Toms River North Too Much for Eagles in South Jersey Group 5 Regional Final
MARLTON, NJ – The 2022 Edison Eagles battled each and every week, and the result was a magical run to its first sectional championship since 1991. Edison even gave South Jersey Group 5 champion, Toms River North a more competitive game than its 52-7 loss to Mariners in the sectional semifinals a year ago, but in the end TRN was too much. The Mariners jumped out to a 35-0 lead, and never looked back in a 42-14 win.
Toms River North advances to the Group 5 State Championship Game in two weeks at Rutgers versus Passaic Tech, a 21-7 winner over another 6th seeded Cinderella in West Orange in the North Jersey Group 5 Regional Final. Mariners’ Junior QB, Micah Ford, rushed 28 times for 285 yards and 5 TDs while completing 2 of 3 pass attempts for another 24 yards and an additional score.
Junior RB Josh Moore also contributed with 13 carries for 84 yards while wideout Tareq Council caught TRN’s only TD pass. Edison’s Senior QB, Toms River North’s defense intercepted two passes, and limited Edison QB Matt Yascko to 164 yards passing. Yascko also rushed 6 times for 30 yards and accounted for both Eagle scores.
Sophomore RB Nykeir Eato rushed 10 times for 42 yards, and caught a pass for another 23 yards. Malcolm Stansbury led all receivers with 5 catches for 72 yards while teammate Michael Strachan hauled in a 32 yard TD pass from Yascko to get Edison on the board in the third quarter. Toms River North outgunned Edison by a margin of 423 to 237 including a 399 to 73 advantage on the ground.
The Mariners averaged 9.1 yards per carry while limiting the Eagles to a more modest 4.3 yards per rush. Toms River North scored 14 points in the first and second periods to take a 28-0 halftime lead, and then opened the second half with another score for its 35 point lead. Things became chippy in the early fourth quarter as a melee ensued after Nykeir Eato was tackled just short of the end zone.
Toms River North could be negatively impacted by the fracas as players could face suspension for the state final against Passaic Tech. The Mariners lost in the South Jersey Graup 5 Championship to Kingsway (21-14) a year ago, but avenged that loss with a win over the Dragons in this year’s title game last week. TRN also lost to Kingsway (19-14) three years ago in the Central Jersey Group 5 sectional semifinals.
TRN improves to 13-0 on the season, and have outscored their foes by a margin of 632 to 108, or an average of 49 to 8 per game. Edison finishes its season at 9-4, and was one of two 6th seeds to win a sectional championship. The Eagles defeated 3rd seeded Hillsborough (10-7), 2nd seeded North Brunswick (33-31), and top seeded Lenape (28-14). Edison lost to North Brunswick in Week 2 back on September 10th (13-10).
Over the past four years, this group of Edison seniors compiled an overall mark of 24-16 including a division mark of 8-9. Edison qualified for the state playoffs three times during that span with the pandemic season of 2020 the only year it didn’t qualify. The past two seasons, the Eagles reached the sectional semifinals with a championship this year.
Following a 2-2 start to the season, Edison showed what it made of by winning 7 of 8 games to reach the Regional Final. During that span, Edison outscored its opponents by a margin of 250 to 130, or an average of 31 to 16. The only loss over that stretch was a 21-17 loss to St. Thomas Aquinas, where the Trojans rallied in the fourth quarter to win.
Edison made a statement to open the season by surging past Cedar Creek in the 2nd half for a 42-21 victory in the finale of the 2022 Battle at the Beach in Ocean City on August 28th. Cedar Creek was the defending South Jersey Group 3 Regional Champion, and defeated two Big Central Schools, Somerville (27-0) and Scotch Plains (52-0) by a combined total of 79-0 in 2021. Three of the Eagles four losses in 2022 came by a total of just 15 points.
EDISON NOTES: Matt Yascko finished the season with 152 completions out of 258 pass attempts for exactly 1,900 yards along with 16 TDs while throwing only 4 INTs. Yascko also rushed 103 times for 572 yards and another 9 TDs. The four year starter at Edison QB concluded his career with 414 completions in 713 attempts for 5,222 yards and 41 TDs while throwing 18 INTs.
Yascko also rushed 265 times for 1,398 yards and another 19 TDs to account for 6,620 yards and 60 TDs on offense for the Eagles. Teammate Malcolm Stansbury finished 2022 with 51 catches for 659 yards, and 4 TDs. During his four years at EHS, Stansbury collected 146 career receptions for 1,884 yards, or about 12.9 yards per catch, and 15 TDs.