South Shore expected nothing less in its first game at the highest level of Public School Athletic League football, but the lopsided victory still left the team wanting more.
The Vikings, which won the last two Bowl Conference titles, easily got by host Beach Channel 36–0 in a City Conference game last Saturday afternoon. But coach Matt Ciquera believes his team still needs to clean up its game if it hopes to continue this success moving forward.
“I felt like we had superior athletes today and that helped us a lot,” he said. “But I wouldn’t say this was the best game we were capable of playing.”
South Shore was still impressive. It was led by the spectacular play of sophomore quarterback Jason Martin, who was 12-for-20 passing for 238 yards and four touchdowns. Senior running back Timothy Bowers rushed for 97 yards on three carries and recorded two catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns. He had 200 all-purpose yards for the day.
“We work just as hard as all the top-level schools,” Ciquera said. “As long as we keep our work ethic through the roof, we can be successful.”
To Ciquera, that means not having periods of sloppiness throughout the game like they did against Beach Channel. Bowers had a touchdown reception with 9:58 left in the second quarter called back on a holding call. Junior Omar Jarrett had a 65-yard punt return negated on a penalty.
“I don’t feel we played particularly well today,” he said. “We made a lot of mistakes in all three phases of the game.
Bowers echoed the same sentiment as his coach — that he and his teammates need to give their all from start to finish.
“You have to practice like you play,” the running back said. “We were struggling and being a little lazy on the practice field, and it showed on the field.”
But when things were going well for the Vikings, there was nothing Beach Channel could do. South Shore was only stopped from reaching the end zone on two drives. The Vikings defense did not allow Beach Channel a play for positive yards until the 4:12 mark of the second quarter. South Shore blocked a punt at the Beach Channel five-yard line that lead to the first score of the game.
Jarrett had 132 return yards and a rushing touchdown to get the Vikings on the board. Junior Michael Watson posted a 25-yard touchdown catch late in the first quarter. June Junvesen chipped in five catches for 111 yards, along with a 50-yard touchdown grab.
The upside is huge for a team like South Shore. It will go back this week and work on limiting the mistakes to try to play even closer to its potential when it visits New Utrecht next week. Martin believes the problem is a simple one.
“We have to communicate better,” Martin said. “And those mistakes could be eliminated.”