Category Archives: Asbury Park Press

Liao leads South Brunswick into Central Group V title game

MONMOUTH JCT. – The intellect of Josh Liao came to the forefront at the absolute biggest moment of the game and the South Brunswick football team’s season.

With the clock running on 4th-and-goal and the game tied 21-21, Liao made a heads-up decision to audible from a run to a pass, finding a wide open Mohamed Jabbie in the end zone as time expired, sending top-seeded South Brunswick to a 27-21 victory over fifth-seeded Manalapan on Friday night.

The win vaults the Vikings into the NJSIAA Central Group V title game on Dec. 5 against third-seeded Old Bridge, a 26-12 winner over New Brunswick on Friday night, in an all-GMC Red Division showdown for the sectional title.

“I looked at the sideline and they were yelling at me to spike the ball,” Liao said of the game’s final play. “I knew it was fourth down and we didn’t have any timeouts left, so we called a play to go up the middle, but I saw the Manalapan defense crashing in, so I thought about rolling outside to bye myself some time, so I rolled out and the corner came at me, and I saw Mo open and I hit him. It was a great play.”

Liao finished 16 of 21 for 185 yards and the winning touchdown, with a 33-yard completion to Wendell Allen on 3rd-and-22 with 2:40 remaining to continue the Vikings’ final drive.

“I saw Wendell and he has been working with me all summer and all season and he’s the fastest player on our team,” Liao said. “I said let’s give him a shot, and they had defense over the top and I tried to fit it in there and Wendell made a great catch and it was all him.”

Phil Campbell’s third touchdown run of the game put South Brunswick up 21-7 with 51 seconds left in the third quarter, seemingly putting the Vikings in command. But Manalapan showed the heart of a champion to battle back, scoring just 88 seconds into the fourth quarter on a Chris Maksimik 1-yard run to cut into the lead.

After South Brunswick went three-and-out, Jaier Garrett was back to punt, but he didn’t get the ball off of his foot and the Braves took over at the South Brunswick 34. Five plays later, Manalapan scored to knot the game at 21-21, when quarterback Luke Corcione hit Reily Radosevich for a 23-yard touchdown.

With exactly five minutes to play, the Vikings got the ball back and marched down the field on a 13-play, 69-yard drive, taking up every available second on the clock to advance to their third sectional final in the last four seasons.

“It wasn’t supposed to be that kind of a call,” Jabbie said of the game’s final play and his 10th catch of the night. “Josh made the call of his life and he popped it up to me and I was wide open and caught it.”

Jabbie, who has committed to play at Rutgers, will lead his Vikings onto the High Point Solutions Stadium turf after bringing in 10 passes for 85 yards.

“I just knew that I had to make a big play. Coach always says that big time players make big time plays in big time games,” Jabbie said.

Campbell finished with 63 yards on 22 carries and the three touchdowns for South Brunswick. Manalapan’s Marcus Salinas also had 63 yards rushing on 19 carries, but was held in check after a big opening drive in which he has eight carries for 41 yards. Corcione was 7 of 13 for 151 yards for the Braves, who had ended South Brunswick’s perfect season in the Central Group V final last December.

MANALAPAN (6-5) 7-0-0-14-21

SOUTH BRUNSWICK (9-1) 0-14-7-6-27

SCORING SUMMARY

M – Maksimik 1 run (Wiener kick)

SB – Campbell 1 run (Fehte kick)

SB – Campbell 11 run (Fehte kick)

SB – Campbell 1 run (Fehte kick)

M – Maksimik 1 run (Wiener kick)

M – Rodosevich 23 pass from Corcione (Wiener kick)

SB – Jabbie 1 pass from Liao

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – M: Corcione 7-13-151; SB: Liao 16-21-185.

Rushing – M: Salinas 19-63, Corcione 3-28, Mayfield 2-12, Maksimik 3-4; SB: Campbell 22-63, Liao 5-21, Allen 5-15.

Receiving – M: Scherzer 1-61, Mayfield 4-42, Salinas 1-25, Radosevich 1-23; SB: Jabbie 10-85, Shorter 3-42, Allen 1-33, Garrett 2-25.

Metuchen blitzes Keansburg 33-0

KEANSBURG Metuchen head coach Bob Ulmer spoke to his players following a road victory against Keansburg about how Saturday’s contest could have been a bit of a trap game. The Bulldogs certainly didn’t play like a team that was looking ahead to the rest of its season.

Behind 155 yards rushing from Trevor Firgau and 88 yards on the ground from Peter DiMeglio, Metuchen blitzed Keansburg en route to a 33-0 victory Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback Jake Lebovits went 5 of 6 passing for 80 yards and four different players scored touchdowns for Metuchen (4-1).

“We’ll take it any way we can, whether it’s throwing or running, so we just so happened to get it going on the ground here today. Jake did a nice job throwing the ball around when we needed him to,” Ulmer said. “We have a number of kids that can score and lead us, so it’s a big plus to have that.”

Metuchen led 20-0 at the half and forced Keansburg to punt on the opening possession in the second half before DiMeglio raced 60 yards untouched for a touchdown, effectively putting the game out of reach for good. The Bulldogs only ran six plays on offense in the second half, but scored on two of them, the second of which came on Firgau’s two-yard plunge with 4:30 left to cap the scoring.

“We knew Keansburg was going to be hungry. They got a win last week, so we just wanted to be ready to go,” Firgau said. “The line did a great job blocking, we only had one turnover, which is one more than we hoped for, but this was a good team win.”

Keansburg (1-4) had run only five offensive plays when it found itself down 14-0 in the first quarter, after Lebovits ran in from three yards out and Firgau raced home from eight yards away to put Metuchen up by two scores.

After a Titans punt, Firgau fumbled at the Keansburg 15, but the Bulldogs’ defense came up with its second of four stops on fourth down to keep the hosts off the board.

“We knew we were playing pretty well in the first half and defensively we made a couple of big plays, so we just wanted to work on the little things and close the game out, which we were able to do,” Firgau said.

Just one week after earning its first win of the season, Keansburg was bottled up by the Metuchen defense, gaining only 171 yards on offense, led by Arkeyel Brown’s 49 yards on the ground on 17 carries. Ian Terry went 2 of 2 passing for 51 yards, but managed only 16 yards on 12 rushing attempts.

METUCHEN (4-1) 14-6-7-6 — 33

KEANSBURG (1-4) 0-0-0-0 — 0

SCORING SUMMARY

M–Lebovits 3 run (Maloney kick)

M–Firgau 8 run (Maloney kick)

M–Miller 5 run (kick failed)

M–DiMeglio 60 run (Maloney kick)

M–Firgau 2 run (kick blocked)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – M: Lebovits 5-6-80; K: Terry 2-2-51.

Rushing – M: Firgau 17-155, DiMeglio 8-88, Lebovits 2-8, Miller 2-7; K: Brown 17-49, Terry 12-16, Crespo 1-14, Vital 3-minus 1, Osterbye 1-minus 2.

Receiving – M: Serieux 2-39, DiMeglio 2-21, Miller 1-20; K: Brown 1-44, Osterbye 1-7.

Keansburg escapes with win at South River

SOUTH RIVER Arkeyel Brown scored a pair of rushing touchdowns, but made his biggest play of the day on defense, stripping South River’s Mario Nigro of the ball at the goal line and recovering it in the end zone to preserve an 18-13 victory for the Keansburg High School football team on Saturday afternoon.

South River (0-4) got the football with 3:02 left after Ian Terry put the Titans in front by five and drove it down to the 17 of Keansburg. Nigro, who threw for eight yards, caught an 8-yard pass and ran for 36 yards on the drive, appeared to be on his way into the end zone for the winning score, but Brown tracked him down from behind and stripped the senior of the ball, giving the Titans (1-3) their first win of the season.

“I saw him going to the right and I saw him break one tackle, so I figured he was already on his way down and I just tried to rip it away from him,” Brown said. “That was an amazing feeling to recover the ball and get this win.”

Brown had scored Keansburg’s first two touchdowns of the game, racing 71 yards up the middle late in the first quarter and 27 yards with 1:35 left in the third stanza on his way to finishing with a game-high 155 yards on 21 carries.

But after Terry’s touchdown put the visitors in front, Keansburg head coach John Bird thought he might have given South River too much time.

“I was a little worried, not in our guys, but that South River had the ball with so much time. We were hoping to give them the ball back with very little left,” Bird said. “But at the end of the day, my guys worked harder than they have all season this week. It took a little bit of time for them to gel with me taking over, but this is positive step. They were ready for the situation and it proved itself today.”

The Titans were put to the test by South River on a day where the field conditions deteriorated and the weather worsened as the game went on.

“We went away from our offense just a little bit,” Bird said in regards to the weather affecting his team. “That last touchdown drive, we just had Arkeyel and Ian run the ball and hand it to each other and our offensive line got a push and we got into the end zone that way.”

Nigro finished with 128 rushing yards on 25 carries, was 4-8 for 53 yards passing and hauled in one pass for eight yards. He was the main source of offense for the Rams, scoring their second touchdown of the day just 30 seconds after Brown’s 27-yard jaunt.

But on the final possession, Nigro lost the grip of the football on the goal line, coming up just one yard short of a dramatic scoring play.

South River’s first touchdown of the game came when freshman Michael Desantis found Kareem Wilson for a six-yard score in the final minute of the first half. Desantis was 1-2 passing for those six yards and the touchdown. Khaliyl Everett rushed 10 times for 27 yards as a change-of-pace option for South River.

KEANSBURG (1-3) 6-0-6-6 — 18

SOUTH RIVER (0-4) 0-7-6-0 — 13

SCORING SUMMARY

K–Brown 71 run (run failed)

SR–Wilson 6 pass from Desantis (Desantis kick)

K–Brown 27 run (pass failed)

SR–Nigro 2 run (kick failed)

K–Terry 3 run (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – K: Terry 0-1-0, Vital 0-1-0; SR: Nigro 4-8-53, Desantis 1-2-6.

Rushing – K: Brown 21-155, Vital 6-31, Terry 7-14, Castell 2-6; SR: Nigro 25-128, Everett 10-27, Hart 1-7.

Receiving – K: None; SR: Pacheco 2-21, Everett 1-21, Wilson 2-17, Nigro 1-8.

Asbury Park holds off Metuchen

METUCHEN — Charles Sanders scored the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard run with just over six minutes to play, and the Asbury Park High School football team’s defense held Metuchen on a fourth down try with 1:31 left to emerge victorious, 20-15, on Saturday afternoon.

Bulldogs quarterback Jake Lebovits appeared to have tight end Devin Miller for a first down to continue the final drive, but Miller couldn’t hold on and the Bishops took over.

“It was like déjà vu all over again from last week,” Asbury Park head coach Tim Fosquel said. “We had some things not go in our favor today, but it was nice for that one to go our way for our kids, because they really do work hard.”

Metuchen was able to get the ball back with 27 seconds remaining, but Lebovits’ first pass of the drive was intercepted by Namir Argilagos to clinch the victory for Asbury Park (1-1).

The Bishops got a big performance from quarterback Davon Thompson, who threw two touchdowns to Jaedon Stephens, including a 32-yard strike on a fourth-and-15 late in the third quarter.

“Coach just tells me where to put the ball and if I scramble out of the pocket, I look for my main guy, Stephens, and I just put it in a spot where I knew he could catch it. He made a great play and was great all day,” Thompson said.

The dual-threat Thompson finished 7-of-11 passing for 148 yards and the two scores and added 68 yards on just eight carries to gash the Bulldogs’ defense.

The game was tied 6-6 at the half after a very sloppy opening 24 minutes, which saw Asbury Park’s first four drives end in turnovers (three fumbles, one interception) and Metuchen having thrown an interception on its opening possession and getting a field goal blocked.

“We were in a good position going into halftime, with all of the mistakes that we made,” Fosquel said. “We thought if we could get some things cleaned up we could get it together and win this game. The kids came out in the second half and responded; we made some adjustments and it was a dogfight back-and-forth.”

Lebovits got the scoring started with a one-yard touchdown run after Joe Hronich recovered his second fumble of the opening stanza, but the Bulldogs didn’t score again until Anthony Maloney hit a 30-yard field goal eight minutes into the second half.

In between Thompson’s second touchdown pass to Stephens and Sanders’ game-winning score, Peter DiMeglio gave Metuchen (1-1) a short-lived lead by rushing home from 11 yards out. Seven plays later, Sanders found pay dirt to put the Bishops ahead for good.

“For us, in terms of coming back from last week’s tough loss, getting on the road and pulling this one out is a great win for us,” Hill said. “It puts us in a great position and if we clean some stuff up, we’ll be a pretty competitive football team.”

For Metuchen, Trevor Firgau led the way with 99 yards on 19 carries, while also catching two passes for 19 yards and coming up with an interception and a fumble recovery on defense. Miller ended up with four catches for 98 yards and added a five-yard rush, but Lebovits was just 8-of-19 for 134 yards and two interceptions in the losing effort.

“We just didn’t play very well. We had the ball offensively and weren’t able to execute what we wanted to do,” Metuchen head coach Bob Ulmer said. “They played well; Asbury Park is a good team and hats off to them, they beat us. We just made too many mistakes to win.”

ASBURY PARK (1-1) 0-6-8-6-20

METUCHEN (1-1) 6-0-3-6-15

SCORING SUMMARY

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – AP: Thompson 7-11-148-1; M: Lebovits 8-19-134-2, Firgau 0-2-0.

Rushing – AP: Thompson 8-68, Sanders 11-49, Davis 10-39, Abrams 3-22, Saunders 2-13; M: Firgau 19-99, DiMeglio 11-56, Lebovits 8-10, Miller 1-5, Serieux 1-0.

Receiving – AP: Stephens 4-91, Saunders 2-51, Abrams 1-6; M: Miller 4-98, Firgau 2-19, Serieux 2-17.

Middletown South grabs convincing win over South Brunswick

SOUTH BRUNSWICK  Before the haze had cleared from an unexpected halftime firework shoot-off, the Middletown South High School football team was on top and in control of its season opener.

James McCarthy raced home from 47 yards out on the third play of the second half and added a 60-yard rushing touchdown four minutes later to send Middletown South, No. 1 in the Asbury Park Press’ Top-10, to a 41-21 victory over South Brunswick, No. 1 in the Home News Tribune Top-10 on Friday night.

McCarthy finished with 152 yards on just 11 carries, picking up some slack from last year’s leading rusher, Cole Rogers, who was held to just 47 yards by a stingy South Brunswick defense.

“We had to work hard all summer and when we came out in the second half, we put that work on the field and we did it,” McCarthy said.

Rogers, who posted 1,867 yards and 26 rushing touchdowns last season for the Eagles, dealt with cramps on a muggy night, and played sparingly in the second half, opening the door for McCarthy’s big night.

“We help each other every way we can, and we push each other in practice,” McCarthy said, speaking of Rogers. “Tonight, he was definitely helping me out when I was running.”

McCarthy’s first touchdown gave Middletown South the lead just 1:06 into the second half, erasing an early 21-3 lead that was built by South Brunswick. The Vikings used a down-field aerial attack to blitz the Eagles, with junior quarterback Josh Liao delivering three touchdown passes in the first quarter and a half.

Liao hit Justin Shorter for a 33-yard score to cap the game’s opening drive and found Jaier Garrett for a 72-yard catch-and-run later in the stanza. After a Matt Mosquera 45-yard field goal, Liao hit Mohamed Jabbie for a 47-yard strike to put the Vikings up 18.

“Did I think we’d be up 21-3 in the first quarter? Never. I expected this to be a dogfight and it was exciting,” South Brunswick head coach Joe Goerge said. “They started to take over in the second quarter and we gave up a couple of big plays that hurt. That’s a damn good team. They wore us down.”

Mosquera added his second field goal of the game midway through the second quarter, a 32-yarder, before starting to put up numbers of his own. The Eagles’ quarterback hit Samson Dube with a 72-yard scoring pass with 3:07 left in the first half and raced home with an 8-yard run with just 33 seconds to play before halftime. The senior finished with 174 all-purpose yards, including 61 on the ground, to spearhead the Middletown South comeback.

“Our guys have motiviaton and we have a lot of skilled players that can do some things and we showed a little bit of that tonight and at the end it came down to the offensive line doing its job,” Middletown South head coach Steve Antonucci said.

The Eagles earned a bit of redemption, after losing to South Brunswick 36-24 a year ago, but Antonucci said that this season is about one simple thing.

“I don’t look at it as revenge or redemption or any of that stuff we just want to win,” he said.

Liao finished 15-26 for 252 yards and the three touchdowns, but was intercepted at the end of a 12-play drive that ended with no points in the third quarter.

Tom Marron iced the game with a 52-yard punt return touchdown in the fourth quarter for Middletown South.

MIDDLETOWN SOUTH (1-0) 3-17-14-7-41

SOUTH BRUNSWICK (0-1) 14-7-0-0-21

SCORING SUMMARY

SB – Shorter 33 pass from Liao (Fehte kick)

SB – Garrett 72 pass from Liao (Fehte kick)

MS – Mosquera 45 kick

SB – Jabbie 47 pass from Liao (Fehte kick)

MS – Mosquera 32 kick

MS – Dube 72 pass from Mosquera (Mosquera kick)

MS – Mosquera 8 run (Mosquera kick)

MS – McCarthy 47 run (Mosquera kick)

MS – McCarthy 60 run (Mosquera kick)

MS – Marron 52 punt return (Mosquera kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
Passing – 
MS: Mosquera 4-10-113-1; SB: Liao 15-26-252-3-1.

Rushing – MS: McCarthy 11-152, Mosquera 7-61, C. Rogers 17-47, Pinto 3-12, Alessi 2-7, Pignataro 3-3, Team 1-0; SB: Cerminaro 4-10, Campbell 6-8, Summers 4-7, Allen 6-4, Hiil 1-1, Jabbie 1-0, Liao 7-minus 4.

Receiving – MS: Dube 2-76, Joyce 1-6, Team 2-36; SB: Jabbie 6-91, Garrett 1-72, Shorter 4-58, Allen 3-21.

Holmdel’s Valentin is state all-around champion

Holmdel's Kendall Valentin competes on the bars during the Individual State Championships at Montgomery High School on Saturday. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

Holmdel’s Kendall Valentin competes on the bars during the Individual State Championships at Montgomery High School on Saturday. Photo by: Kathy Johnson

MONTGOMERY — For Holmdel High School senior gymnast Kendall Valentin, her four seasons have been all about progression.

As a freshman, the NJSIAA Individual Championships were filled with nerves, as she fell on one of her routines, as she came home seventh. But in the last three seasons, she’s improved to fifth, second and now first in the All-Around competition, as Valentin won Saturday’s title with a score of 38.275, narrowly edging Bishop Ahr’s Julianna Drapkin, the 2012 champion, by 0.050.

Valentin didn’t win an individual event Saturday, but placed in the top eight in all four events to emerge as the all-around champion. She finished second on the uneven bars (9.625), tied for third in the floor exercise (9.600), fifth on the vault (9.550) and eighth on the balance beam (9.450).

“I’m just really happy. I hit all four routines and consistency is my thing I guess,” Valentin said afterwards. “I fell during my freshman year and it’s just been a steady improvement since. It’s really great to get all the way to the top and finish first this year. I was so close last year and I wanted it so badly this time. I knew that my time would come and I worked harder and did whatever I could to try and win. Just being able to know that all my hard work, as a senior, paid off is great.”

Valentin got a little bit of help on the balance beam, as she got a second chance to do her routine after two of the four judges didn’t look up from their scoresheets to see her compete. Valentin fell during the first try, but the judges offered her a second chance to go and she took advantage.

“The rules allowed me to go again and they asked if I wanted a re-do,” she said. “I didn’t fall and hit my routine the second time.”

Valentin said that she’ll be continuing her gymnastics career at Eastern Michigan University on a full scholarship next fall.

Her Holmdel teammate, Tess Zientek, finished fourth in the all-around (37.900) and won the balance beam (9.600).

Leddy refuses to let Ridge’s season end

BRIDGEWATER — Kyle Leddy wasn’t going to let Monday’s Public A quarterfinal matchup against Brick be the last time he suited up for the Ridge High School ice hockey team. Behind Leddy’s four goals, including the game-winner with 2:35 remaining, third-seeded Ridge knocked off sixth-seeded Brick 6-5 at Bridgewater Sports Arena.

“This win means everything. I’m a senior and I didn’t want this to be my last game,” Leddy said. “I didn’t want this to be the last time I put on this uniform so I did everything I could to will us to victory. I felt great coming into this game and it paid off.”

With Brick’s Brian Lang in the penalty box for slashing and 4:21 remaining, Leddy and his power play unit mates went to work, keeping possession in the offensive zone for the first 1:10 of the advantage. But with 12 seconds remaining on the minor penalty, the puck ended up in front of the Brick net and Leddy pounced, banging home his fourth goal of the contest to put the Red Devils ahead for good.

“I couldn’t care less who scored that last goal,” Leddy said. “We’re ecstatic to win this game.”

After the first period, it didn’t look like the game would come down to the final minutes. Leddy scored twice in the period, including a beautiful one-time goal at the 5:42 mark to put Ridge up 2-1.

Then, the Red Devils got two goals in the final 94 seconds of the period, including a wrap-around goal from Tim Knightly with just 5.3 seconds before the buzzer to go up 4-1.

But Brick wouldn’t go down quietly, scoring four of the next five goals to tie the game at 5 with 6:04 remaining. Andrew Reiss struck for three second-period goals and Tyler Iannarone deflected home the tying goal with a gorgeous redirection in front of Ridge goalie Robbie Fenton.

“The boys left it all out on the ice tonight. They worked really hard and it was a tough way for our season to end,” Brick head coach Bob Auriemma said. “They poured their hearts and souls into this team. They worked hard and it was really difficult to not come out of here victorious.”

Ridge prevailed in faceoffs, earning 28 of 48 draws, but the teams each fired 25 shots on goal. Fenton finished with 21 saves and Brick’s Jake Lampiasi stopped 19 shots.

Reiss, who tallied six points in Brick’s second-round win over Hillsborough, was a force in the second period, constantly using his strong body to move smaller Ridge defenders out of the way to get to the net.

“We knew we could come back in this game,” Reiss said. “I was just trying to get to the net and take advantage of the rebounds that Fenton was giving up. I did all I could to just be physical and lead this team.”

The Red Devils will play second-seeded Randolph in today’s semifinals at Codey Arena in West Orange. Leddy knows that if Ridge plays its game, it will have a great shot to emerge victorious and move on to the state final at Prudential Center this weekend.

“We need to just keep playing the way that we’re playing,” Leddy said. “We need to show off our offense a little bit and get our defense playing well and keep playing Ridge hockey. The goals will come.”

Brick Twp. girls run away with title

NORTH BRUNSWICK — With Amber Macleod setting the pace, the Brick Township High School girls bowling team ran away with the team title in Saturday’s Bob James Memorial Holiday Tournament at Carolier Lanes in North Brunswick.

Macleod got off to as good a start as you can, rolling a perfect 300 in the opening game, en route to a tournament-high 663 series.

“It was awesome,” Macleod said. “I was so nervous in the 10th frame, I was shaking up there and my mom was crying behind me, so it was really emotional for me. I had only ever bowled a 300 in practice, but it didn’t count, so this is something I’ll remember for a long time and tell people about.”

Serving as the anchor for Brick, Macleod had plenty of help in leading the school to the team title. Karsyn Lukosius also rolled a 663 series and Amanda Nardiello finished with a 657. Madison Lukosius had a 594 series and Sydney Scelfo rounded out the Brick effort with a 561 set.

“I have two juniors and three seniors on the team and they bowl year-round, so they’re very prepared,” Brick head coach Cara Lukosius said. “As individual bowlers, they’re good, but as a team, they’re great.”

On the boys side, Anthony Parinello had a great showing for Freehold Township, rolling a 279 high game and a 700 series, both of which were good for third place in the tournament.

Jackson Memorial finished second in the boys team competition, just 21 pins behind John F. Kennedy High School. JFK rolled a 3,106 to Jackson’s 3,085.

Chukwuneke’s big day paces J.P. Stevens

MARLBORO — Chiebuka Chukwuneke ran for 194 yards, rushed for four touchdowns and scored a fifth time on an interception return, helping JP Stevens (1-0) edge Marlboro (0-1) 34-26 Saturday afternoon in both schools’ season openers. The Hawks led 20-2 heading into the fourth quarter, but Marlboro didn’t go quietly, scoring three touchdowns and converting all three two-point conversions to cut the gap to eight.

“Our basic program philosophy is you have to play 48 minutes of football to get a victory, no matter who you’re playing,” JP Stevens Head Coach Mike Ryan said. “We play a lot of great teams coming up with great coaching staffs, so we need to just play for a full 48 minutes in order to compete.”

The story on this Saturday was Chukwuneke, who scored on runs of 66, 89, 15 and 4 en route to a career-high in yardage on the ground. He only got the ball nine times in the game, the third highest total on the team, but made the most of his chances, averaging 21.5 yards per run. He got the Hawks on the board first when he bounced to the outside and rumbled 66 yards to pay dirt on JP Stevens’ first possession of the season. Two series’ later, Chukwuneke trotted all 89 yards untouched, putting JP Stevens up 13-2.

JP Stevens out-rushed Marlboro 283-114.

On the kickoff after Chukwuneke’s fourth rushing touchdown of the game, Marlboro tailback Dewan McCallister went 75 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown of his own, cutting the lead to 27-10. The Mustangs rolled the dice and went for an onsides kick in the moments following McCallister’s tally, and recovered the ball at the JP Stevens 47.

Eleven plays later, senior quarterback Parker Hoch hit McCallister for an 18-yard touchdown. The Mustangs added the two-point conversion to cut the lead to nine, but still needed to get the ball back. They tried yet another onsides kick and somehow came up with it, this time recovering at midfield.

But they wouldn’t be able to capitalize on that possession, as McCallister fumbled at the JP Stevens 3. After a punt gave Marlboro the ball back at their own 42, Hoch moved his team into scoring position, but was intercepted by Chukwuneke at the 4 and the Hawks’ star returned the ball all the way to the end zone for a 96-yard touchdown.

Hoch would connect with McCallister on a 15-yard pass on the ensuing drive, but it would be too little too late for Marlboro to complete the comeback.

For the game, Hoch completed 10-23 passes for 113 yards and those two touchdowns. JP Stevens out-rushed Marlboro 283-114 in the contest, led by Chukwuneke’s 194.