CARTERET – The oldest Thanksgiving Day rivalry in Middlesex County and the 89th total matchup between both Perth Amboy High School and Carteret High School saw Perth Amboy grind out a prideful and physical win 18-7.
The Panthers controlled the line of scrimmage from the start, as they drove into Rambler territory on two consecutive possessions, but two costly fumbles on both possessions stalled their momentum.
“Our offensive line kept pushing and pushing, they never gave up”, said Panther senior dual-position playmaker Shaquan Fullwood.
On the first play of the second quarter and the game still scoreless, Carteret quarterback Angelo Golino found wide receiver Keanu Chapman for a dazzling catch-and-run which resulted in a 68-yard touchdown. Chapman tipped the ball to himself several times while he maintained to keep his feet in bounds while surrounded by Panther defenders.
Unfortunately for Carteret, those were the only points they could accumulate as Perth Amboy played stingy defense against them the rest of the way.
Freshman quarterback Tahjmere O’Neal answered for Perth Amboy only three minutes later when he connected with Fullwood for a 30-yard touchdown pass. A failed extra point still had Perth Amboy trailing 7-6 at the half.
O’Neal had three completions on six pass attempts for 96 yards and the touchdown as Fullwood had three carries for 23 yards and 3 receptions for 96 yards and the touchdown.
“It’s one of the oldest rivalries in the state of New Jersey, and we’ve been talking all week about bringing the trophy back to us, so we had to finish strong”, said Perth Amboy head coach Brad Bishop about the second half.
A muffed punt by Carteret early in the third quarter set Perth Amboy up with great field position, as junior running back Deonte Freeman pounded in a 2-yard touchdown just two plays later. With 1:41 to go in the third, cornerback Jeremiah Stevens took advantage of a perfect bounce of the ball on a Carteret fumble, which he ran for a 39-yard touchdown. The touchdown extended the Panthers lead, a lead they would never relinquish, as that touchdown stamped the 18-7 final score.
“It was a hard fought game, we have a great rivalry going, and regardless of our records, this was a championship game for us”, said coach Bishop. For the seniors to come out with a win on Thanksgiving and on the last game of their senior year is just great, I can’t be thankful enough for these kids.”