Middletown South Soars To Victory Over Manalapan
MIDDLETOWN -- On the first cold fall night of the season, Middletown South showed no signs of cooling off from its early season success. The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10, entered the game with a record of 5-0 and 3-0 in Class A North with three shutouts, scoring 221 points and allowing only 35.
The Eagles high powered offense was once again on a mission from the opening kickoff and dismantled Manalapan in front of a packed crowd at "The Swamp", 42-7, to snap a five-game losing streak to the Braves dating back to 2010. Senior tailback Cole Rogers led the way for the Eagles with 196 yard rushing and three touchdowns on just nine carries. Senior quarterback Matt Mosquera added a rushing and a passing touchdown, and junior running James McCarthy scored on a rushing touchdown.
Senior tailback Marcus Salinas scored a rushing touchdown for Manalapan.
"This was a great win for us, but we came into this season on a mission that included more than just beating Manalapan," Rogers said. "We have to get ready for our next opponent and take care of what is in front of us."
Manalapan won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, giving the ball to Middletown South to start the game. The Eagles, on their second possession of the first quarter, wasted no time in scoring when Mosquera dropped back and found a streaking Tom Coffey down the right sideline for a 27-yard touchdown pass with 7:18 left to play in the quarter.
It was the Middletown South defense that would get into the highlight reel when on third-and-14 from its own 25-yard line, Manalapan's sophomore quarterback Luke Corcione dropped back on a passing play, but was greeted by McCarthy who sacked Corcione to bring up a fourth and long. On the ensuing punt it was McCarthy again wreaking havoc as he broke through the Braves' line and blocked the punt from Cody Weiner to set the Eagles up with first-and-goal from the 10-yard line.
Mosquera wasted very little time leading the Eagles on a two-play drive that he capped off with a touchdown run. After a first down sack that dropped them to the 16-yard line, Mosquera dropped back for a passing play but was flushed out of the pocket where he found some running room and the end zone. The Braves would block the extra point but still trailed 13-0 with 1:38 left in the first quarter.
Middletown South pushed its lead to 20-0 when on first down from the Manalapan 37-yard line, Rogers rushed up the middle and broke through the initial line of contact, never looking back as he scored the second long Eagles touchdown.
The Eagles weren't done in the half, as the defense forced the Braves to punt immediately and gave their offense the ball back at their own 37-yard line. with just under two minutes to play. That's when McCarthy went untouched for 25 yards and the score for a 27-0 halftime lead.
Middletown South would find the end zone again after an eight-play drive that resulted in Rogers rushing up the middle for a 4-yard touchdown to start the fourth quarter. The two-point conversion was successful for a 35-0 lead.
"This is how you answer the bell," said Middletown South head coach Steve Antonucci. "That was some hard work all week that showed in our execution, but now we are on to another tough opponent in Brick Memorial."
Salinas would get Manalapan on the board with a three-yard touchdown run with 1:23 left in regulation. Middletown South would tack on one more score, however, to make it 42-7 when Rogers scored on a 50-yard run after Maxx Imsho recovered Manalapan's onside kick attempt.