Middletown South’s Varsity Football team came out victorious under the Friday Night Lights on October 8, beating Southern Regional and securing the Colonial Division title in the Shore Conference. The game took place far from the Eagles’ home turf at Southern Regional’s field in Manahawkin, but proved a worthwhile trek for both players and the many devoted fans from South Nation that made the hour-long trip to cheer on their team.
The game was a toss-up beforehand: there was no clear favorite, and the Eagles were confusingly ranked both above and below Southern in stats. But expectations were set high, according to senior player Jack Willi: “It was a must-win game” he explained. “We wanted to be in that upper echelon with the teams in the shore conference.”
The first stride towards victory came in the second quarter, with Junior Logan Colleran scoring after a successful screen pass from Senior Quarterback Thomas Schork.
Having the first touchdown of the game “felt great,” reflected Colleran. “Our quarterback gave me a great pass and I was able to score and help us come out with the win.”
But this feat would not be secured without a fight. Not long after South’s first touchdown, Southern Regional evened out the playing field, scoring an 85-yard rushing touchdown with less than a minute remaining in the first half.
Entering the second half of the game tied up, the Eagles brought out their A-game in the third quarter. Quarterback Thomas Schork scored a rushing 1-yard touchdown to put the Eagles back in the lead, with kicker Jake Cwakiel securing the extra point for the second time that night.
The standout moment of the game came towards the end of the third quarter, with the Eagles in possession, when Anthony Brasco caught a movie-esque circus catch that bounced off the defender’s hand, off of his own hand, and then finally snatched by him and ran into the endzone. This touchdown would prove to provide the margin of victory needed for the team to secure the win, but Southern wasn’t done just yet. They narrowed the gap in the 4th quarter with a touchdown, and had the ball in the last minutes of the game after an unfortunate penalty committed by Colleran gave the opponent back possession.
What sealed the deal for the Eagles was Jack Willi’s impressive defensive play in the last moments of the game, sacking the quarterback and bringing him 10 yards back. Willi called it “the icing on the cake” of a great game all-around for the team.
A great game and an overall impressive season so far for the Eagles, who are now 5-0 in the Shore Conference. Willi says the key to their success this season has definitely been teamwork. He states, “We’re all just a really tight knit group… I think that helps us to just rely on each other.”
Colleran added that this season has been a massive improvement from the last, where Covid stopped many students from attending the Friday night games. “We’re allowed to do a lot more, especially with the fans back in the stadium. We have a great nation… just watching them cheer for us every game is amazing.” It’s clear that students and other fans have been taking advantage of this reinstated privilege, with a large number of fans showing up to the game despite its length from South. While the Eagles suffered a loss against Rumson-Fair Haven last week, they hope their winning streak will continue this Friday, October 29, when they’ll play against Lacey Township here at home. The game starts at 7 PM.