Pinelands Regional Wins First Football Game of 2016
The Pinelands Regional High School football team earned its first victory of the 2016 season on Friday night, soundly defeating Keansburg, 36-12.
Actually the Wildcats had put the game away in the first half, leading 22-0 at intermission.
David Fairl drew the first blood, scoring a touchdown on a one-yard run in the first quarter. Brennan Richardson salted the wound by running for a two-point conversion.
In the second quarter, Evan Burtton ran seven yards for a touchdown. Quarterback Garrett Brown and Chris Lewis then hooked up for a 41-yard touchdown pass, proving head coach Brian Wilkinson right when he said in the preseason that the arrival of a new offensive coordinator, Charlie Diskin, would “help us open up our offense a little bit.”
The tandem of Burtton and Fairl struck again in the second half, with the former contributing a 21-yard touchdown scamper while the latter had a seven-yard touchdown run.
Jason Jeannotte was perfect in his four point-after kicks, a considerable accomplishment in what could fairly be described as a dark and stormy night.
Brown and backup Tommy Madge handed off the ball to a variety of runners during the course of the evening. Burtton ran seven times for 66 yards; Richardson had 11 carries for 57 yards; Fairl gained 20 yards on five carries. Jake Wienick rushed twice for 14 yards, as did JD Harrison. Brown twice kept the pigskin, gaining 21 yards. Kyle Hehre got the ball twice and ran for 11 yards, while Andrew Schulz gained eight yards on his two carries. Jeffrey Petrauskas only touched the ball once but turned it into a nine-yard gain.
Richardson added 60 yards to his total yardage haul by returning two kickoffs, one for 50 yards.
Fairl led the Pinelands defense from his linebacker spot, recording five tackles. Richardson, in his role as a defensive back, recovered a fumble, as did defensive linemen Robert Reeves and Nick Carmona. Linebacker Robert Eagle recorded a sack, good for a five-yard loss.
The Wildcats’ defense held Keansburg quarterback Daniel Vital to 15 yards passing on three of six attempts. Keansburg running back Liam Riecks gained 157 yards on 19 carries but much of that was in the fourth quarter, when he scored on runs of 56 and 16 yards.
Pinelands, now 1-3, stands a good chance of notching its first two-game winning streak in years when it hosts Donovan Catholic this Friday night at 7 p.m. The Griffins are 0-4.
Interestingly, the teams have played one common opponent, Point Pleasant. Pinelands lost, 31-12, when it traveled north for its season opener against the Panthers. Donovan Catholic fell, 34-13, in a home game against Point Pleasant.
— Rick Mellerup