Upon learning of tragic news in the Marlboro athletic family and school community, Marlboro boys soccer coach Dave Santos and athletic director Dave Ryden explored the possibility of postponing Monday's NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV opening-round game against Colts Neck by one or two days.

Perhaps another son of another father might have needed the extra time to process what happened, but P.J. Ringel and his family thought the best thing to do during a sad, uncertain time was to play.

One day after losing his father, Ringel scored two goals, including an overtime winner, to lift Marlboro to an emotional, 3-2 win over Colts Neck to extend its outstanding season and honor his late father.

Marlboro senior P.J. Ringel scored his team's second goal on Thursday night. (Photo by Matt Manley)
Marlboro senior P.J. Ringel scored two goals Monday, including the overtime game-winner, just one day after the passing of his father. (Photo by Matt Manley)

"This is something we're all feeling," Marlboro coach Dave Santos said. "This is a really tight-knit group and P.J. is an emotional leader for us, so it's hard to see him and his family have to go through something like this. I think all the guys and the coaches just wanted to show him that we're there for him.

Jack Ringel, 67, was killed Sunday morning in a car accident according to Marlboro coach Dave Santos. Ringel was an accomplished basketball coach at Grady High School in Brooklyn, where he coached, among others, former Rutgers star and NBA guard Quincy Douby. In 24 seasons as the Grady coach, he won three city championships and one N.Y. state title and was honored as a New York state high school basketball Hall of Fame inductee.

Santos said the team spent time with Ringel and his family on Sunday and honored their teammate's late father Monday with black armbands and written initials and other various messages on parts of their uniform. Prior to Monday's game, both Marlboro and Colts Neck, as well as those in attendance, shared a moment of silence to honor Jack Ringel. Following the game, the two officials presented Ringel with the game ball.

Colts Neck rallied from a 2-0 deficit to send the game to overtime, with Louis Reale scoring the second of his two goals in the final two minutes of regulation.

That set the stage for Ringel, who, five minutes into overtime, dribbled between a pair of defenders, created space and unleashed a low, left-footed shot that found the far side netting and ended the game. Overcome, Ringel collapsed to the ground as his teammates mobbed him for a subdued pile-on.

Ringel also opened the scoring in the 14th minute on a through-ball from Brian Dates and Marlboro made it 2-0 on a goal by Steven Karp.

With his two goals Monday, Ringel passed Bryan DaSilva on both the all-time scoring and goals leaderboard in Marlboro history. He is now third in total points and second in goals in Marlboro history.

Ringel is a two-sport star at Marlboro and only plays soccer three months out of the year. He plays basketball year-round and since he did not have a chance to pay tribute to his father on the familiar hardwood, he did it on the soccer pitch instead.

"Jack was a basketball guy, so I told the guys before overtime, if we're going to put on a show for P.J.'s father, he's not going to want to look down and watch a boring 2-0 soccer game. He wants to see some scoring and some action.

"Sure enough, it was P.J. who got the goal, but that's P.J. He lives for big moments, but this is obviously something much different. It really was an incredible moment for him on a really tough day."

Santos said did not know whether Ringel will play Thursday against North Brunswick in the sectional quarterfinals, as the family will hold a memorial service on Tuesday and sit Shiva from there.

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