Eagles Game Preview: Week 2

The Eagles will visit a certain nearby powerhouse for the first time in two seasons.

Eagles Game Preview: Week 2

Danny DeCrescenzo, Sports Editor

Middletown South’s Shore Conference schedule shows no mercy; back-to-back road matchups with Catholic powers is grueling. The Eagles will, after falling to Saint John Vianney last week, make the short trip to Red Bank to take on the RBC Caseys. The Eagles won’t see the 12-0, 2018 RBC squad that cruised to a state title and ruled the Shore last season, but they will see a team that will still prove to be a formidable opponent in 2019.

Evaluating the Caseys:

DYNAMIC DUO: The Caseys boast perhaps the best pair of the two way juggernauts in the country with TE/LB Kevin Bauman and TE/DE Charlie Gordonier. Both fixtures on RBC’s basketball team as well, the gridiron is where these two talents shine brightest. Bauman stands at an imposing 6’5 and weighs in at 245 pounds; he was a First Team All-Shore Selection, is a sensational blocker, racked up 15 catches for 342 yards and two TDs, and is on his way to Notre Dame next year. Gordonier, also 6’5, comes in at 240;  a Second Team All-Shore selection last season who is committed to play at Boston College next year, he did his work on defense, using his great instincts to net 83 tackles and 5.5 sacks last season. Both Bauman and Gordonier will be threats on either side of the football on every single play. The Caseys do have talent around these two, like star running back Billy Guidetti (coming off a 902 yard season while averaging a touchdown a game), but their fearsome tandem of 6’5 behemoths will be the focal point of their team.

SHOES TO FILL: RBC is bringing back several impact players from their storybook 2018 season, but they have a gaping hole: quarterback. Steve Lubischer is now at Boston College after being named the Shore’s MVP last season. His replacement is Ryan Edgerly, the son of RBC coach Frank Edgerly. While Ryan is a solid QB in his own right, he is no Steve Lubischer. RBC will need him to really start producing like the QB of old if they want to get their currently sluggish offensive unit going.

THE YEAR AFTER: Frank Edgerly’s quick ascension to be one of the Shore’s most prominent coaches over three seasons at RBC is nothing short of marvelous. While his 2019 season is off to a 1-1 start, he knows he has a team that is willing to buy in to his system and make a push towards another state title.

Evaluating the Eagles:

THE LOTITO EFFECT: No one on the Eagles is shining brighter than Chris Lotito at the moment. He was absolutely fearless against the lockdown SJV defense in Week 1, racking up a solid 69 total yards to go with a rushing TD. Lotito is also a valuable cog on defense thanks to his quickness and instincts, truly transforming him into a weapon on both sides. He’s a jack-of-all-trades type of guy who is also a great leader, the epitome of the sharp Middletown South football player that has come to define the Antonucci era. Lotito is certain to continue to be a key factor for the Eagles as they look to compete and earn their first win of the year.

RAISE THE SHIELD: The Lancers preyed on the offense of the Eagles in Week 1. They sacked QB Vinny Bonavita three times, routinely depriving him of time in the pocket. Strong defensive fronts are not going anywhere, so the Eagles must find a way to contain them and ensure Bonavita’s protection. The passing game is where things need to get in rhythm, as the offense only totaled 41 passing yards in Week 1. Matt Krellin caught one pass against the Lancers after his great outing against Manalapan, which is well below what his talent deserves to net; he needs to be targeted more for the passing game to reopen, especially with Luke Albrecht sidelined at the moment. It is clear that to advance the ball, South needs to be able to haul it downfield. On the ground, things were decent, albeit curtailed by a great defense. Lotito will have to keep playing up to his standards and Vinny Condito will need to remain a forceful, courageous runner of the ball to maximize the potential in the backfield. A tidy offense for the Eagles comes with a protected Bonavita, a consistent rush presence, and a healthy supply of Krellin receptions.

DOWN BUT NOT OUT: Coach Antonucci knew from the start that this schedule would be brutal, and it isn’t helped by the injuries befalling his team. However, he knows the level of preparation that must go into every game and will continue to prepare his players no matter the circumstances.

What are each team’s prospects?

THE CASEYS WILL WIN IF… They impose their will early. It’s so simple: the Caseys are packing two of the strongest football players in America on their front line. Brute force from the onset would be all it would take to allow the Caseys to power their way to their second win of the year.

THE EAGLES WILL WIN IF…. They consistently make plays. The defense must force turnovers and the offense has to control the ball. If the Eagles bring the heat to Count Basie, they could go wire-to-wire with a nearby rival and earn their first win in stunning fashion.

The Caseys will host the Eagles on Friday, September 20th, at 7:00 PM.