Football – No. 10 Middletown North Hands No. 6 Wall First Loss on Blocked Extra Point
Coming into this weekends action there were nine-undefeated teams inside the Shore Conference including Wall, which entered ranked No. 6 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. Depending on the results of this weekend that number slims down to at least eight after the No. 10 Lions held on for a thrilling 21-20 Shore Conference Class B North victory on Friday night.
"I really think it was just a team effort," said Middletown North head coach Steve Bush. "We had a lot of guys step up when they had to, and had a few guys injured and guys had to fill in for them. We made some plays when we had to. They're (Wall) a very good football team, they're doing a great job on both sides of the ball. We knew it was going to be a big challenge but our guys rose to it tonight."
Wall junior quarterback Eddie Scott scored on a 1-yard run with under a minute left in the game to pull Wall to within a point, but the extra point try was low and blocked, enabling Middletown North to win its third straight game and knock the Crimson Knights from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Friday night's game at Wall Township High School on a night where they crowned the Homecoming King and Queen didn't have the cinderella ending head coach Dan Curcione and the Knights were hoping for.
With two defensive line's performing well throughout the night, the running game was tamed for both the Lions and the Knights. This put the game on the shoulders of Middletown North senior quarterback Donald Glenn (279 yards passing with three touchdowns) for the Lions and Scott, (139 yards passing) for the Crimson Knights.
Glenn's three touchdown passes were no dump-off throws either, consisting of a 69-yard grab and go by Marc Cerbo (3 catches for 80 yards) with 7:34 remaining in the first quarter, and two deep routes run by Brendan Kube (3 catches for 68 yards) for a 40 yard-score with 10:03 left in the 3rd quarter and 23 yards with 5:02 remaining in the game.
"I think we moved the ball pretty well," Glenn said. "It was a team effort."
The two touchdown receptions by Kube proved to be the difference in the game and Glenn adds it was something he spotted in Wall's defense which aided the play.
"I saw the corners playing off him all night," said Glenn. "He ran a straight go route and the corners had their back turned so I knew when I threw it, he would make the catch."
Despite winning the time of possession battle, Wall's ability to finish off a drive with points seemed more difficult to come by as the game moved on. The Crimson Knights punted on four of their five first-half possessions, all of which were three-and-outs. In the second half, they punted on two of their four possessions.
All together Wall held the ball for 25:58 and Middletown North kept the ball for 19:58.
"We felt like we could throw it," said Bush. "We felt we had some things open and Donald did a really good job making some big plays. We have a number of guys we can get the ball to and I think we did a good job with that today."
When it came to evaluating his quarterback's performance against Wall, Bush was pleased.
"I think he did a great job, he can always do better, but I think he did a great job," said Bush. "He threw the ball real well, made some gutsy throws, and was very accurate. He's an excellent player."
The game was close well into the second half of play following a 7-6 Middletown North lead at the break due to an extra point that sailed wide for Wall in the first half. Sean Larkin had run 15 yards up the home side for the Knights score with 5:49 left in the first half.
In the second half after Wall went three-and-out, the Lions only needed one play to go up 14-6 on Glenn's first touchdown pass to Kube. Wall tied the score at 14 as Scott rushed off the right tackle for a 5-yard touchdown with 7:31 remaining in the fourth quarter before throwing to R.J. Janeczek to complete the two-point conversion attempt.
The Lions roared right back on a five-play drive which ended in a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kube with 5:02 left in the game. Wall spent 4:30 on the next drive which ended with Scott rushing in from one-yard out to bring the Knights to within one at 21-20. Middletown North had initially stopped Wall on fourth-and-goal, but a pass interference call gave the Knights one more play.
A mishandled snap followed by a block by the Lions defensive front, led by Jake Goldfarb, halted the momentum. An onside kick attempt by Wall was recovered by Middletown North sealing the win.
Vin Ebenau is a Shore Sports Network Contributor. You can follow him on Twitter @VinEbenau. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.