Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey Football Players of the Week: Red Bank’s Nigel Mitchell, Makai Mickens and Kevin Weisman
Every week this season, Shore Conference football fans will have their chance to vote for the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey/Shore Sports Network Football Player of the Week on our website, with over 160,000 votes cast so far this season.
The winner of the readers’ vote for the Shore Sports Network Football Player of the Week from the Thanksgiving games is the Red Bank trio of Nigel Mitchell, Makai Mickens and Kevin Weisman, who played huge roles in the Bucs’ stunning 21-20 overtime upset of No. 9 Long Branch on Thanksgiving Eve.
Mitchell had touchdown runs of 66 and 11 yards, Mickens had a 22-yard touchdown run and a blocked extra point and Weisman made 15 tackles, including 10 solo stops and four tackles for loss, to lead Red Bank past Long Branch for the Ty Lewis Trophy. Red Bank entered the game with a 1-8 record while Long Branch was 8-2 and will play in the Central Jersey Group IV final on Saturday.
Tied at 14 entering overtime Long Branch scored first to take a 20-14 lead, but Mickens came through the line untouched off the left side to dive and block the extra point. That gave the Bucs the chance to win the game on their overtime possession, which they did on Mitchell’s 11-yard touchdown run and Chris Maida’s successful extra point.
A blocked punt by sophomore David Hicks set up a 22-yard touchdown run by Mickens to give Red Bank a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Long Branch tied the score at seven in the second quarter, but Mitchell put the Bucs back in front with a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Long Branch tied the score with three minutes in regulation left to force overtime.
Red Bank began the season 0-8 but closed with two straight wins to enter the offseason with positive momentum. For the season, Mitchell, a junior, ran for 591 yards and six touchdowns while also leading the team with 22 receptions for 330 yards and a touchdown. Mickens, a sophomore, ran for 618 yards and six touchdowns and, on defense, made 43 tackles with two interceptions and four pass break-ups. Weisman, a senior, had a tremendous year with 117 tackles (71 solo) along with 10 tackles for loss, two sacks and two pass break-ups.
Mitchell, Mickens and Weisman had more than double the votes of the Middletown South combo of brothers Jake and Matt Krellin. In the Eagles’ 21-6 win over Middletown North on Thanksgiving Day, Jake, a senior, had a career-high three touchdown runs while Matt, a sophomore, had a career-high three interceptions.