Saturday Morning Rewind Week 1
Like two heavyweight boxers, Middletown South, the #1 ranked team from the Shore Conference and South Brunswick, the #1 rated team in Middlesex County, traded punches for the first half of their brawl in Brunswick.
Middletown South wins the battle 41-21 in dominant fashion pic.twitter.com/4vjQaal6Sm— Marcus A. Borden (@bordenfb4ever) September 12, 2015
The Vikings raced out to a 21-6 lead early in the 2nd quarter as they used the pass to counter the Eagles stout run defense that completely shut down fullback Phil Campbell, who is the first phase of the South Brunswick triple option offense. A perfectly lofted 33-yard fade pass by Junior QB Josh Liao to 6’3” WR Justin Shorter put the Vikings on top at the 8:16 mark of the 1st quarter.
Middletown South would then march to the Vikings 28-yard line falling about a foot short on 4th down. It was another quick strike by Liao to Slot back Jaeir Garrett on a wheel pass up the South Brunswick sideline which he cut across the field for a dazzling 72-yard score at the 4:20 mark of the 1st quarter.
On the ensuing kickoff it looked like the Eagles would have the ball at midfield but they were flagged for holding. Not to be out done, Matt Mosquera, Middletown South’s outstanding QB/PK/P lofted his own fade pass to WR Tom Coffey setting the Eagles up in Viking territory. The drive would eventually stall leaving the talented Mosquera with a 46-yard field goal attempt which he drilled through the uprights to narrow the Viking lead to 14-3 with 1:44 to go in the 1st quarter.
Middletown South would now change its kickoff strategy and let Mosquera the placekicker kick away putting the ball in the end zone while forcing the Vikings to march 80 yards to paydirt. After a couple of 1st downs while mixing the run and a quick pass to Shorter, Liao would toss his third touchdown pass this time to WR Mo Jabbe on a 48-yard fly pattern down the South Brunswick sideline. It would be 21-3 South Brunswick with 11:03 still left in the 2nd quarter as it seemed like the home team was looking for an early knockout. It was however, the youngster Liao who warned his teammates that there was so much more football to be played.
The Eagles would gain a few 1st downs moving into Viking territory only to stall on 4th down. Enter Mosquera the punter who pooched a perfect punt which was fair caught by Jabbe on the Viking 8-yard line. After a run to the right by Chrisjon Summers for a minimal gain, the Vikings would go left fumbling the ball to the Eagles. The South Brunswick defense would stiffen and force the Eagles to settle for a 33-yard Mosquera FG at the 5:53 mark of the 2nd quarter making the score 21-6.
South Brunswick would lose yardage their next series being forced to punt from their 16 yardline. The momentum was starting to shift as the Eagle defense began to flex its muscles holding the Viking running game in check. Middletown South would get the ball about midfield and looked to have a sizeable gain by Mosquera the runner as he scrambled for an apparent 20-yard gain that was called back due to multiple fouls. After an incomplete on an attempted slant pass, Mosquera the passer dropped straight back launching a perfect deep crossing route to WR Samson Dube for a 72-yard touchdown strike with 3:07 left to go before halftime. The Eagles closed the gap to 21-13.
The Vikings tried to regain the momentum by getting the ball into the hands of their talented WR Mo Jabbe. Liao would hit him on a quick hitch screen that would net 12 yards and a 1st down followed by a hitch and go that was just off the fingertips of the Rutgers-bound speedster. The Vikings would be forced to punt thus giving the Eagles one more shot to score before half time.
Mosquera would use his arm and his feet to execute the hurry up offense. A perfectly thrown sideline pass to WR Jeremy Joyce would stop the clock at the Viking 33-yard line. Then he would scramble for a 19-yard gain to the 14-yard line. Facing a 3rd and 3 from the Viking 8–yard line, the Eagles called timeout with 40 seconds remaining in the half. Mosquera would roll to his left looking to throw but he would tuck the ball and dive into the end zone closing the 1st half at 21-20 in favor of South Brunswick.
As both teams took the field for the second half, the Vikings were greeted by fireworks and chants of encouragement from the home town crowd. However, it was the visiting Middletown South Eagles that would take control of this battle of #1s with heavy body punches and a punishing inside ground game. The Eagles wasted little time after the 2nd half kickoff as junior RB James McCarthy took an inside zone handoff to the left, cutting it back to the right and bursting for a 53-yard touchdown.
South Brunswick seemed rattled as one of its stars and emotional leaders Phil Campbell was not on the field for the second half. With their running game stymied by the Eagles, the Vikings tried to use the arm of Liao to get the ball into the hands of Jabbe, Shorter and Garrett. Middletown South would have none of that as the secondary blanketed Jabbe while hurrying Liao with constant pressure.
After forcing the Vikings to punt on its first series of the 2nd half, The Eagle would deliver another body punch that seemed to knock the air out of the South Brunswick defense and the hometown faithful. With 7:17 remaining in the 3rd quarter McCarthy would get the inside zone handoff in identical fashion taking it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown and a 34-21 Middletown South lead.
South Brunswick would be forced to go 80 yards following Mosquera’s booming kickoff through the Viking end zone. Liao would continue to go deep to Jabbe and quickly to Shorter. The Eagles were willing to concede the short pass but seemed to double cover every long range shot by the Vikings. With South Brunswick moving deep into Eagle territory, they looked poised to close within 6 points. It was not to be as Jabbe was well-defended and the tipped ball was intercepted by the Eagles.
Both teams would be hampered by leg cramps although the heat wave was officially broken by the much-needed rain on Thursday night. Middletown South would continue to run inside and outside zone eating up the clock as the Vikings looked to find a crease in the Eagle defensive front with the run game or quick passes to its talented receivers.
The final blow for the Vikings came at the 9-minute mark of the 4th quarter as senior Tom Marron took a Wendell Allen punt 52 yards for the final score of the night and an insurmountable 41-21 for the Shore’s #1 Middletown South Eagles.