MONROE — Nursing a one-point lead with just over a minute to play, Myles Hartsfield came up with a game-ending interception, clinching a heart-pounding 35-34 victory for the Sayreville High School football team over Monroe Friday evening at Hugh Walsh Stadium in the Central Group V Tournament’s First Round. The fifth-seeded Bombers advance to the semifinals against top-seeded Manalapan, a last-second, 14-13 winner over Brick Memorial Friday night.
Hartsfield picked off Monroe quarterback Kyle Volkmann at the Sayreville 40-yard line and returned the ball deep into Falcons territory to effectively end it. The Bombers were in complete control of the game, up 28-19 at the end of the third quarter, but Monroe simply wouldn’t go away. The fourth-seeded Falcons turned up the pressure, pulling out all of the stops in the process to take a six-point lead.
On their first possession of the fourth quarter, Monroe worked the ball to the Sayreville 5 on fourth down and lined up for a field goal that would have cut the lead to single digits.
But instead of kicking it, Volkmann who was serving as the holder, spun around and found Cameron Coleman in the corner of the end zone for a 12-yard score. After the point after attempt was good and the Falcons were down just two, they decided to try another trick play.
Ryan Schreiber bounced a perfect onsides kick that the Falcons would recover at the Bombers’ 41 and three plays later, Akeer Franklin rolled in from 3 yards out to miraculously put Monroe on top. Volkmann tossed a two-point conversion to David Betancur to make the score 34-28.
But the Bombers showed their mettle, going 50 yards on just four plays in less than two minutes to re-take the lead for good. Deion Miller, who had been bottled up all night long, scored his second touchdown of the game, this time from 11 yards out, and Adrian Lapinski added the PAT to make the score 35-34.
Monroe’s last-gasp effort from the 46 came up short, as Hartsfield left his stamp on yet another Sayreville victory.
“He’s been a steady player for us all year long and what he does doesn’t surprise us anymore,” Sayreville head coach George Najjar said. “He’s a tremendous player and a huge part of what we do.”
Hartsfield scored three first half touchdowns, running in from 7, 37 and 32 yards, and finished with 115 yards on the ground for the evening. Miller, whose longest run of the night was just 24 yards, scored twice and totaled 67 all-purpose yards.
“Credit to the kids; there’s no quit in them,” Najjar said. “They’ve worked hard and I’m happy for them. They deserve this one after making a few big plays down the stretch. It really seemed like the team that had the ball last was going to win, but fortunately, our kids stepped up and made a few big stops on that last drive.”
Franklin was a beast for Monroe, carrying 33 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns. Volkmann rushed 11 times for 63 yards and added three completions for 61 yards.
S – Hartsfield 7 run (Lapinski kick)
M – Volkmann 37 run (Schreiber kick)
S – Hartsfield 32 run (Lapinksi kick)
M – Franklin 8 run (kick failed)
S – Hartsfield 50 run (Lapinski kick)
M – Volkmann 8 run (pass failed)
S – Miller 6 run (Lapinski run)
M – Coleman 12 pass from Volkmann (Schreiber kick)
M – Franklin 3 run (Betancur pass from Volkmann)
S – Miller 11 run (Lapinski kick)
RUSHING: S – Hartsfield 15-115, Miller 10-61, Pressley 4-42; M – Franklin 33-149, Volkmann 11-63.
PASSING: S – Pressley 1-1-6; M – Volkmann 3-4-1-61.
RECEIVING: S – Miller 1-6; M – Betantcur 2-49, Coleman 1-12.