Lions, Jags set for grid action tonight


Jackson’s two high school football teams opened their seasons on Sept. 11 with close scores but opposite outcomes.

The Jackson Memorial High School Jaguars rallied around Fred Scheer’s two touchdown passes to John Simkins to defeat Manalapan, 15-8, in Manalapan.

The Jackson Liberty High School Lions sustained a 21-14 loss to John F. Kennedy High School of Iselin, which went ahead in the closing minutes after Justin Billups’ 10- yard touchdown run had given Jackson Liberty a 14-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. The game was played in Woodbridge.

Both teams will be at home tonight, Sept. 16, for the second game of the 2010 campaign.

Jackson Memorial will take on Brick Memorial High School of Brick Township at 7:30 p.m. in a Shore Conference A South Division clash.

Jackson Liberty will host Wall High School of Wall Township in a 7 p.m. Shore Conference C Central Division contest.

Against Manalapan, Brandon Winston rushed for 116 yards on 18 carries and defensively he had a big pass deflection in the closing seconds that ended a threat by Manalapan after the Braves had marched 15 plays to the Jaguars’ 10.

“We did a great job bouncing back after they drove 80 yards,” said Jackson Memorial coach Mike Smith. “No one really stood out, but we had a good team effort on defense.”

Simkins broke tackles on a 25-yard pass play that sealed the Jaguars’ victory over Manalapan in the fourth quarter. Winston carried the ball on eight of the 11 plays and rushed for 57 yards on the decisive drive.

Earlier, Simkins caught a screen pass and turned it into a 62-yard touchdown for a 7-0 halftime lead before Manalapan’s John Ciskowski ran five yards for a touchdown and the Braves took an 8-7 lead on the conversion run.

Smith praised Scheer’s efforts at quarterback, saying he “managed the game and did exactly what we expected. He is the first one to do things for the team.”

Commenting on tonight’s opponent, Brick Memorial, Smith said, “They are well coached with the triple option that takes what you give them. It’s just being a very well disciplined team [on defense] and knowing your assignments, because once you freelance, you’re in trouble.”

Smith said all 11 Jackson Memorial players on defense will need to make the plays against a Brick Memorial offense that runs the ball patiently and is poised for the opportunity to break a big play.

Jackson Liberty faced a triple option team in its opener, and coach Tim Osborn said his team did not play well, pointing to JFK-Iselin’s 60-to-30 edge in plays from scrimmage.

“Defensively, we allowed them to hold the ball,” Osborn said after the Mustangs had rushed for 278 yards, although the coach praised the efforts of linebacker Greg O’Connor and safety Ahmad Shalabi.

O’Connor scored Jackson Liberty’s first touchdown on an 18-yard run in the second quarter.

Speaking about Wall, Osborn said, “Wall is a preseason favorite to win our division [Shore Conference C Central] with a lot of veterans back from an 8-2 season.”

Despite his frustration from the JFKIselin loss, Osborn said Billups and Kristian Ruiz ran well and quarterback Dylan Wright showed a lot of improvement.