Middletown South got off to a sluggish start, but were able to get it going and rolled to a 52-18 Class A North victory over Marlboro on Friday.
“We had a good week of practice and after a slow beginning we were able to settle things down and get on track,” Middletown South coach Steve Antonucci said.
Marlboro’s defense actually forced the Eagles to go backwards on their first four plays from scrimmage resulting in minus-20 yards. But Eagles quarterback Kyle Brey helped engineer a 12-play, 80-yard drive, including completions of 16 and 25 yards to Tayler Hendrickson. Jeremy Concepcion capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 late in the first quarter.
“We wanted to get off to a quick start, but that didn’t happen,” Brey said. “But we picked it up after the first drive and got into a rhythm.”
The Mustangs answered right back when Ruben Cruz burst through the Eagles defense for a 71-yard run to the Middletown South 9. On fourth-and-goal from the 2, quarterback Dustin Jensen took it into the end zone to make it 7-6 at the end of the first quarter.
Cole Rogers returned the ensuing kickoff 48 yards to put the Eagles at the Marlboro 42 and begin a sequence that saw Middletown South score 21 unanswered points in the second quarter.
Six plays after the kick return, the Eagles faced third-and-4 at the Marlboro 26. Brey lofted a pass to Spencer Peerless, who made a diving grab at the 1. Drew O’Connell took the handoff and drove into the end zone to make it 14-6.
After a three-and-out by the Mustangs, the Eagles got a second score by Concepcion when he raced 29 yards to the outside for a 21-6 lead.
Middletown South (4-2, 3-1) then got another big play from the special teams on the kickoff. A short kick went unfielded by the Mustangs and the Eagles’ Rob Hulse recovered at the Marlboro 30. On the very next play, Brey threw a screen pass to Hendrickson, who fought his way down the sideline for the score and a 28-6 halftime advantage.
Marlboro (0-6, 0-5) cut the deficit on its opening possession of the second half when Mo Omar scored on a 1-yard run to make it 28-12. But once again the Eagles came right back and scored four plays later on a 30-yard run by Brey.
The Mustangs added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 32-yard pass from Jensen to Cruz, but Concepcion scored his third touchdown on a 52-yard run to put the game out of reach at 45-18.
“The line did a great job opening holes and I was able to find them,” Concepcion said. “It was a solid performance all night from them.”
A.J. Leandro capped the scoring with a 24-yard touchdown run. Concepcion led a balanced Eagles offense with 139 yards rushing and Brey threw for 158 yards.
“Drew (O’Connell) is a slasher and Jeremy (Concepcion) is more of a downhill runner so they complement each other well,” Antonucci said. “And when Brey is on, he is very good and gives us even more options offensively.”