JERSEY SHORE – In a scuffle between defending District 4 champions Danville (class AAA) and Jersey Shore (class AAAA), the two’s first meeting since 2013 on Friday night had a bit of everything.
Four leader changes, back-to-back breakaways, back-to-back interceptions, different quarterbacks going into the mix and no shortage of momentum, Thompson Street Stadium was booming.
Although the Ironmen brought the Bulldogs back to Earth for much of the game, Jersey Shore did it again. The undefeated Bulldogs escaped in the second period, 42-21.
“There was a lot of motivation for this game knowing they won the district championship last year,” said junior running back Haydn Packer. “We knew it was going to be a big game, and I think we took the opportunity.”
Packer scored three touchdowns to go the distance for Jersey Shore (8-0). After initially equaling the game with a one-yard score with 7:05 left before half-time, Packer again found himself with a transfer to first and on goal with the game tied at 21 five and a half minutes. later.
In a mirror effort, the Bulldogs performed the same play and Packer gave Jersey Shore a permanent lead just before the break. Packer ran in his first touchdown during the opening six-yard practice.
The Bulldogs had to fight for it, however. Danville (5-3) controlled the pace of play for much of the first half, not allowing Jersey Shore to enter their signature huddle-less attack as quickly as they usually do.
âThey took a long time. They were getting a lot of first tries, tons of first tries on the 3rd and along â, Bulldogs coach Tom Gravish said. “… Hats off to their quarterback and their wide receivers for making the plays they made.”
Gravish told his team last week before Milton’s game that every game from there had a playoff feel, and against a relentless Ironmen team he was on the money.
âIf we don’t play good football, this team could kick us out of our own stadium. said Gravish. ââ¦ This is a national-caliber football team. “
First-year quarterback Madden Patrick threw a dime at Carson Persing for a 58-yard run home on Danville’s fourth possession, which lasted just two games.
Junior running back Ty Stauffer – on the first play of another second quarter practice – made an 84-yard swing pass to the playing dirt in immediate response to a 26-yard Jordan goaltender for a touchdown.
It was, in every definition of the word, a shootout. But Jordan was not done making big runs. The senior broke on a 70-yard dash and was stopped at Danville’s 1-yard line, preparing for Packer’s next touchdown. Jordan ran 16 times for 206 yards.
“There were very big holes on these tracks”, Jordan said. “(The offensive line) did a great job all night, love having them up there.”
Jordan completed seven of his 17 passes for 137 yards in the air.
After Dathon Tyson and Cameron Kiersch traded picks, Jordan recovered a fumble to stop the Ironmen at the Jersey Shore 1-yard line. Persing got rocked on the game and walked out of the game for a while. Injury timeouts continue to pile up on both sides, but losing Persing is a big blow for Danville.
A human Swiss Army knife, Persing received eight receptions for 133 yards and replaced the quarterback for a few heats when Patrick got screwed.
“He is as good a receiver as we have seen him for a long time”, Gravish said on Persing. “We’re up against some good ones next week at Bald Eagle Area, but this Persing is a fabulous wideout.”
Perser Persing for a few trips was not the only problem for Danville.
âWe saw that they were tired. We are conditioned to play all four quarters of football and we used it to our advantage when they were out of breath â, Jordan said.
The Bulldogs quickly used their no-huddle offense late in the third quarter. Like being strapped into a Formula 1 race car, Jersey Shore flew the field making big plays, small wins, whatever they wanted.
After a five-game opener that ended in a 9-yard run to the end zone for Jordan via a fake transfer to Packer, the Bulldogs wrenched the pace of play at the hands of the Ironmen, heading for down the field on a 12-play, 97-yard walk that ended with a 9-yard dart from Jordan to Cayden Hess in the right corner of the end zone.
âIn the second half, we knew it was time to shine. Packer said. âOur attack without a caucus is so difficult. We knew they were tired. We knew that with our offensive line, how we had conditioned ourselves all week, the games were just going to start to click. Everyone was working in unison and it’s great to see.