Jersey Mike’s Week 1 Shore Conference Football Team of the Week: Toms River North
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will be teaming up to select a Shore Conference Football Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 1 is Toms River North, which used a dominant rushing attack to defeat Rumson-Fair Haven, 40-27, in a matchup of top-10 teams. Shore Sports Network stopped by practice on Wednesday to present the Mariners and head coach Dave Oizerowitz with a special game ball and a $250 Jersey Mike's gift card.
Toms River North entered the game ranked No. 2 in The Jeep Store/SSN Top 10 while Rumson entered ranked No. 6. From the start, Toms River North's massive offensive line made its presence felt and paved the way for the Mariners to rush for 422 yards and pile up a staggering 506 yards of offense against a program that traditionally fields one of the best defensive teams in the Shore Conference. Rumson, however, is breaking in several new starters, notably along the offensive and defensive lines, and it was not a favorable matchup against a talented, physical, and experienced Mariners squad.
Junior quarterback Micah Ford, a First Team All-Shore selection last season, rushed for 268 yards and five touchdowns on 26 carries, and junior running back Josh Moore ran for 147 yards on 22 carries. Ford also completed 3 of 4 passes for 84 yards, including a 52-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jeremiah Pruitt. Sophomore Nasir Jackson also got in on the action with a spectacular 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Up front, the unit of 6-foot-7, 300-pound sophomore left tackle Jaelyne Matthews, 6-foot-3, 250-pound sophomore left guard Hathem Hooranyi, 6-foot-1, 230-pound senior center Josh Kaye, 6-foot-5, 240-pound senior right guard Nick Baiocco, and 6-foot-7, 285-pound junior right tackle Justin Kaye was dominant.
The victory moved Toms River North to 2-0 after the Mariners also defeated Washington Township, 28-21, in Week 0. The Minutemen and the Bulldogs represented two of Toms River North's biggest tests on its regular-season schedule, and although it's still early in the season and both wins had their blemishes (19 penalties for 208 yards in the win over Rumson), the Mariners are off to a great start.
It's a stark contrast to last season when the Mariners began the year with four straight losses (a loss to Donovan Catholic was later changed to a forfeit victory because of Donovan's use of an ineligible player). A young and talented group came together in the second half of the season and rattled off six straight victories to reach the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 5 sectional championship game. After a crushing last-second defeat in the title game, the Mariners are back with a loaded roster and a championship mindset. So far, so good.
Toms River North returns to action in Week 2 versus Southern Regional (1-0).