September 9, 2006
LACEY 24, MANALAPAN 14
Lacey downs Manalapan
Lions get big plays on offense and defense
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/10/06
BY BOB BADDERS
LACEY — Judging by time of possession and number of plays alone, one would have thought Lacey had no chance against Manalapan in its Shore Conference Constitution Division game Saturday afternoon.
But the Lions showed the quality of those opportunities outweighs the quantity.
The Lions used some big plays on offense and a few more on defense to down Manalapan, 24-14, in their first game of the 2006 high school football season.
The Lions picked off Braves quarterback Craig Peterson three times and got a long touchdown run from sophomore Tom Rickmers and a key pass play from Ryan Dooley to Vinnie Elardo to break open the scoring, taking a 17-0 lead on their way to a 10-point victory.
"The turnovers were huge, they turned the momentum four times," said Sean McAndrew, a senior wide receiver/defensive back. "The defense made the offense today."
After Braves running back David Presby scored from three yards out to cut the Lions' lead to 17-7, McAndrew came up with his second interception of the game, taking advantage of a swing pass that sailed high and running it 32 yards for the Lions' final touchdown.
"I figure if I'm not going to get the ball on offense I might as well make a few catches on defense," McAndrew said. "They kept beating us on that play in the flat. I was coming up to make the hit and I saw the overthrow.
Manalapan made a late charge behind the arm of Peterson, who finished 17 of 31 for 209 yards and one touchdown. The score came late in the fourth quarter on a 28-yard pass to senior Anthony Gasparre.
"We got beat deep a lot," Rickmers said. "They did a little damage at the end but we still hung in there."
R.J. Roe opened the scoring with a 33-yard field goal to give Lacey a 3-0 lead after the first quarter. Rickmers gave the Lions a 10-0 advantage when he took a fullback dive 34 yards to the end zone. Elardo's touchdown catch of 31 yards, on which he dodged a defender at the 15-yard line and stiff-armed another as he crossed the goal line, made it 17-0.
"It's great to get involved in the offense," said Elardo, who was also active as a linebacker in holding the Braves to 55 rushing yards. "No one was stopping me, I wanted the touchdown bad."
From there the Lions went back to the ground with the likes of Chris Dimicco (18 rushes, 51 yards), Rickmers (4-40) and Mike Mancini (6-31). It was nothing too flashy from the Lions in their first game but it was nonetheless effective.
"On defense we tried to be creative to get some pressure on the quarterback," Lions coach Lou Vircillo said. "On offense we were trying to be careful and not make mistakes. I think as the year goes on we'll be better at the vertical game."
"We had a tough running game and we passed when we had to," Elardo said. "We wanted to show we're for real this year. Last year wasn't a fluke."
September 20, 2006
Howell, Colts Neck also pick up gridiron wins
BY TIM MORRIS
Friday's torrential rain forced the postponements of the Howell at Manalapan and Brick Memorial at Freehold Township games to Saturday evening.
Howell evened its record at 1-1, escaping Manalapan (0-2) with a 7-6 lead. This game was just the opposite of what was expected, as the Braves used a ball-control running attack to keep the ball away from Howell's high-octane passing game.
Tailback David Presby had a huge game for the Braves, running for 164 carries on 32 carries. His running behind Manalapan's veteran offensive line enabled the Braves to double up Howell in first downs (15-8) and keep the chains moving.
However, the Braves didn't take advantage of their time of possession. They had one drive stall inside the 10 on downs.
Howell had a missed field goal in the first half and its offense spent much of the rest of the games on the sidelines watching.
But it was the Rebels' quarterback Sean O'Reilly who made the big plays of the game. First, he pulled in a pass interception early in the fourth quarter that gave the Rebels great field position on the Manalapan 31-yard line.
He promptly went up top connecting with Eric Feehan on the 31-yard touchdown pass. Chance Carrick's extra point, which would loom large, was good, and Howell led 7-0.
Undaunted, the Braves marched 96 yards for a touchdown as their offensive line and Presby took over.
A 14-yard run by James Gilburn completed the drive with 1:33 left in the game. The extra point was missed, and Howell clung to a 7-6 lead, which it was able to hold.
When he was on the field, O'Reilly was sharp, completing 14 of his 18 passes for 115 yards.
Howell will look to go 2-1 on the season tomorrow night when the Rebels host Middletown North (0-2). Kickoff is 6:30 p.m.
Last year the Braves got off to an 0-2 start and rallied to make the state playoffs. They will look to climb their way back tomorrow night when they travel to Brick (1-1) for a 7 p.m. start.
September 27, 2006
Howell and Manalapan pick up important wins
BY TIM MORRIS
Manalapan seems to have found its legs, just as it did at this time last year, and the Howell Rebels appear to be clicking on both sides of the ball.
Manalapan (1-2) and Howell (2-1) were the lone teams from the Freehold District to pick up wins on the gridiron Thursday night. Ed Gurrieri's Braves got their badly needed first win of the season on the road, beating Brick Township (1-2) 19-7, by scoring all 19 points in the second half after trailing the Green Dragons 7-0 after two quarters.
Howell won its second straight game, routing Middletown North, 46-6, at home.
Manalapan finds itself where it was last year at this time, 1-2, after opening the season at 0-2. Last fall the Braves reeled off six straight wins to qualify for the state playoffs and ended up 8-3. Coach Ed Gurrieri said that it was "absolutely amazing" that this year's start has mirrored 2005. The good news is that the Braves have been through it before.
Running behind the Braves' experienced offensive line, David Presby continued to make a case for himself as one of the Shore's best runners. He rushed for 176 yards on 36 carries and scored two touchdowns on runs of 36 and 9 yards in the third quarter, which gave Manalapan a 12-7 lead. That came on the heels of 164 yards against Howell.
"He's 200 pounds," said Gurrieri. "He's a physical, hard-nosed runner who finishes off runs. He wears down defenses."
After softening Brick up with a big dose of Presby, the Braves took to the air to finish off the Dragons. A seven-yard touchdown pass from Craig Peterson to tight end Billy Dokouslis brought the score to 19-7 midway through the fourth quarter.
Peterson had his best game of the season, going 11-for-16 for 139 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions. Down 7-0 at the half, Gurrieri said his club was not in need of a pep talk.
"We were running the ball well, there was never any anxiety," he pointed out.
The difference in the second half and the previous two games: the Braves finished their drives off.
"In our first game against Lacey, we had a lot of turnovers, five," said Gurrieri. "In our second game [Howell], we played great. We kept them off the field and controlled the time of possession. We had an 84-yard drive and a 97-yard drive. It was disappointing we only scored one touchdown."
Despite the loss, the Braves were going in the right direction and were a confident team heading down to Brick.
"We improved week one to two, and as good as Brick is, we're not afraid to go down there," said Gurrieri.
The Braves presented a balanced attack at Brick, accumulating 311 yards on 172 running and 139 passing.
On defense, Dokouslis has been as unblockable as ever at end. He had three quarterback sacks against the Dragons.
The unsung heroes on defense have been the inside tackles, James Burgess, Chris Scalgione and Anthony Zaharakis.
"Our defensive line has played well," noted Gurrieri.
The Green Dragons were held to just 67 yards rushing, a week after Howell rushed for just 32 yards.
Manalapan will look to ride the momentum and confidence of their win at Brick when the Braves host Toms River South (1-2) Friday night. Kickoff is 7 p.m.
September 30, 2006
MANALAPAN 21, TR SOUTH 0
Presby runs wild in victory
Picks up 272 yards
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 09/30/06
BY NEIL SCHUMAN
MANALAPAN — As Manalapan continued to wear down Toms River South with the sledgehammer-like runs of David Presby, the Braves defensive unit continued to make the plays it had to to pitch its first shutout of the season.
Presby, a junior halfback in his first season as a running back on any level, rushed for a career high 272 yards, including a pair of touchdown carries and added 46 receiving yards.
Meanwhile, Manalapan's defense limited Toms River South to 31 yards of total offense in the second half to put a stamp on a 21-0 Shore Conference Constitution Division victory on Friday night.
The Braves (2-2, 2-2) had just moved the ball from midfield to inside the Indians 30, but saw the drive end when they lost the ball on a fumble. But four plays later, their defense turned the momentum around. Anthony Zaharakis' hit caused a fumble. Then linebacker Bryan Tamalone scooped the ball up while in stride and didn't stop until he reached the end zone with 23-yard return that put the Braves up 7-0 with 3:55 remaining in the first quarter.
"There were a bunch of our guys who were near the ball, so I decided, "What the heck. Why not run?', " said Tamalone, a junior. "I just got lucky. I was in the right place at the right time."
Dan Marash's sack, the fourth of the game for Manalapan, led to a punt that gave the Braves possession on their own 29 and on first down, Presby wowed the home crowd with a single carry that saw him cut to the right sideline and take off on a 71-yard jaunt to paydirt, boosting the lead to 14-0 as the first-quarter clock ran down to zeroes.
"I just bounced to the outside a lot and once again our line did the job," Presby said. "The difference between this week and last was that our wide receivers did such a nice job of cracking down."
A Jarred Panecki interception halted another Manalapan drive and started the Indians (1-3, 1-3) on their most-productive possession of the game. Quarterback Anthony Penna rushed for 35 yards and passed for 29 as South got a first down at the Manalapan nine with 36 seconds to play in the first half. But the Braves' pass rush and secondary combined to prevent advancement past the 4. Senior cornerback Nick Leonetti, who knocked down a few passes helped stem the tide, enabling the Braves to maintain their two-touchdown advantage.
"I knew the first time after I hit (my assigned receiver), he wasn't going to want any more," Leonetti said. "I just kept sticking it to him and that is what you have to do."
That was how things stayed in the second half, when the Braves held the Indians to a single first down. And with 2:13 to play in the game, Presby put things safely out of reach when he capped a 67-yard drive with a six-yard blast to the end zone.
October 4, 2006
Braves keep rolling as Presby piles up the yards
Manalapan tops TR South, 21-0
BY TIM MORRIS
It was running back by committee for the Manalapan Braves when the football season began.
The Braves had no heir apparent waiting in the wings, and head coach Ed Gurrieri figured the best thing to do was to spread the ball carrying chores among a group of backs running behind an experienced offensive line.
That committee is now a committee of one. David Presby, a junior, with no prior experience running the ball, has not only stepped up to become the team's go-to back, he is the leading rusher in the Shore Conference.
Friday night, Presby turned in the third best performance by a Brave running back in school history, gaining 272 yards on 32 carries and scoring a pair of touchdowns in Manalapan's 21-0 win over visiting Toms River South on Friday night.
Gurrieri thought all along that Presby would become the team's starting tailback.
"He's the strongest, fastest guy on the team," he said.
Presby has rushed for 678 yards in the team's first four games and the curve has been all upward - 164-174-272 in the last three games.
"He's only going to get better," noted Gurrieri. "His instincts are getting better and better. He was just putting his head down and pounding into the line. Now, he's seeing the field better and making people miss."
That's hardly encouraging for upcoming defenses. Presby scored on touchdown runs of 71 and 6 yards Friday night.
What made his game more frightening is that he had two touchdowns called back by penalties - a 53-yard screen pass and 30-yard run.
"He could have had 100 yards in pass receiving, 300 yards rushing and four touchdowns," said Gurrieri.
As it was, it was impressive enough as Manalapan continued to build its momentum and evened its record at 2-2.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Braves were flawless, led by Bill Dokouslis. From a tackle behind the line of scrimmage on the first play of the game, the defensive lineman was dominant. He finished with four quarterback sacks.
"They couldn't block him," Gurrieri said of Dokouslis.
The last thing that winless Middletown North (0-4) needs Friday night is a rejuvenated Manalapan Brave squad coming to town. Kickoff in Middletown is 7 p.m.
October 7, 2006
MANALAPAN 49 MIDDLETOWN NORTH 14
Peterson tosses five touchdowns as Braves rip Lions
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 10/7/06
BY TOM FALKOWSKI
MIDDLETOWN — Manalapan came into the game with the leading rusher in the Shore Conference, David Presby, having racked up 679 yards on the ground in the first four games.
But the Braves decided to go to the air behind quarterback Craig Peterson and rode his arm to a 49-14 Constitution Division win over Middletown North for their third straight victory.
Peterson dropped back to pass on Manalapan's first 13 plays from scrimmage and finished with 234 yards passing and five touchdowns.
"We usually have a balanced attack and like to mix it up offensively. I was surprised that we threw the ball so much, but they were in a press man defense and our receivers did a great job getting open and making big plays," Peterson said.
The Braves certainly made big plays, as six of their scores came on plays of over 44 yards. On their second possession, Peterson rolled to his left and threw back toward the middle of the field where he found Jordan Whitehead wide open. Whitehead raced untouched to the end zone for the 44-yard score and an early 7-0 lead.
On its next possession, Manalapan struck again when Peterson connected with Vasilios Dokouslis on a quick post for a 54-yard touchdown and a 14-0 first-quarter advantage. The Braves still hadn't called a running play in the game.
Presby finally got his number called in the second quarter, but finished with just 6 carries for 31 yards as the Braves continued to mount their attack through the air. Peterson threw two more touchdown passes in the final five minutes of the opening half by connecting with Joey D'Amadeo for 53 yards and Whitehead again for 12 yards to go into the half ahead 28-0.
It didn't take long for Manalapan to score again on a long play after the break. D'Amadeo took the second-half kickoff and raced down the sideline for an 87-yard score.
Peterson threw his final touchdown pass on the next possession when he lofted a pass down the sideline to Dokouslis for 45 yards. The final big play for Manalapan came on the ground as backup running back Alex Martinez took a handoff off tackle and sprinted to the end zone for a 60-yard score in the third quarter.
The Lions wouldn't give up, however, as they scored twice in the fourth quarter. The first score came on a 2-yard plunge by Jim Trancucci. Then reserve quarterback Joe Dickey ran around end for a 9-yard touchdown for the final score of the game.
"This was a big win and we've won three in a row. We're starting to put it together and play better football," Peterson said.
October 7, 2006
Manalapan (3-2) - 49, Middletown North (0-4) - 14
Friday, October 06, 2006
Craig Peterson completed nine of 20 passes for 231 yards and five touchdowns as Manalapan recorded its third consecutive victory with a 49-14 triumph over Middletown North last night in Middletown.
The junior quarterback connected with Jordan Whitehead and Billy Dokouslis for two touchdowns apiece. Joseph D'Amadeo caught the other scoring pass and returned the second-half kickoff 85 yards to another touchdown.
Alex Martinez recorded Manalapan's other score, on a 60-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Jim Trancucci and Mike Shope each ran for a fourth-quarter touchdown for Middletown North.
GAME SCORING 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Final
3-2 14 14 21 0 49
0-4 0 0 0 14 14
Key Scoring Plays:
- M: Whitehead 45 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: Dokouslis 54 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: D'Amadeo 52 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: Whitehead 7 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: D'Amadeo 85 kick return (Sarner kick)
- M: Dokouslis 45 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: Martinez 60 run (Sarner kick)
- MN: Trancucci 2 run (Drayton kick)
- MN: Shope 9 run (Drayton kick)
October 11, 2006
Braves score gridiron victories
BY TIM MORRIS
Manalapan goes into its bye week this weekend riding a wave of momentum. The Braves (3-2) picked up their third straight win Friday at the expense of Middletown North (0-4), 49-14.
Manalapan, which had been relying on tailback Dave Presby, the leading rusher in the Shore (679 yards in the first four games), turned to the passing game and big plays in Middletown.
Quarterback Craig Peterson showed that Manalapan can be equally effective throwing the ball as he tossed five touchdown passes and threw for 234, completing nine of his 20 aerials.
Billy Dokouslis, better known for harassing quarterbacks as a defensive lineman, pulled down two of the TD passes, both big plays of 53 and 454 yards.
Jordan Whitehead also caught two scoring strikes of 44 and 12 yards.
Joey D'Amadeo scored on a 53-yard pass from Peterson and then put the icing on the cake when he returned the second-half kickoff 87 yards for a score, extending the 28-0 halftime lead to 35-0.
When Manalapan returns to the gridiron on Oct. 20, it will be to host Colts Neck in the first-ever meeting between the schools. Peterson's passing has given the Cougars and future opponents a lot to think about.
October 18, 2006
Manalapan hosting Colts Neck Friday in key game
BY TIM MORRIS
Another game with state playoff implications will be Friday night's Manalapan-Colts Neck matchup in Manalapan. Both teams are 3-2 and in the hunt with Howell for one of the eight playoffs berths in Central Jersey Group IV.
Manalapan, riding a three-game winning streak, is coming off its bye week, while Colts Neck lost at Lacey, 28-0, Saturday. That win gave Lacey the Constitution Division title.
This game will feature two very strong running attacks. Manalapan's is led by David Presby (the Shore's leading rusher after five games with 710 yards) and the Colts Neck duo of Ashton Jackson and Pat Six.
The quarterbacks, Craig Peterson for Manalapan and Kevin Kelly for Colts Neck, could make the difference Friday.
Both teams have very good defenses against the run as well. Manalapan is led by Billy Dokouslis and the Cougars by Kevin Hanvey.
Kickoff in Manalapan is 7 p.m.
October 21, 2006
Colts Neck (4-2) - 31, Manalapan (3-3) - 28
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Rob Gillette's 37-yard field goal in the fourth quarter gave Colts Neck a 31-28 victory over Manalapan last night in Colts Neck.
Ashton Jackson, who carried 22 times for 267 yards and three touchdowns, scored on an 85-yard run in the fourth quarter and Gillette nailed the conversion kick to pull Colts Neck (4-2) even at 28-28.
Manalapan is 3-3.
GAME SCORING 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Final
3-3 0 14 6 8 28
4-2 7 14 0 10 31
Key Scoring Plays:
- C: Jackson 76 run (Gillette kick)
- C:Leroy 10 pass from Kelly (Gillette kick)
- C: Jackson 34 run (Gillette kick)
- M: Gillburn 21 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: D'Amadeo 22 pass from Whitehead (Sarner kick)
- M: Peterson 1 run (kick failed)
- M: Dokouslis 76 pass from Peterson (Presby run)
- C: Jackson 85 run (Gillette kick)
- C: FG Gillette 37
October 21, 2006
Jackson's record rushing night lifts Colts Neck
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 10/21/06
BY JOSH NEWMAN
MANALAPAN — Junior running back Ashton Jackson rushed for a school-record 265 yards on 22 carries and scored three times, while Rob Gillette drilled a 37-yard field goal to break a tie at 28 midway through the fourth quarter as Colts Neck edged Manalapan, 31-28, in a Shore Conference Constitution game with major NJSIAA playoff implications.
With the Cougars (4-2, 3-2) clinging to a 21-20 lead after three quarters, Billy Dokouslis hauled in a Craig Peterson pass on third-and-22 and raced 76 yards down the left sideline for a Manalapan (3-3, 3-3) touchdown. David Presby's two-point conversion made it 28-21.
As he had done for much of the night, Jackson put his team on his back as he took the handoff on second down and went 85 yards down the right sideline for his third score, breaking several tackles along the way.
"I came in the huddle and told my line I would run through a wall and they told me we would do it together and that's how we did everything tonight, together." Jackson said. "We came in with that extra hunger tonight because we knew if we didn't get this one, we probably wouldn't make states."
Presby fumbled the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by Colts Neck's Alex Leroy at the Manalapan 33. The drive stalled after five plays at the 20, and on came Gillette. He calmly kicked a 37-yarder into the wind that would have easily cleared 45 yards to deliver the win when his team needed it most.
"I was real nervous and I just didn't have the confidence that I knew I would hit it," Gillette said. "Coach (MacArthur) trusted me and I'm glad he did because this feels great."
Colts Neck jumped out in front early on thanks to Jackson who went 76 yards for his first score in the opening quarter to make it 7-0. On second and goal from the 10, Kevin Kelly hit a streaking Alex Leroy in the end zone on a broken play to make it 14-0, and Jackson's second rushing score from 34 yards out made it 21-0.
"The bottom line is that the team that is more disciplined in crunch time is going to get the win, and that looked like us this time around," said Colts Neck coach Mike MacArthur. "Ashton is ballplayer plain and simple and he certainly showed that he can get the job done."
Manalapan got some momentum going into halftime as Craig Peterson connected with Jimmy Gilburn from 21 yards to make it 21-7. After an onside kick, the Braves showed some trickery when Peterson handed the ball off to wideout Jordan Whitehead on what appeared to be an end around. Whitehead then proceeded to air it out to Joey D'Amadeo for a 22-yard score that made the score 21-14 at halftime.
October 25, 2006
Colts Neck rallies to win thriller in Manalapan
Jackson runs for 265 yards and three TDs
BY TIM MORRIS
First things first: Colts Neck and Manalapan played a great high school football game on Friday night.
The game featured a wave of momentum changes and one big play after another.
When it was all said and done on a cold, windy evening in Manalapan, Colts Neck had scored a 31-28 victory. It was a 37-yard field goal into the wind by Rob Gillette that proved to be the difference.
The victory kept the visiting Cougars in control of their destiny in the Central Jersey Group IV playoff hunt at 4-2, while Manalapan slipped to 3-3, but far from out of the picture. Just three years ago, Manalapan got into the state playoffs at 4-4 and made it to the sectional final.
The biggest playmaker of the evening was Colts Neck's Ashton "Action" Jackson, who showed why he earned the nickname "Action." He broke three long touchdown runs and shredded the Braves defense for a school record 265 yards on 22 carriers.
It was his 85-yard run early in the fourth quarter that shifted the momentum back to the Cougars for good.
On the play, a sweep, he cut back into the line and appeared to stop, but he was never brought down. He made a cut to the outside and emerged from the crowded line of scrimmage, sprinting down the sidelines. He got a good block outside from Sean Carter, and was off to the races again. He had earlier scored on runs of 76 and 34 yards.
"He keeps his legs moving and has great balance," said Cougar coach Mike McArthur. "As coaches, we'd like to think we can coach that, but we can't."
Braves head coach Ed Gurrieri could only tip his hat to the Cougar junior.
"Jackson had a great game," he said. "He's outstanding."
Jackson alone almost put the Braves away. His 76-yarder put the Cougars up 7-0. That was followed by a 10-yard scoring pass from Kevin Kelly to Chris Leroy.
Jackson's 34-yard run late in the second quarter made it 21-0 Colts Neck. The Cougars were in firm control of the game.
"Coming off our loss to Lacey, I was dissatisfied with our effort," said McArthur. "We had been talking about putting it all together for four quarters. We hadn't done that this year, and to go up 21-0 on Manalapan, which is a good football team, I thought we were doing real well.
"In a matter of 1:14 everything went through the wall," he added.
Down 21-0, the Braves got the ball with just 2:20 in the half. With little to draw on (they had one first-quarter drive that stalled and resulted in a missed field goal), the Braves had to be happy to just run the clock out and get into the locker room. But 1:08 later, it was 21-7. A first-down run by Dave Presby and Jim Gilburn got the drive going before Craig Peterson's 20-yard strike to Gilburn put the Braves on the scoreboard with 1:08 remaining.
Gurrieri then took a gamble and called for an on-sides kick. The ball bounced off a Cougar and Matt Johnson recovered it for the Braves.
Peterson then hit Billy Dokouslis down the middle on a 35-yard pass play, putting the ball on the Colts Neck 22. On the next play, the Braves ran an end around with Joe D'Amadeo getting a pitch from Peterson. But instead of running the ball, he pulled and threw the ball downfield to Jordan Whitehead in the end zone for another Manalapan score. With 42 seconds remaining in the half, a Colts Neck romp was now a game, 21-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Jackson fumbled the ball, and the Braves' Matt Salerno recovered. But the Braves weren't able to move the ball in the final 42 seconds. Still, momentum had found a new partner.
"Even though we were behind, we felt good at halftime," said Gurrieri.
Gurrieri felt even better in the third quarter when the Braves scored again on a one-yard run by Peterson. A fourth-down pass to Whitehead and a big third-down run by Gilburn kept the drive alive. The extra point was missed, and Colts Neck was clinging to a 21-20 lead as the game moved into the fourth quarter.
On a third down and 21, Peterson connected with Dokouslis on a 76-yard scoring play that put Manalapan up, 26-21. Dokouslis, who made his reputation on the gridiron as a ferocious defensive player, is now someone defenses can no longer afford to overlook. He showed remarkable speed for a defensive end.
Manalapan went for two, and Presby scored on a run to boost the lead to 28-21. Everything was going Manalapan's way.
Then, enter Action Jackson, and momentum changed partners again. In a flash, Jackson broke his run, and with Gillette's extra point, tied the game at 28-28.
Colts Neck got the ball back when Alex Leroy recovered a Presby fumble on the Manalapan 33. The Manalapan defense held, but the Cougars did reach the 20, far enough to try a field goal. When Gillette split the uprights, the Cougars had the final word.
The game was as even on the field as it was on the scoreboard. Manalapan had 360 total yards (172 rushing led by Gilburn's 87 on 11 carries) and 188 passing (Peterson was 8-for-12 for 166), while the Cougars had 348 with 279 on the ground led, of course, by Jackson's school record.
After a month on the road, the Cougars are looking forward to playing at home Saturday. The Cougars will host Marlboro (0-6) at 1 p.m.
Manalapan looks to regroup at home Friday night against an improving Freehold Township at 7 p.m.
"We still have something to play for," said Gurrieri. "I have confidence we'll bounce back. Every time we've taken a hit on the chin, they've responded. I think we'll be fine."
October 28, 2006
Playoff berth still possible
Braves trounce Patriots to move over .500 mark
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 10/28/06
BY BOB JORDAN
MANALAPAN — Typically, teams with .500 records in late October are preparing to kiss their postseason hopes goodbye.
But Manalapan, which moved a game over the break-even point on Friday night by beating Freehold Township, 41-14, has recent history that is coming in handy.
Senior tight end and defensive end Billy Dokouslis, who had four receptions — including two touchdown catches — and recorded one sack in the Shore Conference nondivisional game against the Patriots, said the Braves (4-3) were fired up by the thought of qualifying for the NJSIAA state playoffs.
"We made it last and it's certainly possible we can achieve the same and make the states again," Dokouslis said. "We have Jackson next week. We're overdue for a good game against them."
On Friday night Freehold Township (2-6) scored first but Manalapan — which lost a two-way lineman to an early injury but received a fine fill-in performance from sophomore Anthony Frizalone — tied the game on the last play of the first quarter and dominated the rest of the way. Quarterback Craig Peterson scored the tying touchdown on a 1-yard run, which was set up by Justin Dattolo's 30-yard run.
The go-ahead touchdown came on a 2-yard pass that the 6-foot-1 Dokouslis won as a jump ball over defensive back Kyle Ramos-Herrera.
Dokouslis also caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Peterson in the fourth quarter.
Dokouslis said he is shopping among NCAA Division I-A and I-AA colleges but is uncertain what school he will attend.
He weighs 230 pounds and has 4.55 speed.
"A lot of schools took a wait-and-see with him because he was only 200 pounds last year, but he filled out nicely," Manalapan coach Ed Gurrieri said.
Freehold Township put forth a slight rally in the third quarter, when a trick play resulted in a 75-yard touchdown pass from running back Matt Porricelli to Alan Frost.
But Manalapan's ensuing possession was a one-play affair, as David Presby scored on a 70-yard run.
October 28, 2006
Manalapan (4-3) - 41, Freehold Township (1-6) - 14
Friday, October 27, 2006
Junior quarterback Craig Peterson tossed two touchdown passes to Bill Gokoulis and ran for a touchdown as Manalapan defeated Freehold Township, 41-14, last night in Manalapan.
Freehold Township grabbed an early, 7-0 lead when tailback Kyle Ramos-Herrara raced 28 yards to a score.
Manalapan tied the game, 7-7, later in the period as Peterson rushed over from the one. A 25-yard run by James Gilburn highltighted the march.
Manalapan made it 14-7 at the half as Peterson hit Gokoulis from two yards out. The drive included a 48-yard reverse by Chris Pellicano.
Gilburn began the second-half scoring with a 5-yard run for a 21-7 lead. A 75-yard pass from Freehold's Matt Porricelli to Al Frost closed the gap to 21-14.
Manalapan retaliated with a 71-yard TD scamper by David Presbuy to make it 28-14.
In the final quarter, Peterson found Gokoulis from 17 yards and Alex Martinez dashed in from 17 yards away.
Linebacker Mike White had four sacks for Manalapan.
GAME SCORING 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Final
1-6 7 0 7 0 14
4-3 7 7 14 13 41
Key Scoring Plays:
- F: Ramos-Herrara 28 run (Hancock kick)
- M: Peterson 1 run (Sarner kick)
- M: Gokoulis 2 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: Gilburn 15 run (Sarner kick)
- F: Frost 75 pass from Porricelli (Hancock kick)
- M: Presby 71 run (Sarner kick)
- M: Gokoulis 17 pass from Peterson (kick failed)
- M: Martinez 32 run (Sarner kick)
November 1, 2006
Playoff positions on the line this weekend
BY TIM MORRIS
Manalapan beat Freehold Township 41-14 to go to 4-3 and improve its chances of getting back to the playoffs. Manalapan has one of the big games of the weekend going up against defending sectional champion Jackson (5-2) in what could be a make-it-or-break-it scenario for both teams. The game is in Jackson and kickoff is 7 p.m. Friday night at Jackson.
Kyle Ramos-Herrara staked the visiting Patriots (2-6) to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter in Manalapan Friday night, scoring on a 24-yard run. The Braves, though, tied it before the period expired when quarterback Craig Peterson capped off a drive with a one-yard run.
Billy Dokouslis, becoming more and more an offensive force for the Braves as a receiver, caught a two-yard pass from Peterson in the second quarter to put Manalapan up 14-7.
In the second half, though, the Braves got their offense in high gear, outscoring the Patriots 27-7.
Jack Gilburn scored on a 15-yard run to open the lead to 21-7. The Pats did respond, scoring on a big play - a 75-yard pass from Jack Lapietra to Alan Frost.
Manalapan answered with its own long strike, a 70-yard strike from Peterson to Dave Presby.
Dokouslis caught a 17-yard scoring pass from Peterson, and Alex Martinez's 31-yard dash wrapped up the scoring.
Gilburn rushed for 118 yards on 15 carries, and Presby, closing in on 1,000 for the season, had 75 yards on eight carries as the Braves dented what had been a tough defense to run on for 306 yards on the ground.
Ramos-Herrara picked up 76 yards on 17 carries for the Pats.
November 3, 2006
Manalapan (5-3) - 28, Jackson (6-3) - 10
Friday, November 03, 2006
Craig Peterson completed nine of 14 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns of 50 yards or longer to lead Manalapan into the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 playoffs with a 28-10 victory over Jackson last night in Jackson.
Peterson did most of his damage in a 28-point second quarter, firing a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Whitehead and 50-yard scoring strikes to Chris Pellicano and Billy Dokouslis.
David Presby, who led Manalapan with 80 rushing yards on 24 carries, provided its first touchdown on a 6-yard run.
Jackson took an early lead on a 20-yard field goal by Pat Martin and scored a late touchdown when Tim Nolan fell on a blocked punt in the end zone.
GAME SCORING 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Final
5-3 0 28 0 0 28
6-3 3 0 7 0 10
Key Scoring Plays:
- J: FG Martin 20
- M: Presby 6 run (Sarner kick)
- M: Whitehead 58 pass Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: Pellicano 50 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- M: Dokouslis 50 pass from Peterson (Sarner kick)
- J: Nolan recovered blocked punt in end zone (Martin kick)
November 4, 2006
MANALAPAN 28 JACKSON 10
Visiting Braves clinch spot in NJSIAA playoffs by shocking No. 6 Jaguars
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/4/06
BY BOB BADDERS
JACKSON — To win big games a team has to have big-game players, and Friday night Manalapan showed it has plenty.
Needing a win over No. 6 Jackson to qualify for the playoffs, the Braves got big performances from their skill players and offensive line and scored 28 points in the second quarter to down the Jaguars, 28-10, in a Shore Conference nondivisional game at John J. Munley field.
The victory assures the Braves a spot in the Central Jersey Group IV playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
"They beat us the past couple of years and we really wanted some revenge," quarterback Craig Peterson said. "And we definitely wanted to keep playing this year."
Peterson had a monster game that included a career-high 258 passing yards and three touchdowns. With David Presby running the ball effectively, the Braves used the play-action pass to torch the Jaguars with two 50-yard TD passes and a 58-yard TD strike.
"I was reading the safeties and trying to split them with crossing routes," Peterson said. "The line did a great job today, I don't think I got hit all day."
Senior tight end Billy Dokouslis finished with three catches for 116 yards and caught a TD pass for the fourth straight game. His TD reception was the nail in the coffin, giving the Braves a 28-3 lead with 22 seconds left in the first half.
"We were able to find the void in their secondary and Craig threw us some great balls," Dokouslis said.
The Jaguars (6-3) opened the scoring with a Pat Marin 20-yard field goal at 3:50 of the first quarter but that was the last time they would have a lead. On their first drive of the second quarter, the Braves (5-3) marched 78 yards in six plays and took a 7-3 lead on Presby's 7-yard run. Peterson and Dokouslis hooked up for a 57-yard pass play to set up Presby's run. After holding Jackson three-and-out, Manalapan went right back to the air and went up 14-3 when Peterson connected with Jordan Whitehead on a 58-yard score.
On their next drive, Presby ran 59 yards for a would-be touchdown that was called back because of a holding penalty. It didn't matter however, because three plays later Peterson hit Chris Pellicano for a 50-yard touchdown and a 21-3 lead. Despite being down 18, Jackson still had life, especially with running back Mark Schiavone's ability to score on any play. After Pellicano's touchdown catch, however, the Jags couldn't mount a drive and were forced to punt. Manalapan only had 37 seconds to play with but needed only 15. After an incomplete pass, Peterson hit Dokouslis for a 50-yard touchdown to shut the door and lock it behind them.
Jackson cut the lead to 28-10 when Tim Nolan recovered a blocked punt in the end zone, but the Jags didn't get another sniff at the end zone.
The way things are shaping up in the CJ IV bracket, the Braves are looking at a return trip to the Jungle next week to take on the Jags once again.
"We'll just have to do it again," Peterson said. "We know we can beat them, so we have the confidence."
November 8, 2006
Howell, Manalapan make playoffs with wins
Colts Neck is also in
BY TIM MORRIS
Howell and Manalapan played their way into the state playoffs, while Colts Neck, played its way out of a home game last weekend.
Manalapan, the No. 6 seed, plays at No. 3 Hunterdon Central Friday night, and No. 7 Colts Neck will make a trip to Jackson, the No. 2 seed and defending champion, Friday night.
Manalapan put itself in a hole for the second straight year, starting 0-2, but rallied again.
"We [coaches] knew, and they knew that we were a good football team," said coach Ed Gurrieri. "They never lost confidence. We told them what we had to do was win."
That was the position the Braves were in Friday night at Jackson, knowing that with a win, no matter what happened elsewhere, they were in the playoffs. They responded with a 28-10 win over the Jaguars (6-3), who had already clinched a playoff berth and the No. 2 seed.
Quarterback Craig Peterson continued his maturing, going 8-for-13 for 258 yards and three long touchdown passes of 58 yards to Jordan Whitehead, 50 to Chris Pellicano, and 50 to tight end Bill Dokouslis.
David Presby moved closer to 1,000 yards, gaining 85 on 23 carries. He scored the first of Manalapan's four second-quarter touchdowns on a seven-yard run.
With Peterson coming along at quarterback, the Braves have become a dangerous team.
"Right now we're hitting on all cylinders," said Gurrieri. "You don't go into Jackson and be one-dimensional. You have to have a balanced attack and we have that."
Dokouslis has become a force on offense that Gurrieri admitted he didn't expect.
"He's the only player in the Shore who you can say is the best player at two positions," said Gurrieri. "He has double figures in sacks as defensive end and he's a force on offense at tight end.
"To tell you the truth, I didn't expect this from him on offense," he added. "He's one of our fastest players, and we decided to see if he could catch the ball. We could see signs that he could, and he keeps getting better and better."
Manalapan, which advanced to the semifinals last year, takes the long trek to Hunterdon County to take on the 6-2 Red Devils.
November 10, 2006
Manalapan's changing of the guard
Presby finds place at RB
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/10/06
BY BOB BADDERS
With a goal of returning to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years, Manalapan had to find a way to replace almost 3,000 yards of offense after graduating its quarterback, running back and tight end.
During the Braves' 8-3 campaign of 2005, quarterback Nick Scardelli led the Shore Conference in passing, running back Anthony Mujica finished as a top-five running back and tight end Adam Hegel was an All-Shore selection.
Billy Dokouslis has been the heir apparent at tight end while quarterback Craig Peterson has made sure the offense has continued to run just as smooth. To whom Peterson would hand off was not as clear, however, and the player that emerged out of a jumbled backfield competition was the least likely of options.
Meet junior David Presby, a player who is in just his third year as a football player and first as a running back, yet has churned out almost 1,000 yards for the Braves (5-3). The discovery of Presby came not on the football field, but rather on the basketball court. Braves head coach Ed Gurrieri and offensive coordinator Tom Gallahue were watching one of Presby's junior varsity games when the light bulb went off.
"We were already aware of his numbers for how fast he was and how strong he was," Gurrieri said. "We were watching the way he moved on the basketball court and that's when we decided to give him a chance to be a running back."
This was certainly something new for Presby, a kid who hadn't played football until his freshman year and was an offensive guard until Gurrieri spotted him shooting hoops. But Presby is proof that athletic ability and drive are enough to overcome experience.
"I grew up playing basketball and baseball," Presby said. "I always wanted to play football but my mom wouldn't let me. But I always imagined myself playing in high school."
In eight games this season, Presby has rushed for 919 yards and 7 TDs. His coming out party came in a 21-0 win over Toms River South when he carried 37 times for 272 yards and two touchdowns.
"His success surprises us a little, but he's such an athletic kid," Peterson said. "We knew the transition would be tough but I think he's pretty much done his job so far."
Being a lineman for two years meant Presby had to not only learn a new position, but look the part as well. Gurrieri said Presby had to cut around 25 pounds to get to his current playing weight of 205. The result is a lethal combination of the strength of a lineman and breakaway speed.
Learning the ins and outs of being a guard have also helped Presby make a smooth transition from a player who creates running lanes to a player who blazes through them.
"I appreciate what the line has to do a lot more now," Presby said.
When the sixth-seeded Braves travel to face No. 3 seed Hunterdon Central today in the first round of the Central Jersey Group IV playoffs they will have come a long way since graduation left them with plenty of uncertainty. Presby's emergence has provided stability and allowed the Braves' offense to remain balanced despite its losses.
"We can never say to teams, "This is what we're going to do, try and stop us,' " Gurrieri said. "David has helped us stay balanced. Even with all we lost last year I think at this point we might actually be a little better."
As Manalapan has learned, help — even from the unlikeliest of sources — is always welcome.
November 11, 2006
CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP IV HUNTERDON CENTRAL 31 MANALAPAN 7
Sloppy third quarter does in Manalapan
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/11/06
BY JOHN BUSH
FLEMINGTON — Despite getting outplayed, Manalapan had survived the first half against Hunterdon Central and trailed by three points.
Then came the third quarter.
Manalapan committed five turnovers in the period — three of which were converted into touchdowns — as the host Red Devils ran away for a 31-7 victory Friday in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs.
Hunterdon Central (7-3) led 10-7 at halftime. After three interceptions and two fumbles by the Braves over the next 12 minutes, the Devils' lead was 31-7.
"At halftime we were losing 10-7, and I said we can't play any worse than that," Manalapan coach Ed Gurrieri said. "And we came out the second half and we just shot ourselves in the foot all over the place. We couldn't overcome all those turnovers."
The end began for Manalapan (5-4) when quarterback Craig Peterson fumbled after getting hit by linebacker Mike Diehl early in the second half, with the Devils' Bill Campi recovering at the Braves' 32. Hunterdon Central moved to the Manalapan 7, and from there quarterback Matt Shankoff found Dan Fitzsimmons in the end zone to give the Devils a 17-7 lead.
On Manalapan's next play, a fumble by running back David Presby was recovered by the Devils' Derek Goreczny at the Braves' 15. Running back Mike Weisel, who finished with 122 yards on 29 carries, then ran four times, the last of which was a 3-yard touchdown to make it 24-7.
Both teams then exchanged interceptions, and Manalapan moved to the Hunterdon Central 41. Facing fourth-and-long, Peterson was intercepted by Goreczny, who ran 77 yards for a touchdown to give the Devils a 31-7 lead.
Hunterdon Central had opened an early 10-0 lead. A.J. McNulty kicked a 22-yard field goal on the Devils' opening drive, and fullback Matt Furstenburg finished a 61-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 10-0 late in the first quarter.
Manalapan came back with a 99-yard drive in the second quarter that began inside its 1. Presby ran for 16 yards, Peterson threw 17 yards to Billy Dokouslis, and a pass interference penalty put the Braves at the Devils' 37. Peterson then hit Blaze DiLorenzo for 32 yards, and Matt Salerno capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to pull the Braves to within 10-7.
"We felt good," Gurrieri said. "We were terrible and we were still only down three. We made some adjustments, we thought we would be OK, and things got away from us." "We tried to be a little bit smarter," Hunterdon Central coach Mike Perotti said. "We concentrated on taking away No. 90 (Dokouslis) and that helped us out a lot."
November 11, 2006
Hunterdon Central (7-3) - 31, Manalapan (5-4) - 7
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Mike Weisel carried 28 times for 109 yards and a touchdown as Hunterdon Central eliminated Manalapan, 31-7, in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 playoffs last night in Flemington.
Hunterdon Central's Matthew Shankoff completed 10 of 24 passes for 136 yards with Dan Fitzsimmons on the receiving end of five of those passes for 116 yards and a 7-yard touchdown.
A.J. McNulty gave Hunterdon Central (7-3) a 3-0 lead with a 22-yard field goal in the first quarter while Matthew Furstenberg had a 3-yard touchdwon run and Derek Goreczny concluded the scoring with a 78-yard interception return.
Matt Salerno had a 1-yard touchdown run for Manalapan (5-4), which won five of its last six games to qualify for the playoffs.
GAME SCORING 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Final
5-4 0 7 0 0 7
7-3 10 0 21 0 31
Key Scoring Plays:
- HC: FG McNulty 22
- HC: Furstenburg 3 run (McNulty kick)
- M: Salerno 1 run (Sliwoski kick)
- HC: Fitzsimmons 7 pass from Shankoff (McNulty kick)
- HC: Weisel 3 run (McNulty kick)
- HC: Goreczny 78 interception return (McNulty kick)
November 11, 2006
Football: Central makes Manalapan pay for its many mistakes
By JERRY CARINO
RARITAN TOWNSHIP -- One small adjustment made a big difference for the Hunterdon Central High School football team Friday night.
Trying to deal with pass-happy Manalapan in the Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinals, the Red Devils came out in the third quarter with a cover-3 zone, essentially using an extra defensive back to deal with bruising tight end Billy Dokouslis.
The change sliced Manalapan's rhythm like a guillotine, forcing five third-quarter turnovers and turning a tight game into a 31-7 runaway. It marked Hunterdon Central's first playoff victory since 2002.
Third-seeded Hunterdon Central (7-3) will visit second-seeded Jackson next Friday in the semifinals. Jackson held off seventh-seeded Colts Neck 7-0 in its quarterfinal.
"We had to take away No. 90 (Dokouslis)," Central coach Matt Perotti said. "Going two-on-two with him, that's not getting it done. So we put three over there. Basically we concentrated on taking No. 90 away, and that helped us out a lot."
Here's how much it helped:
After trailing 10-7 at halftime but building up some steam toward the end of the second quarter, sixth-seeded Manalapan (5-4) fumbled away the ball on its third play of the second half when Central's Matt Schenck clocked quarterback Craig Peterson.
Bill Campi recovered for the Red Devils, and they punched it in seven plays later when quarterback Matt Shankoff slipped a play-action pass to Dan Fitzsimmons for a 7-yard touchdown.
Manalapan lost another fumble on its very next play from scrimmage. Derrick Goreczny fell on it for Central, and this time it took four plays for the Red Devils to convert. Senior tailback Mike Weisel did the honors, punching it in from 3 yards out. That made it 24-7 with 5:48 left in the third.
The teams then traded interceptions before Goreczny delivered the fatal blow.
Reading Dokouslis all the way, he stepped in front of a Peterson pass and took it back 78 yards for a score, going the last 15 after an ankle-breaking cutback left two defenders in his wake. That made it 31-7.
For good measure, Hunterdon Central's Greg Hamilton picked off a pass on Manalapan's next possession.
"We knew they liked to pass the ball," Goreczny said afterward. "We just had to gear up and play smarter."
Peterson completed just 8-of-28 passes for 136 yards and three picks. All told, Manalapan mustered just 194 yards from scrimmage.
Hunterdon Central, meanwhile, had its way in the trenches.
The Red Devils got a workmanlike game from Weisel (28 carries, 109 yards) and a solid outing from Shankoff (10-for-24, 136 yards). Fitzsimmons was the biggest star on offense, grabbing five passes for 116 yards.
"Both sides of the line did a great job today," Goreczny said.
Dokouslis, meanwhile, finished with 51 yards on three catches.
Staff writer Ryan Dunleavy can be reached at (908) 707-3168 or at email@example.com
MANALAPAN (5-4) 0 7 0 0-- 7
HUNTERDON CENTRAL (7-3) 10 0 21 0--31
HC -- FG McNulty 22
HC -- Furstenburg 3 run (McNulty kick)
M -- Muccino 1 run (Sliwoski kick)
HC -- Fitzsimmons 7 pass from Shankoff (McNulty kick)
HC -- Weisel 3 run (McNulty kick)
HC -- Goreczny 78 interception return (McNulty kick)
RUSHING: M--Muccino 18-53, Peterson 2-(-16), Pellicano 1-(-8) ; HC--Weisel 28-109 Furstenburg 2-5, Shankoff 2-(-13), Delello 3-5.
PASSING: M--Peterson 8-28-3-136; HC--Shankoff 10-24-1-136, Lachner 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING: M--Dokouslis 3-51, DiLorenzo 2-41, Gilburn 3-46; HC--Fitzsimmons 5-116, Furstenburg 4-44, Goreczny 1-9.
November 26, 2006
MANALAPAN 43 MARLBORO 6
Rivalry game goes to Braves once again
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 11/26/06
BY MATT CONKLIN
MARLBORO — Soon to be inscribed on the Doc Berman trophy: "2006 — Manalapan."
With a 43-6 win over Marlboro on Saturday, the Braves made their indelible mark on the bronze award, which is given to the winner of the annual Thanksgiving matchup between Marlboro and Manalapan and lists each year's winner, dating back to 1973.
"That's always going to be there," J.B. "Doc" Berman told the Manalapan players and a large crowd of Braves supporters as he pointed to the space on the trophy reserved for the inscription of the 2006 winner.
"It's like a family out here," said Braves' senior running back Pat Essner, who rushed for three touchdowns in his final game. "Keeping that trophy is huge. Coming out here and beating Marlboro, it's a perfect ending to senior year."
The win was some consolation for Manalapan after losing in overtime to Hunterdon Central 23-17 in the first round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV playoffs on Nov. 10.
"It's a little disappointing how we wound up in the playoffs," Manalapan coach Ed Gurrieri said. "But it's special to have an annual Thanksgiving game like this, and we ended it the right way."
Manalapan won the rivalry game for the 10th straight year.
James Gilburn was the main attraction in the Braves' big-play offense, which had five plays of 30 yards or more, including two for 70 yards or more. Gilburn eluded a pair of tacklers for a 37-yard touchdown run on the fifth play of the game, set up an Essner touchdown with a 36-yard play-action reception on the Braves' third possession and broke free down the right sideline for a 72-yard touchdown run later in the second quarter.
Essner, on the other hand, maintained the Braves' steady ground attack every time the Braves neared the end zone, pounding in touchdowns of 21, 1 and 4 yards.
After a 27-0 first half, Manalapan's second-half scoring opportunities were limited by a Marlboro drive that lasted 10:33 to open the third quarter. Nick Tyson passed 11 yards to EJ Tucker for the Mustangs' only score.
Gilburn finished with 118 rushing yards on three carries for Manalapan, all in the first half, and Essner carried 11 times for 43 yards. Quarterback Craig Peterson completed 11 of 29 passes for 191 yards.
November 26, 2006
Manalapan (6-4) - 43, Marlboro (0-10) - 6
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Patrick Essner had three short touchdown runs and James Gilburn carried five times for 139 yards and two more scores when Manalapan overpowered Marlboro, 43-6, yesterday in Marlboro.
Essner rushed nine times for 44 yards, including two 3-yard touchdown runs and a 4-yard scoring burst. Gilburn delivered touchdown runs of 37 and 73 yards, with Alex Martinez adding a 1-yard scoring run as Manalapan amassed 248 rushing yards and all six touchdowns on 24 attempts.
Marlboro broke through for a third-quarter touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Nick Tyson to E.J. Tucker.
Manalapan quarterback Craig Peterson completed 11 of 29 passes for 221 yards and two two-point conversion passes to Joe D'Amadeo.
GAME SCORING 1st Q 2nd Q 3rd Q 4th Q Final
6-4 7 20 0 16 43
0-10 0 0 6 0 6
Key Scoring Plays:
- MAN: Gilburn 37 run (Sarner kick)
- MAN: Essner 3 run (kick failed)
- MAN: Gilburn 73 run (D'Amadeo pass from Peterson)
- MAN: Essner 3 run (kick failed)
- MAR: Tucker 11 pass from Tyson (kick failed)
- MAN: Martinez 1 run (D'Amadeo pass from Peterson)
- MAN: Essner 4 run (Dokouslis pass from Razzino)
December 13, 2006
Dokouslis becomes a two-way gridiron star
BY TIM MORRIS
Even though he became a star catching the football this fall, Bill Dokouslis remains first and foremost a defensive player in his heart and mentality.
The Manalapan senior raised quite a few eyebrows when, out of nowhere, he became a play-making tight end for the Braves. It came as a surprise to him and a nightmare for defenses.
With the graduation of Adam Hegel, Manalapan head coach Ed Gurrieri and his staff were left with a big hole to fill. Who could play tight end? When they thought about the requirements for the position — size, speed and strength — it naturally led them to Dokouslis. Although he was already a proven pass-rushing defensive end with strength and quickness, Gurrieri knew that Dokouslis was also flat-out one of the fastest players on the team. It seemed like a perfect match. There was only one hitch: Dokouslis had no prior experience catching a football.
“When they told me about it I was excited,” Dokouslis recalled. “I told them I think I can do it. I wanted to help the team.”
One thing that both Dokouslis and the coaching staff knew for sure was that Dokouslis would attack the challenge. He would put the same effort into being a pass-catching tight end that he put into becoming a ferocious defensive end.
Starting at the end of May, Dokouslis was working with quarterback Craig Peterson constantly, learning the offense and running pass routes until he and the quarterback were on the same page, thinking as one.
“It was a matter of mechanics,” he pointed out. “Catching the ball and then putting it away.”
The one change from playing defense, he noted, was that he had to play with a little more finesse.
The results were startling, to say the least. By mid-season, he was Manalapan’s big-play receiver.
“Who would have thought I would become his [Peterson’s] favorite target?” said Dokouslis.
He would end the season with 28 catches for 620 yards (an amazing 22 yards per catch, including a season-best 85-yard touchdown run against Colts Neck) and seven touchdowns. Having not scored a touchdown on defense during his career, Dokouslis found it contagious.
“I think my tight end numbers overshadowed my defense,” he said. “I think I played better defensively this year than last.”
The coaches in the Shore Conference Constitution Division agreed. They voted him the division’s Defensive Player of the Year. All he did was register 14 quarterback sacks and 65 total tackles, while constantly being double-teamed. If one thing stood out on defense, it was Dokouslis’ relentlessness. Despite being double-teamed, he never gave up on a play; even when teams ran away from him, he used his speed to get into the mix.
Playing tight end would have its rewards as Dokouslis got to see things through the eyes of a lineman.
“I learned how offensive linemen are supposed to play,” he said.
He brought those lessons with him to the defensive side of the ball and dismantled offenses. He was able to take whatever an offensive lineman tried to use against him and counter him. If a lineman tried to out-muscle him, he could use his speed, and if they went for speed, he could run them over. It was all about his technique.
Coach Gurrieri didn’t hesitate to say that Dokouslis was the only player in the Shore Conference who was the best at two positions.
The only numbers that matter to Dokouslis, however, are wins and losses, and for the second straight year, he helped get the Braves into the state playoffs. Their 6-4 season finished on a high note, winning their final game, the Thanksgiving Day rivalry with Marlboro.
“After the North Hunterdon game (a 31-7 loss in the state playoffs), it hit me that the end was near,” he said. “In my last game I wanted to leave a lasting imprint. I didn’t want to leave anything behind.”
He and the Braves went out with a 43-6 win in Marlboro.
The genesis of Dokouslis as a player, who is now mulling numerous college offers, began in earnest after his sophomore year. Although he was good enough to see action as a freshman and start as a sophomore, he didn’t know where football was going to take him. After his sophomore year, he decided to find out.
“I always knew I’d try my hardest,” he said. “That year [sophomore into junior] I made it my business to do everything I could.”
It started in the offseason, where he increased his work load in the weight room and went on the track and did his sprint work. The result was an absolutely dominant season on defense.
“He has a great, great work ethic,” said Gurrieri. “He really made himself into a great football player.
“When I talked to the coaches of the other teams, they agreed that he was the best player on the field, not just on our team, every game,” he added.
Dokouslis didn’t confine his hard work to the practice field or the weight room. He was just as persistent watching game film. He looked at every little detail of a play, looking for things to do better.
“It’s very, very important to know the mistakes you make,” he said. “I look for what I did wrong. You can always improve on something.”
Dokouslis’ value to the team was far beyond numbers. It was the example he set and how he made the rest of the Braves better.
“He’s a tough, hard-nosed kid who has talent,” said Gurrieri. “When you have someone with size, strength and speed who can play at the next level, it brings up everybody who plays around him.”
Dokouslis was just following the lead of those who had set the standard for success at Manalapan before him. He had his own role models in his underclassman days.
“Joe Kircher, I admired him,” he said. “He never said much, but he backed it up on the field. Kyle St. Angelo was an unbelievable athlete.”
His own advice to the Braves underclassmen is simple, but not always easy to follow.
“Never be lazy, never give up,” he pointed out.
Now that the football season is over, Dokouslis is tackling new challenges. He’s going to wrestle for the first time, at heavyweight. Why? His “Mat Rat” friends believe he can help the team. He would like to have the same impact on the mat that he did making the move to tight end on the gridiron.
“It’s my senior year and I want to have fun with my friends,” he pointed out.
In the spring, look for him at track and field meets for the first time. Don’t expect to find him exclusively in the shot put and discus circle, where most linemen can be found. Go to the starting blocks and look for him in the dashes. He figures some 100-meter dashes will help him on the gridiron.
In between tossing people on the mat and throwing the shot put or running a 100-meter dash, Dokouslis will be making the decision of what college he will be continuing his football career out. Right now, all options are open.
December 20, 2006
Shore Conference Constitution Division Defensive Player of the Year
2006 All-Freehold Regional High School District Football Team
Star Ledger's 2006 All Group 4
2nd Team Offense
Star Ledger's 2006 All Monmouth
1st Team Offense
2nd Team Offense
3rd Team Offense
3rd Team Defense
2006 Asbury Park Press All State
2nd Team Offense
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