Down at Halftime, Barnegat Bengals Storm Back to Topple Shore Regional

Sep 20, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

After spotting the visiting Shore Regional Blue Devils an early lead, the Barnegat High School Bengals roared back in the second half, outscoring the opposition 20-0 en route to a 23-14 win.

Junior placekicker Donimick Guiro opened the scoring with a 20-yard field goal in the first quarter. The Bengals (2-0) got good field position with a 23-yard punt return by senior Juan Abraham and a 25-yard run by sophomore Caleb Schafer, plus two runs totaling 20 yards by junior running back Charlie Cotton.

But in the second quarter, Shore Regional (1-1)  ominated as senior running back John Salerno had a 74-yard touchdown run, and senior quarterback Ryan Morris threw a 28-yard scoring pass to junior receiver Michael Deutsch.

The Bengals began mounting a comeback in the third quarter, when junior quarterback Brian Finucan rolled to his right from his 30-yard line and threw a long downfield pass to junior tight end Sean Morris, who caught it at the Shore Regional 28. Cotton capped the scoring drive with an 8-yard touch down run, and Guiro’s extra point it made it 14-10.

On the ensuing Shore Regional drive, senior cornerback Elijah Chesney made a leaping interception near the midfield stripe. From there, the Bengals stuck to the ground game, with Cotton and senior Dillon Muratovic leading the way. A transfer from Nutley, Muratovic scored from a yard out, and the extra point made it 17-14.

The Bengals added to the lead in the fourth quarter, as Muratovic recovered a fumble at the Blue Devils’ 40. After a few runs brought the ball to the 15, Finucan lofted a pass to Morris near the end zone. Morris caught the ball, broke a tackle, spun around and dove into the end zone. The extra point was no good, making the final score 23-14.

“We had 203 total yards in the second half and held Shore Regional to 14,” said head coach Rob Davis. “Like the first win we had against Donovan Catholic, we wore them down in the second half and created turnovers. It was a good win because Shore Regional has been a traditional state power.”

Last year, the Blue Devils, who were 7-4, defeated Barnegat 41-28.

The Bengals’ ground game netted 209 yards, with Cotton and Muratovic combining for 170. Morris caught five passes for 84 yards. He has been Finucan’s favorite target, catching 11 of his 15 completions for 159 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games.

On defense, senior end Lewin Musawa led the way with seven solo tackles, five from behind the line of scrimmage. He was also credited with four quarterback pressures, two sacks, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

“They had a tough time stopping him in the fourth quarter,” said Davis. “He had two tackles for losses on successive plays.”

Barnegat’s next game is Friday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. on the road against B-South rival Manchester, which is also 2-0.

— Eric Englund

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