It has been a memorable Fall Sports season for Asbury Park (8-4). First, the Blue Bishops won their first state sectional soccer title in over 30 years. Tonight, the football program added another special memory as they defeated Keyport (10-2) for their first championship since 2011. Although the Bishops won by a final score of 26-17, the game was highly competitive and stayed within a single possession for much of the contest.
When Asbury Park and Keyport met earlier in the year; both teams hoped for the chance to appear in a state championship game. On Saturday, that dream became a reality as the Central Jersey Group I title would be on the line. The first half of the game was a battle right from the beginning. Both teams were already familiar with each other after playing in the Shore Conference Class B Central division.
Asbury Park jumped on the board first via a Namir Argilagos 45 yard touchdown run. That made the score 6-0 in the second quarter of play. This young man was quite impressive on multiple occasions as he used his quickness and agility to find the end zone. A talented running back, Argilagos is committed to the University Of Notre Dame. In this contest, he provided his team with the playmaking ability that will benefit him at the next level.
Keyport would continue to put pressure on the Blue Bishops as they drove down the field and took a 10-6 lead in the third quarter. It was quarterback Chris Hogrefe who punched in the touchdown from the 1 yard line. Keyport would eventually take their biggest lead of the game after Cody Young carried the ball 75 yards for a score. Credit Young for his concentration after recovering his own fumble. He was still able to find his way down the sideline for another Raiders touchdown increasing the lead to 17-6.
At this point, it was do or die for Asbury Park. It was going to take a tremendous offensive awakening to work out of this hole and regain the momentum. Coach Tim Fosque’s crew would answer the call and pull together as a team, ripping off 20 unanswered points. They say the heart of a champion is truly tested when backs are against the wall. This was certainly a situation just like that!
The Blue Bishops rally started when quarterback Ja’King Agostini connected with Josmere Taylor for a 21 yard catch and score. Namir Argilagos followed with a successful 2 point conversion and just like that, Asbury Park trimmed the Keyport lead down to 17-14 with just under 10 minutes left in the game.
Five minutes later, Argilagos would strike again, giving the Blue Bishops the lead with a 12 yard touchdown run. That run put Asbury up by 3 with the score at 20-17. The senior simply never quit in this game. Once he got the lead for his team, he continued to apply the pressure and keep the opposition on their heels.
With 1:23 left on the clock, Argilagos broke free for a 35 yard run which gave his team the 26-17 lead for good. The Asbury fanbase started to go wild. For a team that at one point would have just been happy to have been competitive, expectations were certainly exceeded. Tim Fosque has really taken this program a long way in just his two years on the job.
When Asbury Park was facing the second half deficit, Argilagos continued to listen to his coaches message. This was a message that he was able to convey to his teammates as they were fighting to make history.
“We have to keep playing until the clock hits zero. I knew that I had to get the first down to keep our offense on the field in the fourth quarter. But, I saw the hole and was able to take the ball in for the score. At that point, you want to take the points while you can,” Argilagos explained.
For Argilagos, this week has been one of the most exciting times in his life and you could clearly see that in his face! After all, who wouldn’t be thrilled about walking off the field as a state champion? This is a memory that will last a lifetime.
“This has been an amazing week for me. Wednesday I got my drivers license, Thursday I got accepted to the University Of Notre Dame, and now I can officially say that I am a state champion!! I just couldn’t be more excited,” Argilagos mentioned.
When taking the job last year, Tim Fosque knew that the football program would be a work in progress. He was ready to come in and provide encouragement to a group of kids that may not have had it before. It was a matter of establishing a positive environment, creating discipline, and promoting values. The kids learned to respect the game and one another on a regular basis. Now tonight was the opportunity for the coach to see all the hard work finally pay off in a big way.
“There are a lot of positive things that are happening in the city of Asbury Park,” head coach Tim Fosque said after the game. “The kids have a light in their eyes and a hope that wasn’t there before. Great things happen when you are willing to get up and work hard each and every day. Everyone bought into the process from day one and were able to implement what they had learned. These kids have continued to stick together and they bought into the concept of team play. That’s why we are champions today”.
For the kids of Asbury Park, positivity has been the driving factor for the recent success in their athletic programs. This is a community that has seen a lot of change over the past couple of years. The state championship will definitely help build a strong reputation in the years ahead.
AP – Namir Argilagos – 45 yard run. (play failed)
KP – Christian Smith – 23 yard field goal.
KP – Chris Hogrefe – 2 yard run. (Christian Smith kick)
KP – Cody Young – 75 yard run. (Christian Smith kick)
AP – Josmere Taylor – 31 yard pass from Ja’King Agostini. (Argilagos run)
AP – Namir Argilagos – 11 yard run. (play failed)
AP – Namir Argilagos – 35 yard run. (play failed)
Passing: AP – Agostini 4-11-2-90, KP – Hogrefe 2-5-1-53.
Rushing: AP – Argilagos 13-145, Reed 7-37, Simmons 5-31, Agostini 4-3, Abrams 2-13, Higgs 1-10. KP – Wollner 38-148, Robinson 3-11, Young 2-81, Hogrefe 1-2.
Receiving: AP – Taylor 2-70, Higgs 1-29. KP – Young 1-38, Frick 1-15.
Interceptions: KP (2) Rayquan Brown, Cody Young. AP – Donte Abrams.
Records: Asbury Park (8-4), Keyport (10-2).
Stay tuned to NJSR for all of your previews, updates, and recaps. You can follow @njsportsreport on twitter for all of the action. Be sure to like us on Facebook and check out our YouTube page!