It took a special catch from junior wide receiver Matt Volk for Colts Neck to secure its first win of the season, 13-0, against Wall on Saturday.
With both teams scoreless midway through the third quarter, Cougars’ junior quarterback Hayden Volk dropped back on 3rd-and-6 from the Crimson Knights’ 31-yard line and lofted a high pass into the right side of the end zone towards his twin brother Matt Volk. Volk leaped into the air and missed his first chance at the pass, but when a Wall defensive back bobbled a second attempt at the ball, it fell right into the hands of Volk who was down flat on his back in the end zone.
“We thought we had some advantages on the perimeter with our wide receivers,” said head coach Darian Barnes. “It was a deep ball. Matt just made a fantastic play. He stayed with it and kept focus. It was just what our team need.”
The win snapped a seven game losing streak this season for the Cougars.
“I’m happy for my boys,“ said Barnes. “They work so hard. It’s been such a tough season, coming out here every day continuing to work and continuing to fight and playing down to the wire. Finally, they’re seeing the rewards for what they’ve done.”
After Colts Neck took the 7-0 lead, the Cougars defense did their part. They forced a punt on the following two drives, and in the fourth quarter, they forced the Crimson Knights to attempt a desperate 4th-and-18 after senior Nick Gargiulo recorded a timely 3rd down sack for a 10 yard loss.
“I just did what I was coached to do,” said Gargiulo. “I followed my keys and my assignments, and it led me to the play.”
Gargiulo also had a sack in the second quarter to force a fourth down.
On the final possession of the game, the Crimson Knights lined up for a game-tying play deep in their own territory, but when sophomore quarterback Eddie Scott fumbled, junior Vinny Gargiulo picked up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone as time expired.
Wall struggled to get its passing game going after starting quarterback Matt Cluley left the game in the first quarter with a leg injury.
After struggling in the first quarter, Hayden Volk completed 5 of 8 passes for 56 yards in the second half to help the Cougars milk clock and put away the Crimson Knights.
“Hayden’s young,” said Barnes. “He’s extremely talented. He’s been thrust into a very hard situation. A lot of high school quarterbacks go through it in their first year. I’m very proud of him the way he’s come along and the way he threw that touchdown pass to his twin brother.”
KEY PLAY: Junior quarterback Hayden Volk completed a 31-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Matt Volk to break a scoreless tie and put the Cougars up 7-0.
DEFENSIVE GAME BALL: Colts Neck senior Nick Gargiulo had two timely sacks that stopped drives from Wall.
OFFENSIVE GAME BALL: With starting quarterback Matt Cluley out, running back Shane Larkin led the Wall offensive by racking up 111 yards on 18 carries.
UP NEXT: Colts Neck will host Ocean Township on Saturday while Wall is off.