Point Boro Rallies to Beat Central 26-21 and Remain Undefeated
BAYVILLE -- 'Tale of two halves', 'raining cats and dogs', 'better late than never - whatever clichè you wanted to use for Friday night's Central versus Point Boro football game would have fit.
Point Boro overcame a late start time and a 14-point first half deficit to come from behind and defeat Central 26-21 in a crucial Shore Conference Class B South game. Senior fullback Nate Husak ran for a game-high 178 yards and a touchdown and senior quarterback Noah Husak added 88 yards rushing and three touchdowns as the Panthers improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2007.
Central junior running back Mike Bickford ran for 120 yards and scored all three of the Golden Eagles' touchdowns in the first half.
Central, which entered the game with a record of 3-2 overall and 2-1 in B South, came out of the gates quickly when Bickford broke through the Panthers' defensive line on a fourth-and-three for a 46-yardd touchdown.
Point Boro got back to work on offense and started to chip away at the Central defensive line. A combined rushing attack from Nate and Noah Husak, the brothers would rush for 283 yards and four touchdowns. It would be Noah that would capitalize early for the Panthers when he dove forward for the tying score from the Eagles 1-yard line with 1:43 remaining in the opening quarter.
This would be the only scoring of the half for Point Boro, which was unable to get anything going in the second quarter. Central, behind the arm of senior quarterback Mike Miserendino and the legs of Bickford, seemed to have taken control of the game in the second quarter with two scoring drives that put the Eagles ahead at the half, 21-7.
It was Bickford who would break free for another long touchdown run, this time around the left side for 24 yards untouched with just over 4:25 remaining in the half. With the Panthers offense finding success up the middle, the Eagles defense pulled together on the next drive and limited the Husak brothers to short gains and forced Point Boro to punt the ball back with just under two minutes remaining in the half.
This was plenty of time for Central's offense to capitalize one more time before the half. With just under 30 seconds remaining, Miserendino found a wide open Denis Corbin, who made a tremendous one-handed grab and then scrambled to the 1-yard line. This would set up Bickford for his third score of the half on a 1-yard dive over the right side of the offensive line.
With the first half behind them and not close to what they had prepared for during the week, the Point Boro offense came out of the locker room and showed why they entered the game undefeated. The Panthers would go on to score twice in the third quarter and cut into the Eagles lead by the end of the third, trailing 21-20.
"We battled back against a tough Central team tonight, and I am extremely proud of my group tonight," said Point Boro head coach Sean Henry. "We made some halftime adjustments and made the plays in the second half we needed to make to get back into the game"
Make plays they did indeed. The Panthers received to start the second half and started at their own 31, and from there it was power running from Nate and Noah Husak, who needed just four plays in a 1:07 to get the Panthers back on the board. On the first play Nate Husak ran up the middle for seven yards. Noah Husak followed with a three-yard sneak and then a 15-yard off tackle run. Central helped the Panthers out with a late hit on Noah Husak, which tacked on an additional 15 yards and brought the ball to the Central 29-yard line. On the next play, Nate Husak found an opening on the left side for a 29-yard touchdown run. The Panthers would connect on the extra point and claw to within 21-14.
The Panthers turned up the pressure on defense and forced the Eagles to go three-and-out, punting the ball back in just under two minutes. Point Boro would once again go back to the ground game and ran off 15 plays and took seven minutes of clock in the third quarter. It would be Noah Husak's turn to find the end zone in the second half, and his second touchdown of the game on a four-yard run up the middle had the Panthers within one. The extra point try hit the upright, however, and the Panthers still trailed 21-20.
Riding high on momentum, the Panthers continued their pressure on Central's Miserendino and forced him to scramble out to his right on the third play of the next drive, and his pass was intercepted at the 20-yard line by junior defensive back Kyler Rossi . Point Boro would completely dominate the third quarter, running the clock for nine minutes, running 19 offensive plays and holding Central to just three minutes of offense and only seven offensive snaps.
As with the start of the third quarter, Point Boro wasted no time finding the end zone, and it was once again Noah Husak with the quarterback keeper to put the Panthers ahead for the first time in the contest with a four-yard touchdown run. The Panther would fail on the two-point conversion but now led 26-21.
Central had no answer in the second half for the pressure from the Panthers on both sides of the ball. Point Boro's offensive and defensive lines came alive in the second half and helped propel the Panthers to 5-0 overall and 4-0 in B South, scoring 108 points and allowing a division-low 34 points. The stingy defense was able to keep the high-powered Central offense led by Miserendino and Bickford in check and off the scoreboard in the second half.
With the loss Central now finds itself in a dog fight to make the playoffs sitting at 3-3 overall and 2-2 in B South. Next up for Point Boro are two tough contests against Barnegat on October 16 and No. 10 Raritan on October 23. Central looks to win out and will have to go through Manchester, Donovan Catholic and Jackson Liberty.