After a wild weekend in the opening two games of the football season, it was a great way to get back into action for a Week 1 that had many matchups to please the eye. With No. 4 Middletown South coming to South Brunswick, we were set for a game between two of the top teams in their respected conferences. In addition, both teams are coming off Sectional Final appearences in 2014 as well.
This game was a high scoring affair as Middletown South prevailed with a 41-21 victory on opening night. The Eagles overcame a 21-3 deficit to score 38 straight points, rolling past the South Brunswick Vikings, making a statement in a huge way!
Big plays from Quarterback Matt Mosquera, and Running Back James McCarthy led the way for this Middletown South team. Mosquera passed for 119 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 50 yards and another score. McCarthy carried the ball 11 times for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns.
South Brunswick set the tone early in the game. The Vikings came out and were able to move the ball on their first possession. Junior Quarterback Josh Liao wasted no time putting the ball in the air, hitting Justin Shorter with a 33 yard touchdown.
The Eagles struggled to run the ball in the beginning of the game. The Vikings defensive line was really making an impact, stalling a Middletown South drive on 4th and 2 at the 28 yard line.
South Brunswick would strike again, as Liao continued to attack the Eagles with the vertical passing game. This time, Liao found Wide Receiver Ja’ier Garrett with a 72 yard touchdown strike. Garrett was off to the races as the South Brunswick fans rose to their feet.
Matt Mosquera once again demonstrated why he is not only one of the best high school kickers in the state, but in the country. Mosquera booted a 46 yard field goal straight through the upright. This would put Middletown South on the board for the first time.
But Josh Liao was not ready to slow down just yet. The Vikings Quarterback again went right down the field, finding Mohammed Jabbie for a 53 yard touchdown. Three big plays, and just like that South Brunswick had built a 21-3 lead. Everything seemed to be clicking for the Vikings. It appeared that they were going to put this one away, so they thought..
Senior Quarterback and Captain Matt Mosquera would have something to say about that. When in doubt, Mosquera is always a leader that can rally his teammates and steal the show. Time after time the signal caller has been able to put this team on his back.
The turning point in the game was in the second quarter. Middletown South was in a tough situation, facing a 3rd and 30 from their own 28 yard line. Two key penalties had driven the Eagles all the way back.
From there it was Mosquera who would step up and make the most explosive play of the night. Mosquera converted the 3rd down by hitting Samson Dube for a 72 yard touchdown reception. You could feel the energy coming from the Eagles players. The momentum had completely shifted at this point.
Mosquera continued to dominate the second quarter. The quarterback put together another phenomenal drive, ripping off an 18 yard run all the way down to the 15 yard line. Mosquera would finish the job, finding the end zone on an 8 yard dash. This would send the Eagles into the locker room only trailing 21-20 at the half. All of a sudden, we had ourselves a football game.
The offensive surge would continue in the second half as Middletown South scored on the first two possessions. Starting Running Back Cole Rogers left the game in the 2nd Quarter, but James McCarthy would step up and lead the charge. McCarthy scored two 3rd Quarter touchdowns from 47, and 60 yards out. The Junior really put the burners on the right side of the field. This would give Middletown South a 34-21 advantage.
After struggling to move the football for most of the 2nd and 3rd Quarter, South Brunswick would finally get a break. Quarterback Josh Liao put together a nice drive by using the short passing game. Liao completed a pass to Justin Shorter to put the Vikings down inside the Eagles 13 yard line.
However, the Middletown South defense would respond in a huge way. In typical bend but don’t break fashion, the Eagles came up with a huge takeway to stall any energy that South Brunswick had left. Cornerback Maxx Ishmo leaped into the air and intercepted a Liao pass to deny the Vikings a scoring opportunity.
Finally, it was the special teams of Middletown South that would blow this game open. Tom Marron returned a punt 60 yards for another score. This would ultimately be all the Eagles needed as they cruised to a 41-21 opening night victory.
Middletown South really put together a complete team effort in what was a tremendous comeback. The Eagles got great production from all of their units. They were able to score points on the ground, through the air, and even on special teams. The return and kicking game gives this team a major boost. This is going to be huge in the long run.
The Eagles will play a non divisional game against Neptune next Friday night. After that, they will begin the Class A North schedule. Middletown South is a talented roster from the top to the bottom. They have every ability to climb up the power rankings as the season goes on.
PASSING: Midd South – Mosquera 5-13-113 South Brunswick: Liao 15-26-252
RUSHING: Midd South – McCarthy 11-155, Mosquera 6-60, Cole Rogers 17-47, Pinto 3-12, Alessi 2-7, Pignataro 3-3. South Brunswick – Cerminaro 4-10, Campbell 6-8, Summers 4-7, Allen 6-4, Hill 1-1, Jabbie 1-0, Liao 7–4.
RECEIVING: Midd South – Dube 2-78, Joyce 1-6. South Brunswick – Jabbie 6-91, Garrett 1-72, Shorter 4-58, Allen 3-21.
SB – Shorter 33 yard pass from Liao ( Fehte Kick)
SB – Garrett 72 yard pass from Liao (Fehte Kick)
MS – Mosquera 46 yard field goal. (Fehte kick)
SB – Jabbie 53 yard pass from Liao. (Fehte kick)
MS – Dube 72 yard pass from Mosquera (Mosquera kick)
MS – Mosquera 8 yard run. (Mosquera kick)
MS – McCarthy 47 yard run. (Mosquera kick)
MS – McCarthy 60 yard run. (Mosquera kick)
MS – Marron 60 yard punt return. (Mosquera kick)