Shade scores four as Timber Creek rolls

Posted: September 14, 2012

Bryce Shade ran for one touchdown, took back a kickoff for another, and caught a pass for a third.

But his favorite touchdown Thursday night wasn't a rush, a return, or a reception. It was a fumble recovery.

"I'd say the fumble because it was so unexpected," Shade said of the highlight of the best game of his career.

Shade scored four touchdowns in four ways to lead Timber Creek to a 39-13 victory over Eastern in a West Jersey Football League interdivision game.

Shade scored on a 36-yard run, a 40-yard run with a teammate's fumble, a 75-yard kickoff return, and a 59-yard reception before a large crowd at Eastern's Frank McAleer Memorial Stadium.

"I was kidding him before the game, 'Bryce Shade, most underrated player in the state of New Jersey,' " Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said. "He was like, 'No, Coach.' I told him people are going to find out about him. Then he goes out and plays the game of his life."

Timber Creek (1-1), the No. 3 team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, played without defensive end Dajaun Drennon, who was injured in an automobile accident on his way to school Thursday morning.

Drennon, a North Carolina recruit, needed 11 stitches, according to Hinson. Drennon watched the game from the Timber Creek sideline. He is likely to miss one more game, Hinson said.

Even without Drennon and fellow North Carolina recruit Greg Webb, a defensive tackle recovering from knee surgery, Timber Creek shut down Eastern's running game and sacked the Vikings' Tom Flacco seven times.

Timber Creek junior tackle Donte Hardwick had three sacks, and senior end Myles Nash had two.

"They are so physical," Eastern coach Dan Spittal said of Timber Creek.

Flacco, a junior whose brother Joe is the quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, was 10-for-19 passing for 185 yards. Flacco also ran for both Eastern touchdowns.

Junior halfback T.J. Gardner played a strong offensive game, and senior Tyrone Thompson and junior Kingsley Ayeni played strong defensive games for Eastern (1-1).

"That team really scared me," Hinson said. "We didn't execute, but we have playmakers and that always gives you a chance."

Shade, a top wrestler who won a Region 7 title at 152 pounds as a junior, got Timber Creek on the scoreboard with his 36-yard run early in the second quarter.

Moments later, he picked up a fumble after a long reception by Timber Creek's Kevin Casey and raced into the end zone.

"I was just following Kev and the ball came loose," Shade said.

Shade's kickoff return might have been the key play. Eastern had pulled within 20-13 on Flacco's 1-yard run with 15 seconds remaining in the half, but Shade took the ensuing kickoff, weaved from left to right, and broke free for a touchdown and a 26-13 lead with 0:00.7 on the clock.

"I said if they kick it to me, I'm going to take it to the house," Shade said.

Shade said he had never scored more than two touchdowns in a game.

"It still hasn't hit me," Shade said. "I'm proud of myself, and I'm proud of my teammates, too."

Timber Creek   0 26 0 13 – 39

Eastern   6 7 0 0 – 13

E: Tom Flacco 1 run (kick failed)

TC: Bryce Shade 36 run (kick failed)

TC: Khalil Pierce 26 run (Kevin Casey kick)

TC: Shade 40 with fumble (Casey kick)

E: Flacco 1 run (Ed Kehoe kick)

TC: Shade 75 kickoff return (kick failed)

TC: Shade 59 pass from Myles Nash (Casey kick)

TC: Zaire Williams 5 run (kick failed)


Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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