Jackson Memorial High School’s football team went into a three-game slump in October a year ago, starting with a loss to Brick Township High School, before rebounding to earn a spot in the state playoffs and going on to win a second straight NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV championship.
The Jaguars enter the month this season on a high note after beating Toms River High School South, 26-8, Sept. 30 in Shore Conference A South Division action. Toms River South (2-2) had come off an A South victory over Brick Memorial High School, 13-10.
Mike Gawlik rushed for 320 yards and three touchdowns, as Jackson Memorial evened its record at 2-2. Gawlik, the school’s all-time leading rusher, scored on runs of 56, 27 and 55 yards. Dan Barker added a 9-yard scoring run in the win.
The Jaguars lost their two games after a season-opening win over Jackson Liberty High School when they fell, 29-6, to Brick Township — the third year in a row the Green Dragons have beaten the Jaguars in a pivotal regular-season game in A South — and suffered a 14-13 loss to division newcomer Central Regional High School Sept. 23.
The victory over Toms River South was the second big rushing game in a row for Gawlik, who scored both touchdowns against Central Regional on runs of 19 and 4 yards. He finished rushing 27 times for 208 yards.
Jackson Memorial hosts Southern Regional High School at 7 p.m. Oct. 7. Southern Regional (1-3) had a bye week after getting its first victory, 41-0, over Toms River High School East Sept. 24.
Jackson Liberty, meanwhile, may have fallen out of playoff contention when it lost, 34-0, to Lacey Township High School to fall to 0-4. It was the second straight shutout loss for Jackson Liberty, which trailed, 27-0, at halftime.
The Lions travel to Barnegat High School (2-2) Oct. 7 for a 7 p.m. kickoff.