September 2, 2021 - There was a lot of excitement surrounding the Point Boro Football Program as the 2021 season officially got underway Thursday evening. With several key returners and promising newcomers taking the field this season, Point Boro finally had the chance to showcase the talent that many had been waiting to see take the field. The Panthers did not hesitate to score early and often exploding for 34 points in a 34-20 win over the Shore Regional Blue Devils.
Running their typical triple option offense, Point Boro found success in its running game. Senior Quarterback Charlie Vitale had one of the best games of his career as he rushed for 4 TDs in the game. It was a Vitale 4-yard keeper and a Matt Oliphant two point conversion that gave the Panthers an 8-0 lead in with just under 5 minutes on the clock in the first quarter. It was a lead that Point Boro would never look back on.
Vitale’s longest run of 73 yards came in the 2nd quarter and gave Point Boro a 14-0 lead with 6 min to go in the first half. Shore eventually found the end zone in the first half but the Panther defense went into the locker room with a 14-6 halftime lead.
With a lead too close for comfort, Point Boro once again drove down the field and cashed in on an 8 yard Charlie Vitale touchdown run. It was Vitale’s 3rd rushing touchdown of the game and once again the margin was 14 points make the score to 20-6. Not going without a fight, Shore Regional scored their second touchdown of the evening to cut the Panther lead to 8 points and make it a 20-13 game.
Once again, Point Boro responded to the pressure as they did the whole evening. Connor Cilento was next to find the end zone for the Panthers scoring on a 62 run with 11:48 to go in the game. At 26-13, Point Boro was not in the drivers seat and in prime position to close out a pivotal divisional win on opening night. Point Boro would get over the 30 point mark when Charlie Vitale found the end zone for the 4th time with 4:32 remaining in regular. Once again, it was Matt Oliphant who secured the 2 point conversation and the Panthers were up 34-13.
With the game all but sealed, Point Boro made an effort to end the game with a 3 TD lead. Shore, however, was able to benefit from a Panther penalty which ultimately led one final TD in the game. At 34-20, the Panthers regained possession with only a few seconds to run out the clock in victory formation.
Point Boro will head to Jackson Liberty next week looking to improve to 2-0 on the season. More importantly, a win next week would also propel the Panthers to a 2-0 start within the division. While we certainly don’t know how the rest of the season will play out, week 1 gave Panther Nation a reason to be optimistic.
By Jim Rosa, sports reporter and photographer.