UNION (Union) – Rohan Phillip, quarterback for the Union County squad, went into Snapple Bowl XXII on a mission to keep a promise he made to a child at Children’s Specialized Hospital.
A promise to end Middlesex County’s three-year winning streak.
“I promised a kid at the hospital that we would kick Middlesex’s butt, so I have to do it for him,” Phillip said prior to the game.
Phillip was unable to come away with a win in the classic, which took place at Kean University Thursday, but he gave a valiant effort. Middlesex now leads the series 14-8.
Although Union struggled, Phillip managed his offense, which had to combat Middlesex’s plan to control the clock.
He connected with Plainfield teammate Joshua Washington for a seven-yard gain in the first quarter.
Union’s offensive plan relied on the run game, play action passes and quarterback-keeps, something Phillip wasn’t used to.
“It’s definitely different going from shotgun to under-center, and to adjust in two weeks is a lot,” Phillip said. “We didn’t do any under-center at all at Plainfield unless it was taking knees.”
Phillip started as a wide receiver for Plainfield High School. Midway through his senior season he was moved to quarterback.
“The kid that was playing quarterback got hurt, and Rohan came in and he made it tough to take him out,” said Plainfield head coach Jason Glezman. “He’s so explosive; he has the ability to make something out of nothing and make those plays that can swing the momentum of the game.”
Ironically, Phillip was chosen to play in the midsummer all-star classic filling a position he had only played for four weeks last fall.
“It’s a great honor to be good enough to be accepted into an all-star game,” Phillip said. “It showed that I have the skills and the mindset to play quarterback. I am definitely humbled and appreciative that I (was) able to play in this game.”
Phillip threw for 198 passing yards, had two touchdowns and 152 rushing yards for his alma mater.
Next season he will play for Albright College, where he will return to his original position.
“Next year he’s going to work as a wide receiver, but because of his abilities they could have him in a lot of positions,” Glezman said. “He’s going to have a great career there. I see him flourishing; he’s a great fit for that program and what they do.”
All proceeds from the Snapple Bowl, which pits the top graduating football players from Middlesex County against counterparts from Union County, benefit Children’s Specialized Hospital and the Lakeview School, a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities. Since its inception in 1994, the game has raised more than $485,000.