For the Keyport Red Raiders, this game was nothing less than personal. For a program that has been waiting for an opportunity to compete for a title, it was time to come out and make a statement!
The Red Raiders certainly did that and more in a 21-18 victory over Asbury Park in the first round of the Central Jersey Group I playoffs. Running Back Desmond Underwood finished with 152 yards on 19 carries to lead the Keyport offense. Keyport will now go on the road to face No 3 Seed Palmyra in the second round next week.
Asbury Park got out to a quick lead after a 30 yard touchdown from Running Back Donte Abrams. The Blue Bishops have a habit of using their athleticism to jump out on teams. Keyport responded as Cody Young hauled in a 26 yard touchdown to put the Red Raiders in front 7-6. The Red Raiders got away from pounding the ball with Ky’Sun Pryor with a little balance in the passing game.
The Blue Bishops went into the locker room with a 12-7 lead after Davon Thompson pounded the ball across the line for a 3 yard score. This was familiar territory for both teams as they continued to go back and forth. Only this time, there was so much more on the line.
Thompson would continue to build on the Blue Bishops momentum. As a dual threat, he was able to use his legs to put Asbury Park in scoring position. He would give his team an 18-7 lead after ripping off a 30 yard run. Things began to look really difficult for Keyport. When you are down by 11 points in hostile territory, it can be very difficult to overcome.
However, don’t ever underestimate the heart of this Keyport team! They have shown the ability to fight all season long. It is their resilience and mental toughness that allowed them to make the postseason in the first place. Trailing 18-7, Keyport was able to come up with two key defensive stops to get the ball back. With a re-energized defense, you could feel the momentum begin to shift.
It was from there that the energy would translate to the Keyport offense. Desmond Underwood once again was able to pick up big yards when the Raiders needed it. Both Underwood and Ky’Sun Pryor have been so big for the team all season. Underwood would pull the Raiders within 5 with a short touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. You knew everyone on the Keyport sideline started to believe at this point.
Keyport would take the lead for good by taking advantage of another scoring opportunity. This time it was Jay Hansen who found the end zone. Hansen powered his way across the goal line with 9:02 left in the game. This gave the Red Raiders a 21-18 advantage.
Keyport managed to hold Davon Thompson and Jadeon Stephens throughout the fourth quarter. The highlight was forcing Asbury Park to turn the ball over on downs with 2:52 left in the game. This was all the team needed to seal the victory on the road.
For Keyport, this was their first playoff win since 2009. The Red Raiders now have a very winnable game on the road against Palmyra. Defensively, the athletic secondary of the Raiders match up very well in this one. Wouldn’t it be something if both Shore and Keyport make it to the Central Jersey Group I Final? Keyport fans will certainly be thinking about that, but for now they will celebrate a huge one tonight. You can feel then excitement in the air!
AP – Dontae Abrams – 30 yard run.
KP – Cody Young – 36 yard pass from Chris Hogrefe
AP – Davon Thompson – 3 yard run.
AP – Davon Thompson – 30 yard run.
KP – Desmond Underwood – 5 yard run.
KP – Jay Hansen – 1 yard run.
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