Garguilo leads Cougars past Steinert

Garguilo leads Cougars past Steinert

News

Garguilo leads Cougars past Steinert

By

Colts Neck had already relied heavily on junior running back Anthony Garguilo all game, so it was no surprise that the Cougars looked his way when they couldn’t quite shake off Steinert on Saturday afternoon.

With his team clinging to 27-20 lead midway through the fourth quarter, Garguilo carried on seven out of eight plays for 47 yards. On the following play, the Steinert defense bit on a play fake for Gargiulo and quarterback Mike Campbell hit fullback Gio Zefferino for a 23-yard catch and run that clinched a 34-20 win for Colts Neck in the first round of the Central Jersey Group IV playoffs.

Garguilo finished with 234 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries while Zefferino added a pair of touchdowns and 84 yards on three receptions to help the Cougars clinch their second playoff win in school history.

“I told Anthony our boot plays only work because of his running,” said head coach Greg LaCava. “Those two guys have been our workhorses all year … I’ve only been here four years, but I know they’ve been in the playoffs several times and weren’t able to win in recent years. To play a home playoff game and win it today is huge for the community.”

The Cougars’ appeared to have put the Spartans away earlier in the fourth when Zefferino took another short pass from Campbell 39 yards into the end zone, but senior Edward Ashley returned the ensuing kickoff 85 yards for a score to keep it a one-possession game.

“It was big that our team didn’t give up when they came that close at the end,” said Garguilo. “We just had to keep going.”

Said LaCava, “We knew going in watching film that they’re a quality football team. This is the playoffs, so people deserve to be here and every snap is a battle. We challenged the kids to make the big plays at the end and they did.”

With two minutes remaining, sophomore Christian Sanchez intercepted a pass from quarterback from John Zim to end the Spartans’ comeback hopes. Junior John Miller added an interception in the first half, and junior linebacker Nick Volpe also had big day, knocking down three passes from Zim.

After a slow start, Colts Neck came alive with a 17-point second quarter. Down 7-3, senior Tim Vangelas energized the Cougars with a 40-yard kickoff return. Campbell led the Cougars 50 yards on seven plays and then Garguilo punched in a 7-yard touchdown to regain the lead. Campbell finished with 224 yards and three touchdowns on 13 of 19 passing.

After Miller’s interception two plays later, senior kicker Garrett Federico extended the lead with a 24-yard field goal. After a three-and-out from Steinert, Campbell marched the Cougars into the red zone and connected with senior Lucien Dellaferra for an 11-yard touchdown that put the Cougars up 20-7 with 12.4 second remaining in the half.

Latest

More USA TODAY High School Sports