jim Hintelmann
EWING – Although the season came to a disappointing end, Shore Regional High School football coach Mark Costantino still had much to appreciate in an otherwise fine season for the Blue Devils (10-2).
“It was a great year,” said Costantino, following the 12-7 loss to Point Pleasant Beach High School in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I finals Saturday, Dec. 7. “We had graduated 18 seniors and I didn’t think that we would be this good, but everyone did as well as they could.”
The setback came as a surprise since Shore had routed the Garnet Gulls, 31-0 over the Thanksgiving weekend to win the Shore Conference B Division Central championship.
Point Beach (10-2), which won its first sectional championship since 1982, was a different team Saturday with its defense holding Shore’s usual potent ground game to just 46 yards rushing while allowing only 79 yards passing. Shore quarterback Matt Muh managed only five completions in 16 attempts.
“They didn’t change their defense that much,” Costantino said. “It wasn’t anything that we haven’t seen before, but we missed on a couple of plays that might have made a difference in the game.”
Point Beach, which rolled up 252 yards rushing, was led by fullback Joe Wegryziak, who gained 139 yards on the ground in 24 attempts.
Point Beach, which never trailed in the game, took a 6-0 lead during the first quarter on a 6-yard run by Michael Frauenheim, set up by his 42-yard run.
The Gulls kept control of ball for most of the game, particularly during the final 4:41 of the contest. Point Beach got off 59 plays to just 41 by Shore.
Point Beach made it 12-0 in the third quarter when Jake Fioretti scored what proved to be the winning touchdown on a 4-yard run to cap a 62-yard drive. Wegryzniak ‘s 42-yard run was the big play of the drive.
Shore’s lone touchdown came on its next possession when Muh threw a 39-yard scoring pass to Mike Moore. Jake Monteiro converted to cut the lead to 12-7.
Shore, however, managed only two more series as Point Beach controlled the ball the rest of the way.
In fact, the game ended with the ball on the Shore 5.
Shore still had a fine season, though. It dropped its opener to Central Jersey Group II champion Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, 13-6, but then ran off a 10-game win streak.
The outlook looks promising for next year.
“We should be okay,” said Costantino. “We lose some key players, but some of our younger players did well this season.”
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