MIDDLETOWN – Middletown South will head into the NJSIAA North II, Group IV championship game against Phillipsburg at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 5 with a full head of steam.
The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, scored on the first play of the game, their defense recorded two safeties in the first half and senior running back Cole Rogers ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as Middletown South built a 39-point lead and went on to record a 39-16 win over Middletown North in a Shore Conference Class A North game before an overflowed crowd at Middletown South’s “The Swamp.”
Middletown South (11-0, 6-0), which defeated Middletown North (7-4, 4-2) for the second time in six days, clinched the outright Class A North championship. It is Middletown South’s first divisional title since 2009.
The Eagles also recorded their 16th straight win over the Lions – 15 on Thanksgiving. They extended their series lead to 29-11-1 – 28-11-1, on Thanksgiving.
“We knew what was at stake in this game,” Rogers said. “We really wanted to win this championship. This is a huge game.. We didn’t take it lightly and now it’s on to next week.”
Middletown South’s defense was at its suffocating best in the first half. The Eagles held the Lions to minus 5 yards rushing and 26 yards of total offense in the first half.. That included eight plays of minus yardage,.
Twice Lions’ quarterback Donald Glenn was sacked in the end zone for a safety. The first came when defensive end Chase LoPriore and linebacker Dylan Rogers teamed up for the sack. The second time was when defensive lineman Will Gulick sacked Glenn.
Middletown South set the tone on the first play when senior quarterback Matt Mosquera and senior wide receiver Tom Coffey teamed up for a 62-yard TD pass.
Rogers added TD runs of 64 yards, 5 yards and 1 yard and Mosquera threw a 20-yard TD pass to Spencer Pereless.
“I said it after Friday night’s game (the 41-14 Middletown South win in a North II, Group IV semifinal) that there no motivation was needed,” said Middletown South coach Steve Antonucci, whose team will try to win its first sectional championship since 2010 and 10th in school history against Phillipsburg (9-2). .”When you play here and we talk about running down the hell (on their way to the field), it’s a special moment for those guys (the seniors). To have one last opportunity to do it (run down the hill) was all they needed.”
Middletown South changed things up from the first Middletown North game. The Eagles decided to blitz more and get Glenn off rhythm.
Glenn, who threw for 281 yards in the playoff game, was 6-for-15 for 31 yards with interceptions by defensive back Maxx Imsho and outside linebacker James McCarthy in the first half. McCarthy’s INT was a spectacular one-handed pick and 39-yard return to the Lions’ 1 on a screen play.That set up Rogers’ third TD and made it 39-0 with 56 seconds left in the first half.
“He (Glenn) has his happy shoes on last time. We didn’t want him to have those again,” Antonucci said. “We tried to get after him a little bit and change his picture. We did an excellent job.”
Middletown South also took a few more shots deep. Besides the first play of the game, Mosquera hit Jeremy Joyce with a 46-yard completion on Middletown South’s second play from scrimmage.
“We came out and said we were going to open it up and see what we could do,” Antonucci said. “We saw some things we thought we could hit and did.”
Middletown South substituted liberally in the second half with the sectional championship game in mind. The entire first string offense and most of the first string defense did not play in the second half.
Middletown North received a safety when the ball was kicked out of the end zone after a poor snap and Glenn threw a 16-yard TD pass to Brendan Kube and Chad Freshnock had a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Key play: Matt Mosquera’s 62-yard TD pass to Tom Coffey on the first play of the game.
Offensive game ball: Middletown South senior running back Cole Rogers ran for 114 yards and three TDs in the first half.
Defensive game ball: Linebacker Dylan Rogers, who teamed up with Chase LoPriore for a sack of Donald Glenn and a safety in the first quarter and was all over the field.
Up next: Middletown South will meet Phillipsburg (9-2) Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. at MetLife Stadium in the North II, Group IV championship game. Middletown North has concluded its season.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com .
Don’t miss a thing
Download our apps and get alerts for local news, weather, traffic and more. Search “Asbury Park Press” in your app store or use these links from your device: iPhone app | Android app for phone and tablet | iPad app
Don’t forget to ‘like’ us on Facebook!