Eagles Game Preview: Homecoming

Everything you need to know about South’s biggest football game of the season

Danny DeCrescenzo, Sports Editor

South’s Homecoming game this year could not come at a better time. The Eagles are returning to the Swamp fresh off their fifth straight win of the year and clinching the American Division crown. Now the Eagles are back at home, and they have to contend with an opposing squad that has shown flashes of dominance in an up-and-down season: The Lancers of Saint John Vianney.


A quick look at the Lancers:

  • RECORD: The Lancers sit at 2-4, in the lower half of the Colonial Division.
  • LAST GAME: SJV’s last game was a 17-12 loss to Freehold Boro.
  • OTHER NOTEWORTHY MATCHUPS: With a very tough 2018 schedule, the Lancers have played the best and second best teams in the Shore, Red Bank Catholic and Rumson-Fair Haven, back-to-back; they lost both games.
  • RANKING: SJV is ranked fifth in their group (Non-Public Group 3), a group that includes RBC and other private powerhouses.
  • STRENGTHS: SJV’s offense is highlighted by two star junior transfers: QB CJ Duell and RB Kavon Chambers. Duell is a leader on the gridiron with no real weakness, and Chambers in an electric backfield option who is capable of scoring in bunches. Another transfer, D1 prospect, Damon Washington, has been a force in the defensive backfield for SJV. The final bright spots for the Lancers come on the line; D1 prospects CJ Hanson and Paul Liseno anchor a tough group of players up front.
  • THE COACH: SJV is coached by the experienced Joe Martucci in his first year at the head of the SJV football program. He has won five sectional titles and ten divisional titles as the head coach of the Matawan Regional High School football team.


A quick look at the Eagles:

  • RECORD: The Eagles are 5-1 and reign as the American Division champions.
  • LAST GAME: Middletown South’s last game was a 14-13 win over TRN.
  • OTHER NOTEWORTHY MATCHUPS: The only defeat of the Eagles’ season came at the hands of Coatesville Area High School in Pennsylvania in Week 0; the Eagles lost 62-14.
  • RANKING: Middletown South is ranked third in their group (South Group 4), a strong collection of public school teams that includes Long Branch among others.
  • STRENGTHS: Senior QB Trevor B. has been a revelation for the Eagles offense, able to be a threat with his passing or running skills, and D1 prospect Matt Tardy has continued to be a force at the tight end and linebacker positions. Middletown South is best characterized as a team loaded with weapons to use in their veer offense; wideouts Matt Krellin, Dennis Brown, Luke A., and Connor Ard highlight a deep receiver corps, and the two-headed monster of Vinny C. and Jaime P. is the soul of South’s versatile run game.
  • THE COACH: The Eagles are coached by Steve Antonucci, one of the historically great coaches in the Shore Conference over the past two decades. He is a five time state champion and 11 time conference champion, all at Middletown South.


Meaning of the Game For SJV: The stakes are very high for the Lancers. In the midst of a tough season thus far, they need to play with everything on the line in hopes of turning things around. A win against South and a win next week gets them to 4-4 with a chance to sneak into the postseason. It is also a chance to get the best of the Eagles again; last year they prevailed on their home field by a score of 21-14. Knocking off a surging South team once more en route to a possible playoff birth would be the biggest moment of their season. A loss would be simply  a huge nail in their coffin.


Meaning of the Game For South: Above all else for the Eagles, this game is about making the Middletown community proud on Homecoming night. This game is not a must win per se, but South will treat it like it is. Aside from that, this is a revenge game, and they can take an eye for an eye with an incredible home crowd watching and with a heap of momentum on their side. Winning their sixth overall, and sixth in a row, is what will dominate the collective mind of the South team as they transition towards the postseason.


Making the Pick: Eagles 27 Lancers 17 – SJV is definitely one of the better teams South will play this year, even if their record doesn’t look it. However, the Eagles are too hot to handle right now, and with a packed house on Homecoming Friday, Middletown South is cleared for takeoff.