Photo Credit: Mike Franco

Jackson Memorial Defeats Manalapan to Advance to Semifinals

Jackson Memorial Jaguars faced Manalapan in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs with the Jaguars winning 10-7. Both teams were hyped up before the game getting ready. The defenses played strong on both sides as they did not give up easy plays, made key sacks, limited the yards and stayed on their man most of the game. A couple of momentum swings also happened that changed everything.

Both teams got the running game going early by moving the chains as soon as possible. Tai Mann and Aidan Sweeney got the carries for the Jaguars, while Thomas Clark and Jason Rodriguez got the carries for Manalapan on the other side trying to match up with Jackson. The Jackson Memorial Jaguars' defense got two sacks that lost 12 yards for Manalapan which was one of the turning points in this game. Manalapan struggled on fourth down as they got turned over on downs.

Ethan Kalinaus changed the momentum of the game as he opened up the scoring for Jackson Memorial with a 77-yard interception return for a touchdown. The junior linebacker was all over that ball when the quarterback Matt Grzejka threw as he tipped it and was able to catch the ball and rest was history. The whole defense was on another level tonight against Manalapan as they gave up nothing in the first half. Jackson Memorial Jaguars got a field goal before halftime making it 10-0.

In the second half it was all Manalapan as they changed the game plan up as Jackson only ran the ball seven times. Manalapan's defense was fantastic in the third and fourth quarter, giving up no points which gave them an opportunity to win. The Jackson Memorial Jaguars couldn't really get anything going offensively in the second half, but the defense was still lights out only giving up a touchdown. Speaking of that, Manalapan finally scored in the fourth quarter with a perfect throw from Grzejka to Alex Dille, cutting the lead to three with 9:15 left in the game.

The Jackson Memorial Jaguars were able to get a big stop on defense late in the fourth quarter as Manalapan had some momentum back after the touchdown. Both teams picked up unsportsman like conduct penalties, which effected both teams late in the game. The Jaguars ran the ball towards the end that forced Manalapan to call some timeouts in order to get the ball back. Manalapan ended up getting the ball back but couldn't capitalize as Jackson Memorial advances to next round with a 10-7 win.

Jackson Memorial will travel to Millville as the Jaguars take on the Thunderbolts in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals