HOLMDEL – The Raritan Rockets (6-5, 3-3) picked up a road victory on Thanksgiving as they defeated the Holmdel Hornets (1-8, 0-6) by a score of 46-25 at Bob Roggy Memorial Field.
Raritan got on the board first after an 8 yard touchdown run by senior running back Derek Ernst giving the Rockets a 7-0 lead after the first quarter. Ernst found the end zone for the second time with 10:18 to play in the first half extending their lead to 14-0. Senior Nicholas Pasquin returned an Aneesh Agrawal punt 57 yards for a touchdown and Gavin Toth connected on a 26 yard field goal as time expired. The teams went to halftime with Raritan up 24-0.
Ernst, who was named the game’s MVP, recorded his third touchdown of the morning as he dashed in from six yards out making it 31-0 Rockets with 9:53 left in the third quarter.
The Rockets substituted for their regular once they took a 30 point lead but Holmdel battled back to make it 31-25. Agrawal completed touchdown passes of 5 yards and 50 yards to senior wide receiver Steven Walier. Agrawal ran for a touchdown himself and senior wide receiver Lucas Braga also ran for a touchdown to close the gap to six points. But the Raritan offense wanted to finish what they started.
“The plan was to get up by 30 and we did that so we took our guys out,” Raritan head coach Anthony Petruzzi said after the game. “We weren’t expecting to be in that situation in the end. It was important to the seniors in a rivalry game and a game that put us over .500 that we get that (victory) for them. They convinced me by their actions, the way they stayed prepared and the way they stayed in the game on the sideline. It was easy to do what they asked me to do because they do everything that I ask them to do.”
After the starters re-entered, junior quarterback Marc Carnivale threw a 56 yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jordan Smith extending the Rockets’ lead to 39-25. Junior defensive back Rory Sullivan then sealed the deal with a 36 yard interception return for a touchdown. Raritan is now 6-2 against Holmdel on Thanksgiving.
Key play: The Rockets offense made an immediate statement after bringing their starters back in as Carnivale’s 56 yard touchdown pass to Smith gave them breathing room late in the game.
Offensive game ball: Derek Ernst was the key cog in the Raritan offense as the senior rushed for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns on 22 carries.
Defensive game ball: Sullivan’s interception returned for a touchdown with 4:07 left on the clock sealed the victory for Raritan.
Up next: This game wrapped up the season for Holmdel while Raritan will play Lincoln at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 at Kean University in the Central Jersey Group II championship game.
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