Monmouth Regional football defeats Holmdel

Monmouth Regional football defeats Holmdel

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Monmouth Regional football defeats Holmdel

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TINTON FALLS

Isaiah Searight was Monmouth Regional’s Mr. Red Zone on Saturday.

Searight turned in two big plays inside the 20-yard line in the Golden Falcons’ 21-13 win over Holmdel in Shore Conference Class A Central.

The junior scored the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and made a clutch interception with five seconds left in regulation.

A quarterback, Searight scored on a run from inside the 1. Playing in the defensive backfield, he picked off a pass in the right corner of the end zone to seal the victory.

“Winning the game is more fun than scoring touchdowns,” he said. “We are a tough team that knows how to finish.”

The Hornets pulled to within 21-13 with 42 seconds remaining in the game on a 1-yard run by senior running back Matt Dixon. Monmouth sophomore Eli Velez blocked senior Tim Davis’ extra-point kick.

Holmdel recovered Davis’ onside kick with 36 seconds remaining at the Monmouth 39 and threatened to score, driving to the Falcons’ 8 with 11 seconds to go. Junior quarterback Erik Alvino rolled to his right on first and goal and Searight turned in his pick. The Falcons ran out the clock.

“We used a cover eight, our deep zone defense,” Searight said, “and I just read the receiver and made the play on the ball. We knew they would come out and battle it out. We gave them a great chance to win.”

Alvino connected with senior tight end Joe Tages for a 20-yarder to move the ball to the Falcons’ 19 with 23 seconds left on the ill fated drive’s second play. Two plays later, Alvino completed an 11-yard pass to Tages to move the Hornets to the 8 with 11 seconds to go. Searight made his pick on the following play.

Searight staked Monmouth to a 13-7 lead with 3:37 left in the third quarter, vaulting over the middle of the Hornets’ line and into the end zone from half a yard. Senior Nick Costa kicked his second of three extra points for a 14-7 lead.

“I scored on a key wedge, a quarterback sneak,” the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Searight said. “I outleaped their linebackers.”

Searight set up the touchdown with a 17-yard dash up the middle to the Hornets’ 5 and scored three plays later.

“I am comfortable with playing quarterback as I have practiced there,” he said. “Playing quarterback is second nature to me.”

The Falcons went ahead 21-7 with 1:17 left in the game on a 5-yard touchdown run by Velez.

Monmouth took a 7-0 lead on the game’s first series of downs. Junior James Green scored on a 10-yard run with 9:23 to go in the first quarter.

Holmdel cut its deficit to 7-6 with 9:38 to go in the third quarter when junior defensive back Adam Ibrahim recovered a fumble by senior running back Dylan Brown and sped 30 yards for a touchdown. Davis’ PAT tied the game at seven.

It was an emotional win for Costa, who mourned the death of Monmouth freshman girls soccer player Hannah Rose Duffy. There was a moment of silence before the game in her memory.

“I did it for Hannah Duffy,” he said. “She died about a week ago. She battled brain cancer. I dedicated my season to her. I am in the Tinton Falls Fire Department, which did a lot of charity work for her.”

Staff writer Chris Christopher: cchristopher@njpressmedia.com; 732 643-4249

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