Star QBs Donald Glenn and George Pearson Looking to Lead Middletown North, Mater Dei Prep to State Titles
Both quarterbacks have been starting since their freshman year and piling up accolades along the way.
Now they look to add a state championship to their sparkling resumes.
Middletown North senior Donald Glenn and Mater Dei Prep junior George Pearson, who play at schools separated by less than a mile on Tindall Road in Middletown, will now look to add some team hardware by leading their respective squads to NJSIAA sectional titles on Saturday.
The second-seeded Lions will take on fourth-seeded Sayreville in the North II Group IV final at 1 p.m. at Rutgers in a bid for their first state title in 20 years, while the second-seeded Seraphs will face fourth-seeded Holy Spirit in the Non-Public Group II final at 1 p.m. at Kean University in search of their first state title in history.
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Glenn and the Lions have been building toward this season ever since he was thrown into the fire as a freshman starter to begin a historic career. He already has become the Shore Conference's all-time leading passer with 7,307 yards, blowing by the mark of 6,619 set by former Toms River East star Colin Gaynor in the early 2000s. Also, Glenn's 70 career touchdown passes are tied with former Howell star Ryan Davies for the most in Shore history.
He enters Saturday's showdown with the Bombers as the Shore's leading passer this season with 2,442 yards and 22 touchdown passes and only four interceptions in the Lions' shotgun spread scheme. Glenn, who is verbally committed to Wagner, is coming off a three-touchdown performance in a 24-6 win on Thanksgiving for Middletown North's first victory over rival Middletown South in 16 years.
"It's been really exciting,'' Glenn said. "(That win) was a big deal for us, and it gave us a lot of momentum going into Saturday."
Glenn's consistent improvement has been mirrored by the rise in Middletown North's team success under head coach Steve Bush. They have gone from a 3-7 team his freshman year to a team that has posted three straight winning seasons and playoff appearances. Their nine wins this season are the program's most since winning the Central Jersey Group IV title in 1996, and one more victory would give them double-digit victories for the first time since going 11-0 in 1983 under late Hall of Famer Vic Kubu.
"Four years really went fast,'' Glenn said. "I'm just trying to end my last game with a
When Glenn entered the program as part of a talented class that also includes wide receiver/defensive back Brendan Kube, do-it-all senior Dwight Wilkerson (1,089 total yards) and linebacker Nick Kish (100 tackles), they were predicted to be the group that would one day lead the Lions back to prominence. That day has arrived.
"We all knew it was a good group of kids and if we worked hard, we could be that championship team that really turns North around,'' Glenn said.
Glenn and Kube have particularly developed strong chemistry that has resulted in two huge seasons for Kube, who has rewritten the school record book when it comes to receiving statistics. As a junior, he had 63 catches for a school-record 1,066 yards and 7 touchdowns, and this season he has a Shore Conference-best 56 catches for 1,065 yards along with 8 touchdowns, and that's with one more game still to go. He also has 100 tackles and an interception on defense.
"He's been a huge part of our success,'' Glenn said. "He's just a kid that works hard. Coach Bush gives me the freedom to do whatever I feel at the line, so if I see something, I'll just signal Kube about a certain route, and it works out most of the time we do it."
They face a Sayreville team with a high-octane passing attack of its own that beat defending sectional champion Middletown South, 42-28, in the semifinals.
"They have a lot of athletes,'' Glenn said. "(Defensively), they have some good guys up front who are going to try to attack us, so we just have to execute the game plan given to us by Coach Bush."
The hope for this senior class is to go out on top and leave a solid foundation for Middletown North to be a perennial state title contender.
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"All the younger players have seen the work we've done in the offseason to get to this point, so I think we're going to be a program that the Shore's going to be talking about for a while,'' Glenn said.
Right down the road, Pearson is hoping to leave his mark in his first year at Mater Dei Prep. He and Glenn are somewhat intertwined in history, as Glenn threw for what was then a Shore Conference record for a freshman in 2013 with 1,563 yards and 15 touchdowns. A year later, Pearson passed both of those marks as a freshman at Matawan with 1,956 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Glenn also could easily be in Pearson's position. He was initially enrolled as an incoming freshman at Mater Dei Prep, where his sister was a senior at the time, but decided to attend Middletown North.
"I decided Coach Bush was the man to play for,'' Glenn said. "I wanted to play for a coach like that. He's helped me out tremendously on and off the field."
While Glenn has stayed with the Lions all four years, this is Pearson's third school. He started at Matawan for two years, transferred to state power St. Joseph's-Montvale last winter and then came to Mater Dei Prep before this season.
“We have a lot of new pieces and a new coaching staff, and I feel we’ve done a good job of adjusting,” Pearson said earlier this season. “Everything is falling into place.”
Pearson, who has 4,456 career passing yards of his own, is part of a star-studded group looking to lead the undefeated Seraphs to more school history on Saturday. They already have won their first division title and have a school-record 11 wins as they try to win their first state championship in the program's first appearance in a final since 1999 and just the second one in history.
While the rest of the Seraphs don't have the experience of playing in a state championship game, Pearson does. He became what is believed to be the first freshman quarterback to lead his team to a state title in Shore Conference history when Matawan captured the Central Jersey Group III crown in 2014 in a game in which he threw four touchdown passes against Carteret.
The Seraphs also have a coach with plenty of championship experience in first-year head man Dino Mangiero, who came to Mater Dei Prep after coaching perennial power Poly Prep in Brooklyn.
Pearson also has a host of weapons at his disposal led by senior wideout Eddie Lewis, who has multiple FBS offers and is one of the most explosive skill players in the state. Junior Kyle Devaney, last year's quarterback, is now a playmaking wide receiver, and senior Marvin Pierre doubles as a rugged running back in addition to being a linebacker with multiple FBS offers of his own.
Pearson is also one of only two quarterbacks in the Shore Conference with FBS offers right now in addition to Ocean senior Kenny Pickett, who is verbally committed to the University of Pittsburgh. Pearson was offered by Temple as a freshman and has since added an offer from Boston College.
The dual threat quarterback has thrown 25 touchdown passes to put him among the Shore leaders as the Seraphs have run roughshod over their schedule. No team has come closer than 22 points all season against a team whose offense ranks second in the Shore at 39.3 points per game and whose defense is No. 1 in allowing a paltry 4.5 points per game.
They are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 26-0 rout of defending champion and perennial power St. Joseph's-Hammonton in the semifinals.
With Pearson returning next season along with a host of other talent, Saturday may simply be the beginning of a dynamic shift in power in which Mater Dei Prep becomes a regular contender for state titles.