MIDDLETOWN - Steady are the deceiving hands of Trevor Brey operating the triple-option for Middletown South. The senior resembles more of a cardiologist than a quarterback, pumping life into the Eagles’ offense with rhythmic split-second decisions based on reads and instincts that gradually drain any existing life out of even the most energetic defenses.

“He’s a competitor and that’s the best thing about him,” praised Middletown South coach Steve Antonucci. “We put him in a tough spot, in an offense he’d never run before and he’s really grasped it. We call the plays, but he’s doing most of the work. He makes me look good.”

Brey aims to please, calling his own number with slick pulls on the option, managing to incorporate the depth of a loaded and diverse backfield with blends of pitches and power and still reserves enough to deliver strikes when the Eagles are moved to look downfield. His versatility, conducted behind a physical offensive line that gave him room to work, was paramount in a performance that best framed Brey’s acquaintance with the complexities of the intricate offensive scheme, emphasized during second-seeded Middletown South's 35-14 triumph over seventh-seeded Northern Burlington on Friday night in the quarterfinal round of the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 playoffs at The Swamp.

Brey was dialed in, counting a pair of touchdown scampers among his 15 keeps that reaped 121 yards to balance an 8-for-16 showing through the skies that accumulated 135 yards and a score.

“Trevor did a great job,” said bruising junior fullback Vinny Condito, who finished with 61 yards and a TD on nine hauls. “He kept on pulling it in the beginning and got two touchdowns out of it. If I’ve got to sacrifice my body for them to tackle me and he breaks away with the ball, I’m perfectly fine with that. As long as we score, it doesn’t matter.”

Middletown South (7-2), who awaits the winner of Saturday night’s showdown between sixth-seeded Jackson Memorial and third-seeded Brick, efficiently built a 28-0 cushion by the 9:10 mark of the third quarter, scoring on four of its first six possessions. Brey was directly involved in three.

He capped a nine-play, 70-yard march on the game’s opening series by spinning a 33-yard pass to junior wide receiver Connor Ard on a post route, speciously faked a dive before cutting inside for a 17-yard TD burst that stamped an eight-play march that covered 99 yards and pulled on a fake belly to Condito, veering left 21 yards into the end zone to direct South to a 21-0 advantage with 8:11 showing in the second quarter.

“As soon as I see the back of the defender turn, it’s an easy read to pull it,” explained Brey. “When I pulled the ball, (the defense) crashed inside. It’s awesome having a lot of depth in our running game and our offensive line plays a huge role. Our offense is all about pushing the defense back. They do an awesome job of that.”

Seniors Joe DellaValle and Brady Smith, along with juniors Tom Mielnikiewicz, Nick Bonfiglio, TJ Latore and senior tight end Matt Tardy assertively flexed their muscle across the line of scrimmage, instrumental in the Eagles piling up 318 yards on the ground and 453 in total.

When senior RB Jamie Petrillo raced 41 yards to hand Middletown South a 28-0 lead early in the third, the Eagles were on the verge of cruising into the semifinal round.

However, Northern Burlington (6-3) responded. First, QB Michael Caloiaro connected with WR Joseph Woods on a quick slant that exploded into a 69-yard touchdown and RB Amir Stevenson pared the deficit in half via a 36-yard scamper with 7:22 left in the fourth.

Aiding the Greyhounds’ sudden comeback were three Middletown South turnovers in the second half, including a fumble by junior RB Chris Lotito, who was itching to make amends. His chance arose on the defensive side when he broke up his third pass attempt of the evening, this one on fourth down resulting in the Eagles taking over 16 yards shy of the paydirt with just over four minutes to play.

“I had to step it up after I fumbled on offense,” Lotito confided. “I wanted to make up for the fumble and keep your head up. I knew the pass was coming my way and I made the play.”

Condito sealed the outcome, barreling his way in from two-yards out with 2:55 to go.

Not to be overlooked, Middletown South administered staunch defense throughout, limiting the Greyhounds to 175 yards of offense. Tardy collected a sack and tackle for loss.

M: Connor Ard 33 pass from Trevor Brey (Chris Kaldrovics kick)
M: Trevor Brey 17 run (Chris Kaldrovics kick)
M: Trevor Brey 21 run (Chris Kaldrovics kick)
M: Jamie Petrillo 41 run (Chris Kaldrovics kick)
N: Joseph Woods 69 pass from Michael Caloiaro (Tyler Leonard kick)
N: Amir Stevenson 36 run (Tyler Leonard kick)
M: Vin Condito 2 run (Michael O’Connor kick)