SPOTSWOOD As Spotswood’s Andrew Cammarano began to address his squad after its one-point Homecoming victory over Holmdel he dropped an old-school Dickensian reference to sum up its performance over the previous two hours.
“It was as bad as it could get,” Cammarano began, “it was as good as it could get.”
Marlon Hart made a couple of spectacular grabs of long passes from Shawn O’Connor and Ryan Szatkowski converted both extra points as Spotswood rallied, twice, to edge Holmdel, 14-13 yesterday. There wasn’t much difference between the two sides other than a fumbled snap on Holmdel’s second extra point attempt.
Spotswood (3-2) entered having won two games by a total of 57 points and lost a pair by a total of 14. Yesterday’s one-point victory over a winless, but valiant opponent, represents the first time the Chargers successfully battled for the full 48 minutes.
“We made a lot of mistakes, we’ve been making mistakes all season and we’ve told them about being resilient,” Cammarano said. “Today we saw it through.”
Holmdel did everything but win the game, taking the lead twice, outgaining Spotswood on the ground, 152-151, and nearly matching it in the air, 158 to 166. But the Hornets were doomed by a fourth quarter in which its four possessions produced two interceptions, one lost fumble and a three-and-out.
“As we found out and as we’ve preached to our kids, sometimes the margin of victory is very slim,” Holmdel coach Greg LaCava said. “If we don’t turn the ball over, have a bad snap, fumble in our two-minute offense (when) we actually had a good drive going, the outcome could be different.”
Holmdel started briskly, advancing 60 yards in 11 plays after taking the opening kickoff, with Aneesh Agrawal firing a terrific deep ball to Steven Walioer along the left side of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 opening four minutes into the contest. That pair proved to be quite effective as Agrawal finished completing 16 of 29 passes for 158 yards, with Walier hauling in seven for 93 yards.
Spotswood didn’t score until its final p[possession of the half, a 73-yard, two-play blitz aided by a pass interference call and ending on an, in-stride, over-the-shoulder grab by Hart for a 44-yard touchdown with 58 seconds remaining in the first half.
The Hornets scored on its first drive of the second half as well, earning five first downs and marching 78 yards in nine plays. Matthew Nuzzi finished from 10 yards out, dragging a would-be tackler into the end zone with him, but a fumbled snap left Holmdel with a 13-7 lead with 1:25 left in the quarter.
Spotswood answered immediately, sprinting 63 yards in four plays. Hart outjumped two Holmdel defenders for the ball on the decisive 39-yard touchdown pass, then eluded them both in crossing the goal line as the third quarter ended.
“On the first catch Shawn told me that if I could get open, ‘I’m throwing a bomb and I hope you better catch it,’ ” Hart said. “On the second pass I noticed that both of the defenders were on the ground so I just cut it back to the right corner and scored. It was a pretty exciting thing.”
Spotswood then turned to its defense as Raymond Reichardt recovered a fumble and James Liu and Chance Fee each intercepted pass, all in the fourth quarter. Fee’s pick came in the final seconds at the Spotswood 9 after Holmdel marched from its 32 in a furious comeback bid.
“Our defense was pretty phenomenal, if you ask me,” Hart said. “I think our defense won our game.”
High praise from the guy who scored both of his team’s touchdowns.
HOLMDEL (0-4) 7-0-6-0 — 13
SPOTSWOOD (3-2) 0-7-7-0 — 14
H–Walier 29 pass from Agrawal (Cook kick)
S–Hart 44 pass from O’Connor (Szatowski kick)
H–Nuzzi 10 run (run failed)
S–Hart 39 pass from O’Connor (Szatowski kick)
Rushing – H: Agrawal 10-69, Nuzzi 11-49, Bergamotto 3-16, Braga 1-10, Bashir 2-8; S: Liu 14-69, Hayford 23-69, O’Connor 5-13, Hart 1-1, Vincelli 1-minus 1.
Passing – H: Agrawal 16-29-2-158; S: O’Connor 8-13-0-166.
Receiving – H: Walier 7-93, O’Beirne 4-37, Vitiello 1-17, Braga 1-10, Noor 1-7, Nuzzi 1-0, Bergamotto 1-minus 6; S: Hart 2-83, Madsen 2-40, Liu 3-30, Vincelli 1-13.