Nobody can say Middletown High School South did not show the type of character a No. 1 team possesses.
The Eagles, top-ranked in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, found themselves trailing a very talented South Brunswick team — ranked No. 1 in the Home News Tribune Preseason Top 10 — by 18 points in the second quarter Friday night at South Brunswick.
South Brunswick had hit Middletown South’s veteran defense with three touchdown passes of 33 yards or longer.
Middletown South’s reaction: Seventeen points to close the first half and then 21 more in the second half as it recorded an impressive 41-21 win.
The Eagles passed an early-season test against the NJSIAA Central Group V finalists from last year.
Middletown South has no time to rest on its laurels. It hosts Neptune, which gave ranked Ocean all it could handle in a 34-28 loss.
Seven of the nine teams in the preseason rankings that played this past weekend won. Five ranked teams won by 20 points or more.
The ranked teams that lost were Matawan, which was ranked No. 8, and Brick Memorial, which was ranked No. 10.
Matawan, playing without starting quarterback George Pearson (hip injury) was defeated by St. John Vianney, 30-21.
Brick Memorial was steamrolled by an inspired Brick team, 36-6.
Brick and Middletown North move into the rankings this week.
For Middletown North, it is its first appearance in the rankings in several seasons.
1. MIDDLETOWN SOUTH (1-0): First poll: No. 1. Matt Mosquera threw a 72-yard TD pass to Samson Dube, ran for a TD and kicked two field goals, and junior running back James McCarthy had TD runs of 47 and 60 yards and ran for 152 yards as the Eagles scored the final 38 points and defeated South Brunswick, 41-21. Next game: Friday vs. Neptune (0-1).
2. JACKSON MEMORIAL (1-0): First poll: No. 2. Junior quarterback Dan Barker threw for 164 yards with TD passes to Vincent Lee and Kyle Johnson in his first varsity start, Johnson returned a punt 58 yards for a TD, Mike Gawlik ran for 170 yards with TD runs of 23 and 95 yards on 10 carries, and Lee rushed for a TD as the Jaguars rolled to a 41-0 win over Jackson Liberty. Next game: Friday vs. Lacey (0-1).
3. RED BANK CATHOLIC: (1-0): First poll: No. 3. Dylan Murphy returned the opening kickoff 86 yards for a TD, backup quarterback Colin Shaughnessy ran for a TD, senior running back Mike Wilen had a 40-yard TD run, and senior running back Anthony Purge had a 1-yard TD run as the Caseys, playing without standout quarterback Eddie Hahn (torn meniscus), defeated Long Branch 28-0. Next game: Friday vs. St. Joseph (Metuchen) (0-1).
4. ST. JOHN VIANNEY (1-0): First poll: No. 4. Senior quarterback Anthony Brown threw for 263 yards and three TDs as the Lancers overcame 19 penalties and rallied to defeat rival and then-No. 8 Matawan, 30-21, in Derek Sininsky’s first game as their head coach. Next game: Friday vs. Holmdel (0-1).
5. MANALAPAN (1-0): First poll: No. 5. Sophomores Naim Mayfield and Chris Maksimik each scored two TDs, and L’Jeron Holder and Anthony Bassani each had TD receptions as the Braves defeated Marlboro, 40-0. Next game: Friday vs. Freehold Township (0-1).
6. RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN (0-0): First poll: No. 6. The Bulldogs did not play and will be the last Shore Conference team to begin their season. First game: Friday vs. Matawan (0-1).
7. TOMS RIVER NORTH (1-0): First poll: No. 7. Junior quarterback Mike Husni threw for 111 yards and two TDs and ran for 105 yards, and junior Bryce Watts ran for a TD and had a TD reception as the Mariners defeated Lacey 29-7. Next game: Friday at Brick Memorial (0-1).
8. OCEAN (1-0): First poll: No. 9. Senior running back Tyler Thompson, in his first game since he broke his leg last Oct. 31, ran for fourth-quarter TDs of 70 and 14 yards and had 175 yards and three TDs, and junior lineman Anthony Tedesco’s sack caused a fumble that junior Chris Vivian recovered after Neptune had driven to the Ocean 8 in the final minute, as the Spartans defeated Neptune, 34-28. Next game: Friday vs. Wall (0-1).
9. BRICK (1-0): First poll: Not ranked. Junior Ja’Sir Taylor scored on an 80-yard run and a 60-yard fumble return and also had an interception that set up a TD, and Jay Obenauer ran for 143 yards and a TD as the Green Dragons rushed for 343 yards and defeated Brick Memorial, 36-6, in Len Zdanowicz’s first game as head coach. Next game: Friday vs. Southern (1-1).
10. MIDDLETOWN NORTH (1-0): First poll: Not ranked. Junior quarterback Donald Glenn threw for three TDs as the Lions defeated Perth Amboy, 41-10, to move into the rankings for the first time in several seasons. Next game; Saturday at Marlboro (0-1).
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com
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