The Toms River North Marniers opened the South Jersey Group V tournament with a bang, rolling to a 35-7 victory over No 5 seed Kingsway! Toms River North was relentless on the defensive side of the ball, holding Kingsway to just 85 yards overall. Da’Shon Copes and Pete LaQuaglia both finished the game with 2 sacks.
Kingsway Running Back Anthony Seas could not find any running room. Seas who is one of the best backs in South Jersey, came into the game with 895 yards. Tonight he managed only 35. All the credit goes to this Marniers defensive unit that just kept him bottled up all night.
“Our defense has come a long way this season. They really did a tremendous job for us. They don’t always get the credit because offensively we have scored so many points. We could not have won the game without them. They forced a lot of three and outs, and picked us up when the offense stalled in the second quarter. This was a great performance for them, said Head Coach Dave Oiserwitz.
Mike Husni was spectacular once again on the offensive side. Husni was extremely efficient passing the ball, finishing 13/17 for 210 yards and a touchdown. Husni also rushed for three scores, with one of them being a 52 yard run straight through the middle of the defense. Husni’s leadership is always one of the first things to notice when you watch this Mariners football team. He knows how to get everybody together in the huddle and motivate them. Tonight it was all business, and that’s what the playoffs are about!
The Mariners wasted no time jumping out to a 14-0 lead. Mike Husni and company took the ball straight down the field. Husni scored on a 14 yard touchdown to cap a 6 play, 46 yard drive to put the Mariners on the board. On the next series, Husni hit Darian Carrington with a 43 yard bomb bringing the Mariners into Kingsway territory. Sophomore Daryn Blackwell finished the drive by adding a 4 yard touchdown run.
Toms River North would go into the locker room with a 14-0 lead. Kingsway was able to fight back a little bit after getting some penetration through the defensive line. TRN drove the ball all the way down to the 3 with seconds left in the second quarter after Husni found Kenny Cook for a 28 yard gain, but time would expire as the Kingsway defense would stop the next two plays.
Kingsway started the second half with a little bit of momentum. It was the special teams that would give the Dragons their only highlight of the night. Wide Receiver Shaune Oates took a punt inside the 15 and made a tremendous cutback all the way to the left side of the field. Oates showed off his speed by taking off down the sideline to give Kingsway their only touchdown of the game. The TRN lead was cut to 14-7 and for just a moment, it looked like we could have a football game.
However, it was a little bit of adversity that woke up the TRN offense. Following that punt return, Toms River North started lighting up the field again. This time, the Mariners would stun the Kingsway defense by handing the ball to Bryce Watts. Watts got through the middle and took off down the sideline all the way down inside the 4 yard line. This would set up another Husni score from 2 yards out to give the Mariners a 21-7 lead.
The fourth quarter was the Mike Husni show as the Junior fired a 60 yard pass to Wide Receiver Kenny Cook. Cook made an unbelievable catch over the middle and raced toward the end zone for the score. Throughout the season, we have spent a lot of time talking about the talent of Bryce Watts and Darian Carrington, but Kenny Cook is also showing why he can be a big part of this offense.
Husni took all the energy away from Kingsway by bursting into the open field for his third rushing touchdown of the night for 52 yards. The Quarterback literally went ran the entire play untouched. This was all the Mariners needed to walk away with a first round playoff victory. This is a team that is on a mission, but they know it will be a tough road ahead.
“We started the fourth quarter, drove the ball down the field, and got back to our physical mentality. We really came together there. Everyone really stepped up big time to put this one away”, added Dave Oiserwitz.
Toms River North will travel to play No 1 seed Lenape in the second round of the playoffs. Remember, it was the Marniers who upset Lenape as an 8th seed last year. Expect the Indians to come out ready to play. Toms River North will have to find a way to limit a very successful Lenape running game. If the Mariners can continue to execute on both sides of the ball, the sky is the limit for them. Tonight they are one step closer to achieving their ultimate goal.
“What happened in the regular season was great, but now we’re starting over. We’re 1-0 and have to keep winning to advance. We love playing together as a team. We’ve done it our whole lives. Now we just have to go back to work and get ready for the next one, added Quarterback Mike Husni.
NJSR had a chance to catch up with Quarterback Mike Husni and Head Coach Dave Oiserwitz.
Passing: TRN – Husni 13-17-0-210, KW – Orio 3-9-1-31
Rushing: TRN – Husni 17-84, Moorer 16-107, Blackwell 5-13, Watts 1-33. KW – Seas 10-35, Orio 5–1, Scerbo 4-9, Samuels 3-12.
Receiving: Carrington 6-37, Watts 3-27, Cook 2-89, Moorer 2-18. KW – Scerbo 2-13, Samuels 1-18.
TRN – Mike Husni – 14 yard run. ( Bayha Kick)
TRN – Daryn Blackwell – 4 yard run. ( Bayha Kick)
KW – Shaune Oates – 85 yard punt return.
TRN – Mike Husni – 2 yard run. ( Bayha Kick)
TRN – Kenny Cook – 60 yard pass from Husni. ( Bayha Kick)
TRN – Mike Husni – 52 yard run. ( Bayha Kick)
Stay tuned to NJSR for all your playoff coverage throughout the weekend!