CARTERET – A big difference an offseason makes, last season teams gained yardage in the middle of the Jersey Justice defense but in the opening game of the 2010 season, the Manchester Freedom found no such holes. The Justice allowed a mere 23 rushing yards as Samantha Martin, Danielle Barker, Michelle Baiera and Kish Sconiers hit everything moving in the Justice’s 32-0 shutout Saturday in Carteret.
“I thought (defensively) we were better today than we were anytime last year,” Justice Coach Gene Basile said. “Our two inside linebackers came forward today, which we had a hard time getting them to do up until week 10 last year.”
As the defense limited Manchester’s (0-1) offense, the Justice’s offense displayed the big-play ability that led them to the cusp of last season’s championship game. Leslie Busch opened the scoring on the first of three touchdown receptions, by racing 53 yards with a pass midway through the first quarter. Busch caught the pass in the middle of the field, broke a tackle at the 40-yard line, and sprinted down the sideline for the score.
Even with the big final score Coach Basile still found something to complain about with his offense.
“With all the veterans we had back, I didn’t think we’d make all the mistakes we made on offense,” Basile said. “We only have one kid different from what we ended the season in Montreal with, only one receiver was different.”
Joining the veteran offense was Alysha Taylor. On Taylor’s four touches the rookie gained 67 yards and scored a toouchdown as the Justice worked out their offensive kinks. Basile knows he has options on offense, so he lets the defense predict how he will attack.
“It depends on what they (the defense) come out in, and once they came out in the five man front like that, I’m going to get to the perimeter,” Basile said. “We had some people wide-open running down the tube on post routes and we didn’t hit them or see them, but we are pretty fast and we get out in space with the precision routes we run, we are tough to defend.”
Triggering the Justice’s (1-0) offense is Maegan Larsen. Larsen led the Justice ground game with 72 yards and passed for 133 yards and three touchdowns, but missed three more opportunities for long touchdown passes.
“We just didn’t hit them, when we get on our game, and give Meg (Larsen) more time, its hard to cover all four of them because they can all play and catch,” Basile said.
Basile welcomed some reps for some of his new players in the fourth quarter, looking at the positive side of things Basile noted.
“It’s been so bad weather wise, I just haven’t had the time to work with those kids. I mean last year, even though we didn’t have an indoor facility, the weather was good to us, so I had a chance to practice. These poor kids, half of them don’t know anything, so I’m taking them along slow and getting them out there helped, game speed helps. We don’t get to do too much scrimmaging in practice.”
Next week the Justice travel to Maine to face the Southern Maine Rebels. The Justice swept the Rebels last season by the combined score of 68-22. The Justice return home to face the Binghamton Tiger-Cats April 24 at 7pm.
|J – Busch 53 yard pass from Larsen (Fitzpatrick run) 7:35|
|J – Taylor 21 yard run (Busch pass from Larsen) 1:20|
|J – Busch 21 yard pass from Larsen (Fitzpatrick run) 6:30|
|J – Busch 14 yard pass from Larsen (Fitzpatrick run) 6:06|
|Return yards Freedom 6-45 Justice 1-0|
|Penalty yards: Freedom 3-10, Justice 10-82|
|Turnovers Freedom 2 Justice 1|