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Written by: Billy Splain on Friday, November 27th, 2020
The Skinny (strengths, weaknesses, the stars):
For Thomas Jefferson:
The Jaguars come into the game with a balanced attack on offense they average 189 yards rushing and 181 yards passing per game. Senior Quarterback Jake Pugh has thrown for 1,706 yards and 24 tds, averaging 17 yards per throw. The rushing attack is led by Conner Murga who has ran for 700 yards this season averaging 8.2 yards per carry and has scored 14 times. Also look out for DeRon VanBibber who has ran for 617 yards this season and has 3 scores.
Through the air, the Jaguars are led by Youngstown State commit Preston Zandier who is also the younger brother of former standout player Zane Zandier. This year he has 40 catches for 630 yards averaging 15.8 yards per catch and has 12 scores. Another main guy is Ian Hansen who has 36 catches for 696 yards averaging 19.3 yards per catches and has scored 8 times.
On Defense the Jaguars have several key playmakers some of which have already been mentioned. Preston Zandier has 26 tackles this season 18 of those being solo and also has 2 INT’s. Ian Hansen and Conner Murga both have 23 tackles this season. The Jaguars are led by Isaac Eckley who has 63 tackles this season 38 of those being solo. Also look out for McClain Flinn who had the game clinching interception in the WPIAL 4A Championship game against Aliquippa.
For Jersey Shore:
The Bulldogs come into this game with a fairly balanced attack averaging 177 yards rushing and 159 through the air. Senior quarterback Branden Wheary has thrown for 1,843 yards and 23 tds, averaging 14 yards a throw. Cam Allison is the go to guy to carry the ball on a steady basis. His 1,54 yards and 9 scores have been key for the Bulldogs. Look for Owen Anderson and Brody Jordan to also carry the rock. They’ve combined for 16 scores, 8 each.
Through the air, it’s Cayden Hess and Anderson that have been the main targets, collecting 96 passes and 1,500 of Wheary’s throwing yards and 18 tds. Dungan Dungan is also a player to watch here as is Kooper Peacock who has been missing with an injury but returned last week.
Defensively, the Packers, Hayden and Gabe are a force at their linebacker slots. The defensive line for Jersey Shore is outweighed by quite a bit but they’re fast and can cause disruptions when needed. Dungan plays a lot bigger than his frame from the LB spot and had a key pick 6 against Lampeter-Strasburg last week. Overall the Bulldogs defenders have combined for a total of 33 sacks. Hess is a dangerous DB with 6 interceptions this year.
Thomas Jefferson Offensive Plan:
For the Jaguars to win they have to do what they’ve done for the majority of the season keeping it balanced and get their run game going and rely on their big playmakers. In addition to that they have to avoid turning the ball over which they have struggled with occasionally this season.
Thomas Jefferson Defensive Plan:
This defense can’t underestimate the Bulldogs offense. Taking them lightly would be a mistake. This is a quick strike offense they’re facing so keeping everything in front of them is key. They will definitely benefit if their line gets in and annoys Wheary early and throws off his timing. They’ll need to contain the edges and keep everything in the middle.
Jersey Shore Offensive Plan:
The Bulldogs have to do what they do best, keep it balanced. Their short throws to the outside are a key component to keeping the defense honest but open up the long ball and run game. Ideally they’ll control the clock and keep the ball away from the high powered TJ offense.
Jersey Shore Defensive Plan:
Assignment ball will be key as TJ has playmakers all over the field. Containing the big play is key here. They can’t let RB Connor Murga get in open space, he’s run for 12 tds in just 8 games. The backfield will have their hands full with Preston Zandier running routes. Ian Hansen is another dangerous weapon they’ll have to keep in front of them.
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