JERSEY SHORE — Early in the third quarter, Selinsgrove’s Nick Sheaffer picked off a Tanner Lorson pass — the Seals’ third interception of the game — to set up the game-tying touchdown in Friday night’s District 4 Class 4A championship game.
Selinsgrove had the momentum, and seemingly solved Jersey Shore’s senior quarterback.
“I knew I wanted to make up for my mistake and not do anything stupid,” Lorson said. “I knew we could drive the ball down on them and get a score.
“That’s exactly what we did.”
That score — helped by a first down on a fake punt — was the first in 19 unanswered points that lifted Jersey Shore to a 33-14 victory over Selinsgrove to win the school’s first back-to-back District 4 championships.
“We had the stop and the fake punt. We lost contain on the fake punt, and we never got the momentum back,” Selinsgrove coach Derek Hicks said.
Jersey Shore (9-3) will face Bishop Shanahan — a 35-0 winner over Upper Moreland in the District 1 final — next week in the first round of the state playoffs. Selinsgrove finishes its season at 7-5.
The Seals struggled on offense in the first half, but only trailed by a score at halftime thanks to a 33-yard Brett Foor punt return for a touchdown that saw the senior spin out of a tackle at the 5 and dive across the goal line.
Selinsgrove’s defense intercepted Lorson’s passes twice in the first half, settling in after allowing two early scoring drives, but the Seals managed just two first downs in the first half.
“When we were fresh in the first half, we were playing well,” Hicks said. “The second half we couldn’t get off the field.”
The teams exchanged punts to open the third quarter, before Dean Hollenbach ripped off a 53-yard run to the Jersey Shore 14 and 5-yard penalty set up the Seals on the 7, but Selinsgrove fumbled the ball away on the very next play.
Jersey Shore faced a third-and-3 from the Seals 19 when Sheaffer leaped as Lorson tried to throw a short slant for first down. He picked off the pass and returned it to the Jersey Shore 8.
Two plays later, Hollenbach beat the Jersey Shore defense to the corner of the end zone for a touchdown — the first offensive touchdown the Seals scored against the Bulldogs — to tie the game with 7:08 left in the third quarter at 14-14.
Jersey Shore answered with a 73-yard, 13-play drive, helped by Lorson’s 9-yard run on a fake punt to convert a fourth-and-7. Lorson hit Stanton Westlin for the TD with 3:29 left in the third and Cam Allison’s extra point gave the Bulldogs a 21-14 lead.
A quick Selinsgrove three-and-out, followed by a short punt gave Jersey Shore the ball back on its own 45. Lorson connected with Westlin (seven catches, 160 yards) on a 51-yard gain when the Selinsgrove defensive back fell down. It set up Lorson’s 4-yard TD pass to Anthony Shaffer with 1:23 left in the third quarter.
“I’ve said it all year. I’ve watched their films. It’s a one-man show. You take him off the offense and it’s not that hard to stop,” Hicks said “He had to be a one-man show on offense.”
Only 91 percent of the Bulldogs offense as Lorson (267 yards passing, 118 yards rushing) accounted for 385 of Jersey Shore’s 423 offensive yards.
DISTRICT 4 CLASS 4A
at Thompson Street Stadium, Jersey Shore
NO. 1 JERSEY SHORE 33,
NO. 2 SELINSGROVE 14
Selinsgrove (7-5)`7`0`7`0 — 14
Jersey Shore (9-3)`14`0`13`6 — 33
JS-Tanner Lorson 1 run (Cam Allison kick)
Sel-Brett Foor 33 punt return (Kyle Ruhl kick)
JS-Lorson 4 run (Allison kick)
Sel-Dean Hollenbach 3 run (Ruhl kick)
JS-Stanton Westlin 17 pass from Lorson (Allison kick)
JS-Anthony Shaffer 4 pass from Lorson (kick failed)
JS-Owen Anderson 40 interception return (kick failed)
RUSHING — Selinsgrove: Dean Hollenbach 10-76, TD; Nate Schon 9-10; Danny Shoch 5-8; Ryan Aument 3-(-1); team 2-(-2). Jersey Shore: Tanner Lorson 22-118, 2 TDs; Josh Malicky 13-36; Dawson Sechrist 3-2.
PASSING — Selinsgrove: Shoch 7-22-2 for 49 yards Josh Nylund 0-1-0; Jersey Shore: Lorson 18-33-3 for 267, 3 TDs.
RECEIVING — Selinsgrove: Hollenbach 1-18; Christian Kantz 2-14; Brett Foor 2-10; Nylund 1-6; Wyatt Metzger 1-1. Jersey Shore: Stanton Westlin 7-160, TD; Cayden Hess 4-62; Owen Anderson 5-31; Anthony Shaffer 2-14, TD.