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Asbury Park Press 23rd All Shore Football Classic

July 21, 2000

Rodriguez Sparks Monmouth To A 23-0 Victory Over Ocean


TOMS RIVER NJ - Quarterback David Rodriguez threw two touchdown passes to lead the Monmouth County All-Stars to a decisive 23 to 0 victory over their Ocean County counterparts last night before a packed house at Toms River North High School.  It was the third win in three years for the Monmouth Team, a feat unprecedented before last night’s game.

     After a Chris Ryerson field goal opened the scoring for Monmouth in the first quarter, Ocean looked like it was ready to put some points on the board as Ocean Offensive MVP Vemba Bukula tore off some super runs.  Bukula, (7 carries for 64 yards) showed great vision and balance as the Hofstra-bound Pinelands grad seemed to shift the momentum in Ocean’s favor after Ryerson’s field goal.  The Monmouth defense stiffened, however, and the Ocean offense never seriously threatened again after their initial push. "Bukula had some nice runs, but once we settled in we did our job. Tonight we played together and were fortunate to post the shutout," said Monmouth cornerback and New Hampshire-bound Brandon Taylor.

     Monmouth had been practicing hard on their 2:00 minute drill all week long and last night it paid off at the end of the first half.  With a minute and a half remaining, Monmouth, sparked by Glenn Nicholl's arm and Bob Generelli's play selection, drove more than half the length of the field down to the one yard line. Hard-running John Ellison ran it in behind fine line blocking and increased Monmouth’s lead to 9-0. The PAT was successful and Monmouth entered halftime with the 10-0 edge.  Said Ellison, "We did it all season at Mater Dei with Coach Cicardo. On that touchdown, ‘Whitey’ (David White) did all the work and we just punched it in. It felt good."


The second half belonged to Monmouth Offensive MVP Dave Rodriguez and the Monmouth defense, led by the hard hitting linebacker corps and Defensive MVP Josh Russell (DL) of Neptune. Rodriguez fired two touchdown passes to break the game open. The first was a stunning 24-yarder to Ty Walker in which Rodriguez had to break away from a near-tackle and lob a perfect pass to a wide open Walker five yards in front of the end zone. 

Said Walker, "We ran a fake, and when I first went out to run my pattern the safety and the corner were both out there covering the open field. Then all of a sudden they just ran inside; I turned around, and saw that somebody had Dave (Rodriguez). He did a good job of getting the ball in the air so I could have a chance to catch it." The play opened up a 17-0 lead in the third quarter, and Monmouth was rolling.  

     Later in the fourth quarter, Rodriguez fired a beautiful pass to former Long Branch teammate Damian Womack in the back of the end zone to close out the scoring at 23-0. The 30-yard touchdown toss was thrown perfectly to a well-covered Womack, who had to beat several Ocean defenders to catch the ball.

At right: 

Josh Russell is congratulated by Joe Zedalis of the Asbury Park Press after being awarded Monmouth County's Defensive MVP.


All game-long Russell led the Monmouth defense with his outstanding line play, and the two-time 1st team All-Shore lineman enjoyed every minute of it. "It was heaven out there…it was football.  This is a great game and you gotta love it.  It’s rewarding to win big like this, because we worked so hard this week.  That’s the key to the game; whoever works the hardest wins…that’s football."  And how does it feel to be on the team that won the record third game in a row?  "It’s an honor to be on the first team to win three in a row," said Russell. "I’m happy, it feels great. We’re in the history books now."
Mike McCabe was named the Defensive MVP for the Ocean squad.


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Copyright 1999 - Current, Toland Technologies.  All Rights Reserved.

Copyright 1999 - Current, Toland Technologies.  All Rights Reserved.