Jersey Mike’s Football Team of the Week: Middletown North
Every week this fall, Jersey Mike’s and Shore Sports Network will be selecting a Team of the Week based on its performance over the past weekend.
The Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week for Week 1 is Middletown North, which stunned two-time defending Central Jersey Group 4 champion and third-ranked Long Branch, 20-13, for a monumental early-season victory. Shore Sports Network was at practice Tuesday to present the Lions and head coach Steve Bush with a special game ball and a $500 Jersey Mike’s gift card.
Long Branch entered the game ranked No. 3 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 and was coming off a season-opening victory over Neptune. Despite losing several top players to graduation, the Green Wave still featured state rushing champion Jermaine Corbett, standout wide receiver Jayon Farrar, two-way lineman Tracy Taylor and linebacker Jah’Kwan Gordon. Unranked Middletown North, meanwhile, was coming off a loss to Wall on its season-opener and breaking in new starters at several positions.
The Lions struck first when a 3-yard touchdown run by senior running back Anthony Soto staked Middletown North to a 7-0 lead. Soto then threw a touchdown pass to Matt Spencer on a double pass for a 13-0 advantage. The Lions' lead grew to three scores when quarterback Nick Ferreira threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Spencer. It was a big game for Spencer, who caught five passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Ferreira completed 10 of 15 passes for 131 yards. Long Branch scored twice in the fourth quarter to make it a one-score game, but Middletown North was able to recover an onside kick late in the game and run out the clock.
Middletown North’s defense was outstanding in holding Long Branch to 154 yards of offense, including just 42 yards rushing. The Lions’ defense also came up with two clutch stops after turning the ball over in their own end. Eddie Farrell made 11 tackles with two tackles for loss and Jake Jankowski recorded 12 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble to lead the way.
The victory vaulted the Lions into the latest Shore Sports Network Top 10 and also stamped them as the early favorite in the Constitution Division. They’ll look to keep their momentum going when they host Marlboro (0-2) in Week 2.