Although they never led the game, Point Borough fought a defensive battle against Wall for nearly three quarters of football Friday night, keeping the Panthers in contention well into the fourth quarter.
But Wall’s stellar senior running back Jim Guiliano put the Panthers away with two running scores just minutes apart in the fourth quarter, giving him three running touchdowns on the night and Wall a 26-7 victory in the Shore Conference matchup.
The loss drops the Panthers to 2-2, and 1-2 in the conference, while Wall goes to 4-0, and 3-0 in the conference.
Point head coach Sean Henry said he was happy with his squad’s efforts in the loss.
“We have to eliminate some mistakes, but there’s a reason why (Wall is ranked #3) in the Shore. They made plays when they had to,” Henry said. “At the same time, our kids left it on the field. You can’t question our kids’ effort tonight.”
Wall led 7-0 at halftime and then went up 14-0 with under four minutes to play in the third quarter when John Louro scored on a 7-yard run.
But Point was able to answer. Quarterback John Dunbar put the Panthers back in the game with a 48-yard run from deep in his own territory to the Wall 31. On the next play, Dunbar rolled out and hit Chris Oliphant for a 31-yard passing score.
Point had several other chances to bring the game closer, but never capitalized on them.
Down just 14-7, Point got to midfield and on 3rd and 11 Dunbar fired downfield looking for a receiver, but nobody could haul it in and Point punted. And then down 20-7, and on their own 37, Point went for it on a short 4th down with a quarterback keeper, but Dunbar came up short.
Later in the fourth, Wall consistently moved the ball, but was helped considerably on their march by two personal fouls by the Point defense, including a costly facemask penalty.
On 4th and 3 from the Point 36, with just over two minutes to play, Guiliano broke free and appeared to be heading for his third score, but was tripped up at the 5 by Point defensive back Ja’shon Woodard. Two plays later, Guiliano punched it in from two yards out.
Guiliano’s second score, 26-yard scamper, put Wall up 20-7. He also got Wall on the board 7-0 with a 2-yard score just before halftime.
Point had other chances in the first half too, but never turned them into scores.
Dunbar hit receiver Chris Falconetti for what appeared to be a 50-yard touchdown strike in the first quarter, but it was called back due to a holding penalty.
And after running the ball to Wall’s 5 yard line in the second quarter, Dunbar suffered a botched handoff on the next play and Wall pounced on the fumble.
Oliphant, who caught Point’s touchdown, also intercepted Wall's quarterback Steve Cluley in the first quarter.
Henry said his team needs to keep practicing and working, “Our kids have gotten better each week, and we’ve come a long way and we still have a lot to fix.”