“The PA: War Eagle Weekly” #3: Spreading Their Wings

“The PA: War Eagle Weekly” #3: Spreading Their Wings

Danny DeCrescenzo, Sports Editor

Win number 191 for Coach Antonucci was unforgettable: a 29-7 dismantling of a defending state champion Red Bank Catholic squad at Count Basie Field.


What. A. Night.


The Eagles simply came ready to play. Chris Lotito returned the opening kickoff to the 48, Tyler Cuccia (in his first varsity start at QB) ran for 39 yards on the first play of the game, and Mike D’Amato capped off an impressive first drive with a field goal to put the Eagles ahead 3-0. The Eagles clearly were a team possessed: the field goal gave Middletown South their first points scored in the first half of a game all season, and their first lead of a game all season. The fact that they were able to bulldoze a defense anchored by two national recruits from the get-go was absolutely incredible. While RBC would briefly take a 7-3 lead after their opening drive ended in a TD, it was the last time a Casey would set foot in the endzone; the rest of the game was all Middletown South. 


On both sides of the ball, Middletown South did what they had to do: make plays.


Defensively, Middletown South bent but didn’t break. Billy Guedetti certainly had a great game yardage-wise for the Caseys, but he was prevented from breaking free for a score. Charlie Gordonier and Kevin Bauman were neutralized as well, due in large part to the terrific pressure placed on Ryan Edgerly, RBC’s quarterback. Speaking of Edgerly, he was sacked three times (twice by Joe Stanzione, once by Liam Murphy) and picked off in the endzone (by Chris Lotito). The play of the night on defense came with Tommy DeMarco’s recovery of the Eagles’ kickoff, denying RBC the ball back after a South score. One thing was made crystal clear: Middletown South’s defense is legit. As they proceed to take on the potent attacks the American Division has to offer, the Eagles will have no fear facing their opponents after this defensive effort.


On offense, what the Eagles did was beautiful. Fullback Vinny Condito was the glue that held it all together. His Herculean efforts to power through the RBC defense kept South moving the chains all night long, and there were plenty of times in that game that three defenders were needed to bring him down. Lotito again was phenomenal in the backfield with his agility, picking up yardage off of options at every turn. He even showed off his arm with a 20 yard halfback TD pass to Matt Krellin. Krellin, after only one catch against SJV, was back to his usual self with several key receptions alongside his touchdown, including a 32 yard snag with two defenders draped all over him. Orchestrating this offensive superpower was the man of the hour: Cuccia. He stole the show on Friday night, scoring three rushing touchdowns; two came from the 1 yard line (“Trevor Brey keepers”) and one was a dash to the zone from 23 yards out. His performance against such a formidable defense was nothing short of spectacular. Not only is he wicked fast, but his arm is really solid as well (evidenced by his consistently hitting Krellin on the money), making him a bona fide dual-threat. This senior quartet led the way, and combined with an inspired effort from the offensive line (Tyler Kline’s recovery of a live ball being a display of pure hustle), it is pretty safe to say that South’s offense has at last showed what it is really capable of, and it should get every Middletown South fan extremely excited for what is to come.


South defeating RBC by such a large margin has serious consequences on the pecking order of Shore Conference football. RBC, now at 1-2, is unquestionably no longer the powerhouse they were last season, and will likely find themselves out of the Shore’s Top 10 (they stood at #6 upon playing South). For South, this puts them right back into the Top 10 and proves that they are a team that should not be taken lightly. It was exactly what the Eagles needed to silence all doubters and set their season on the right course; the remarkable upset, in the words of Rich Chrampanis of Jersey Sports Zone, “turned heads around New Jersey.” With a bye week coming up before taking on Long Branch, on October 4th, South will have plenty of time to recover and prepare for what should be a perfect opportunity to get to 2-2. 


The Eagles are ready for takeoff.