2012-12-06 / Sports

Blue Devils advance to CJ I football championship game

Shore will play Florence in final
BY WARREN RAPPLEYEA Correspondent

The Shore Regional High School football team continued its march to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group I finals, but Red Bank Catholic High School’s quest for an unbeaten campaign came to an end in the semifinals of the Non-Public Group III playoffs.

Top-seeded Shore (9-2) will seek its second sectional title in three years when it meets Florence (10-1) on Dec. 8 at The College of New Jersey. The Blue Devils had been hoping for a rematch with Point Pleasant Beach High School, which downed Shore 19-7 on Thanksgiving Day to win the Shore Conference’s Class B Central division title. Florence Township Memorial High School, the third seed, scotched that scenario with a 17-14 victory over the Garnet Gulls on Nov. 30.

A dominant display by the Blue Devils’ defense and a four-touchdown day by running back Mark Costantino paced Shore to a 31-7 semifinal triumph against Asbury Park High School (6-4-1). Costantino, who now has 17 touchdowns on the season, put his team up early in the first quarter with a 59-yard scoring run.

After Jake Monteiro booted a 26-yard field goal, the visiting Blue Bishops cut Shore’s lead to 10-7. Costantino scored again, this time on a 4-yard run, to restore his team’s 10-point lead prior to intermission. On Shore’s first possession of the third quarter, the senior crossed the goal for a third time, on a 25-yard run. He added another on a 3-yard run in the fourth period and ended the day with 123 yards to his credit.

On the other side of the ball, the Blue Devils thwarted the visitors for most of the game, holding Asbury Park to 130 yards. The bulk of that yardage came when the Blue Bishops put up their lone score on a 15-play, 80-yard second-quarter drive.

The victory set up the meeting with Florence, winners of the West Jersey Football League’s Freedom Division. The only common opponent for the two teams was Keyport High School, which Florence downed 40-29. Shore defeated the Raiders 49-14. In its last trip to the Central Jersey Group I championship game, Shore defeated Dunellen High School, 30-6.

Florence’s lone loss was a 7-0 decision against Delran High School early in the season. Shore’s losses came against Point Pleasant Beach and Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School, the latter a 13-10 overtime loss on opening night.

Meanwhile, in Montvale, fourth-seeded Red Bank Catholic’s undefeated season came to an end against top-seeded St. Joseph Regional High School, 42-7. The visitors jumped out to a 7-0 lead as Red Bank Catholic’s Larry Redaelli’s scored on an 11- yard first-quarter run. That, however, would be all the scoring the Caseys could muster.

St. Joe’s tied the score before the first quarter was out and scored three times in the second quarter. This put Red Bank Catholic in the difficult position of having to play catchup against a team that has won sectional titles in five of the past six seasons and is the top-ranked team in the state.

The Caseys, repeat champions of the Shore Conference A Central Division, completed the season 10-1.

Long Branch High School’s bid to reach the Central Jersey Group III final was denied by Nottingham High School in a defensive struggle, 7-0.

The only score of the game, played in Hamilton Township, came in the third quarter on an option pass from running back Jameel Bailey to Daviyon Davis that covered 24 yards.

The Green Wave, which shared the B North title with Neptune High School, finished the year at 9-2. Long Branch had taken out last year’s sectional champion, Matawan Regional High School, in the first round, 26-3.

Nottingham improved to 10-1 on the season and will play Neptune on Dec. 8 for the championship.

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