Cole Rogers’ Huge Game Sends No. 1 Middletown South Back to a Sectional Championship
By Vin Ebenau - Shore Sports Network Contributor
MIDDLETOWN -- Playing in front of its home crowd, top-seeded Middletown South stepped on the gas right from the gate en route to a 41-14 victory over Middletown North in the semifinals of the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group IV playoffs, propelling them into the championship with a chance at a perfect season.
The undefeated Eagles (10-0) will play defending-champion Phillipsburg, which defeated Colonia 28-13 in the other semifinal, in the title game on the first weekend of December. Middletown South will be going for its 10th sectional title and first since 2006.
The Eagles will also play the Middletown North on Thursday in their annual Thanksgiving Day game.
Senior running back Cole Rogers led the flight for the Eagles out of the backfield with 22 carries for 242 rushing yards in a four-touchdown performance.
Rogers’ teammate, senior quarterback Matt Mosquera, threw the ball 10 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns while also running the ball six times for 37 yards.
The scoring began on the Eagles’ second possession after a Tom Coffey interception. Two plays into the drive, Rogers scored the first of his four touchdowns with a 28-yard run with 7:41 left in the first quarter. The extra point was missed, making it 6-0 Middletown South.
After the Lions punted, the Eagles engineered a five-play drive with two big passes going to Spencer Peerless, whose 15-yard touchdown catch put Middletown South up 13-0 late in the first quarter.
The Eagles fumbled the ball on their next possession but made up for it on their next sequence of plays when Coffey was on the receiving end of a five-yard touchdown pass form Mosquera with a mere 7.1 seconds left before halftime.
Middletown South led 20-0 at the break with Middletown North set to receive the second-half kickoff. The Lions fumbled the kickoff return, which landed in the arms of an Eagles special teamer.
The Eagles once again needed just two plays before making another scoring splash. Again it was Rogers who ran it in from 33 yards out with 11:11 left in the third quarter for a 27-0 Middletown South lead.
What turned out to be a fast-paced, wild third quarter gave the Lions a glimmer of hope when their next drive resulted in Chad Freshnock punching the ball in from the two-yard line with 4:39 remaining in the third quarter.
With the score now 27-7 the Eagles fumbled the kickoff return to give the Lions great field position. One play later, junior quarterback Donald Glenn threw a laser downfield to hit junior wide receiver Brendan Kube in stride for a 45-yard touchdown with 4:25 left in the quarter.
Not to be outdone, the Eagles finished out the exciting quarter with Rogers’ third touchdown of the game to take a 34-14 lead.
After Maxx Imsho intercepted Glenn, the Eagles drove down the field for their final score of the game when Rogers punched the ball in with 9:34 still to go in the game for a 41-14 lead for Middletown South.
The Lions fumbled late on their next drive and the Eagles ran the clock out with close to four minutes left to hold on for the win.