Central Jersey Game of the Week: Mater Dei rides big plays to victory over Jackson Memorial

Jackson Memorial High School picked up nearly twice as many first downs as Mater Dei Prep on Sept. 14 in Middletown. And that stat tells you a lot about what happened in the football game.

Mainly, it tells you that Mater Dei made so many big plays that it didn’t need to bother with first downs. The Seraphs rode a series of long touchdowns to a 41-7 victory over a solid Jackson Memorial team at Monsignor Robert T. Bulman Stadium.

Mater Dei, which fell to Red Bank Catholic High School in the Non-Public, Group 3 state playoff final last year, improved to 2-0 with the victory.

The Seraphs have outscored two opponents by a combined margin of 81-20. Jackson Memorial fell to 1-1 after beating Brick Memorial High School, 24-17, on Sept. 7.

On the first play of the Sept. 14 game, Mater Dei running back Malik Ingram raced down the right sideline for a 53-yard touchdown. It was a sign of things to come.

Over the next two plus quarters, the Seraphs also scored touchdowns of 39, 37 and 73 yards.

Ingram finished the first half with 122 yards and four touchdowns on just eight carries. He didn’t touch the ball in the second half. He didn’t have to.

Mater Dei quarterback Alex Brown, only a sophomore, threw with the strength and accuracy of a senior Division 1 commit, going five for eight for 166 yards and two scores. His top receiver on the day, Naran Buntin, posted a DeSean Jackson (NFL receiver for Philadelphia Eagles) line: two catches for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Buntin ran himself wide open over the middle on both of his touchdown catches.

“They make it easy for me,” Brown said of Ingram and Buntin.

Quarterback Lonnie Cebulski scored Jackson Memorial’s only touchdown of the afternoon, plunging five yards up the middle and into the end zone. The Jaguars moved the ball plenty, picking up 12 first downs. They just had trouble making big plays and finishing drives.

Mater Dei will go for the 3-0 start on Sept. 21 at Freehold High School. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Jackson Memorial will try to get back on track on Sept. 20 at home. Wall High School will be the opponent and the game will begin at 7 p.m.