“The PA: War Eagle Weekly” #10: At Ease


It really is over.

In yet another Thanksgiving Day matchup between the North and South, the Eagles bested their crosstown rivals 21-7 to keep the Middletown Cup on the south side of town for another year. The game was a fitting end not only for the careers of the seniors but also for a season that was unfathomably wild.

The game itself was pretty much business as usual for South: run the ball and play stellar defense. Vinny Condito, in a superb final performance on the ground, got South on the board super early with a close TD run, and Chris Lotito rounded out the scores with two of his signature bursts into the endzone. North was helpless as South mercilessly advanced the ball on a very windy day, with Tyler Cuccia supplying his own signature speed to the attack. Matt Krellin, in his final high school game, paced the Big 4’s all-around great play by making several key catches despite the weather. Defensively, South created chaos with three interceptions (one by Cuccia, two by Lotito) and several big tackles (Matt Krellin, Nick Bonfiglio, and Jack Prancl leading the way). North would only get on the board in the final 19 seconds, but it hardly even mattered. Chris Lotito was fittingly named the game’s offensive MVP for his prowess on that side of the gridiron. It was a good win for a good group of guys that came together to produce quality football one last time.

Beating North got the Eagles to 5-5, something that seemed like a pipe dream after South fell to 1-4 after a heartbreaking loss to Toms River North. So much factored into that sluggish start, but that’s not the point. The point is that the Eagles proved that finishing strong could make all the difference in the world, winning three straight (including victories over RFH on the road and Hamilton West in the postseason) to salvage the season. The new American Division is no joke (featuring a trio of 2018 sectional champions), but the Eagles ultimately showed everyone they belonged. In the face of what Coach Antonucci rightfully called the toughest schedule in program history, the Eagles were a .500 football team that came within 3 points of a sectional final appearance and finished the year ranked #9 in the Shore Conference. The poor start and inconsistency aside, this was a nice and memorable season for Middletown South. This year’s Eagles squad, ripe with terrific senior talent and up-and-coming stars, continued a tradition of excellence dating back to 1984: no losing seasons.

It was my pleasure to cover Middletown South Football with my “War Eagle Weekly” series. With fall sports at last coming to a close, be on the lookout for next week’s “The PA” with a new sports season in full swing.