“The PA: War Eagle Weekly” #9: If That’s How Far We Go


Danny DeCrescenzo, Sport's Editor

I was unable to make the game against Hammonton due to other commitments, but I certainly heard and read about it. The Eagles, on all accounts, played hard enough on both sides of the ball to go blow-for-blow with the #1 seed in the Central Jersey Group IV bracket until the bitter end. Yet, in as tight a game as one could imagine in these state playoffs, the Eagles ultimately fell in a 32-29 shootout at the hands of the Blue Devils squad that has rightfully earned its top seed and ticket to a sectional title game. Their ace, Caleb Nartey, racked up an absurd 172 yards and 3 touchdowns all by himself, a brilliant individual effort that, when added to the overall output of his team, proved enough to outduel the heroics of Tyler Cuccia (3 TD passes, 1 TD run), Chris Lotito (1 rushing TD, 1 receiving TD), and Matt Krellin (2 receiving TDs). The Eagles, however, have no reason to hang their heads: they made life a living nightmare for Hammonton and left everything they had on that field.

The Eagles now find their “season” finished at 4-5, and, in all honesty, they should be more than proud to have picked up wins against two of the Shore’s finest teams (RBC and RFH) along with a nice victory in the postseason (Hamilton West). While I intend to save my full reflection for my post after Thanksgiving, I will say this: this season wasn’t a failure. It’s been a year of highs and lows, but man was it just one heck of a rollercoaster that isn’t done yet.

Speaking of the looming Thanksgiving game, it is certainly a unique matchup. The Lions did not play as tough a schedule as the Eagles, but they did have the privilege to suffer defeat at the hands of the mighty Wall Crimson Knights and Mater Dei Prep Seraphs, two of the top 20 teams in New Jersey. They also beat Long Branch, a task at which the Eagles failed. However, this should be a victory for the Eagles based on simple talent; the Lions don’t have a Chris Lotito on their team, nor is their defense as strong as the one the Eagles have. Yet, we have seen the Eagles get picked off by weaker opponents (i.e. Long Branch), so a win is not guaranteed. What is certain is that there is a lot riding on this game for Coach Antonucci in his potential 195th victory: Middletown South’s streak of not enduring a losing season since 1984 is in jeopardy. A win on Thanksgiving to secure a 5-5 finish is an absolute must.

The last “PA: War Eagle Weekly” will be published after the Thanksgiving game. There will be no PA articles in the meantime, but a game preview will be up in the week before the game on Turkey Day.

And so, with a bit of extra time to ready themselves for a final game, the Eagles have one thing left to do…