Charlie Rodenberger is the kind of football player who will do anything to help his team win, and on Friday night the Voorhees quarterback helped lead the Vikings to a come-from-behind double overtime victory.
Voorhees (5-2) found itself trailing North Plainfield 14-0 at halftime, and Rodenberger blamed a lack of heart for the poor performance. But that all changed at the start of the third quarter.
“In the beginning we were very solid and were playing really well and then in the middle of the season, a couple of games ago, we weren’t playing as ourselves. There wasn’t as much emotion as the first three or four games and that lasted for Rahway, Summit and the first half of the North Plainfield game we were seeing the same thing, not a lot of effort and heart,” Rodenberger said. “We had a good halftime speech from coach so we came out in the second half and felt like ourselves agains and played like we had been at the beginning of the season.”
Rodenberger put the team on his back in the second half and ran for two touchdowns in the third and fourth quarters to tie the game and send it to overtime. North Plainfield went up 21-14 in the first overtime, but Rodenberger again came to the rescue and scored on a five-yard run to tie it up. Derek Howarth won the game in the second overtime on a 10-yard run to give Voorhees a hard-fought 28-21 win.
Rodenberger finished with 156 yards rushing on 24 attempts and three touchdowns, which is why the senior is the Courier News Football Player of the Week.
“I tried to do everything I could in the second half, a lot of our run plays going up the middle were not working, they had a lot of big guys there, so we started doing a lot of quarterback sweeps to the outside so I was pretty exhausted, we did that like 20 times in a row,” Rodenberger said. “I ran as hard as I could, I wanted to win, we could have lost and it would have been a very bad season if we had lost so I did everything I could to get us the win.”
So far this season Rodenberger leads the team with 892 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s completed 38 of 88 passes for 639 yards and seven touchdowns in the air.
“He had a lot of carries, I don’t think we did too much differently than we did in the first half, but he put the team on his back,” Voorhees coach Bob Angstadt said of his quarterback’s performance on Friday. “We wore the opponent down and he still had enough to finish strong in the fourth quarter, he rallied them together. It was a team win for sure, there were a lot of things that had to change in the second half and it was great performances of the offense and defense to get that win.”
The victory clinched a NJSIAA North 2 Group III playoff berth for the Vikings, who sit at eighth place heading into this weekend’s state cutoff games. Voorhees will host North Hunterdon on Friday night, and a victory could mean a higher seed for the Vikings.
“It’s alright because if we are the eighth seed, which we are now since we missed the Warren Hills game, this game against North is going to count for power points so if we win we move up a couple of spots,” Rodenberger said. “If we are the eighth seed we already played Cranford and they’re the one seed, we were with them for the first three and a half quarters. We know we can play with them, we just have to play for an entire four quarters instead of three, if we do that I’m confident we can beat any team in our section.”
Staff Writer Lauren Knego: firstname.lastname@example.org
OTHER NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
Senior running back Jack Curry rushed for four touchdowns and finished with 81 yards on 17 carries as Westfield beat Watchung Hills.
Senior quarterback Eric Nickel finished 11 of 19 for 172 yards and two touchdowns as Bridgewater-Raritan stayed undefeated with a win over North Hunterdon.
Senior running back Jason Lee scored on an 80-yard kickoff return and scored the two-point conversion as South Plainfield rallied to beat Perth Amboy 8-6.
Sophomore quarterback Jack Barletta rushed for 113 yards and three touchdowns as New Providence beat Roselle Park.
Senior quarterback Matt Stagnitta threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns as Montgomery defeated Hillsborough for its third-straight win.
Junior running back Elijah Barnwell rushed for 213 yards on a season-high 35 carries and a touchdown as Piscataway fell to South Brunswick.