Eagles cap perfect football season with state crown

first_img Middletown High School South’s Cole Rogers (27) sprints by Phillipsburg High School defenders during the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section II, Group IV final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford. Rogers scored a pair of touchdowns in the 35-7 victory on Dec. 5 that completed a perfect 12-0 season for the Eagles. RICH GRAESSLE Middletown High School South’s football team silenced any skeptics of its consensus No. 1 state ranking.The Eagles roared to a four-touchdown lead after three quarters and went on to a 35- 7 victory in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section II, Group IV final over Phillipsburg High School at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford Dec. 5 to cap a 12-0 season.Phillipsburg, which won this title the past two years, ended 9-3.Add to that the team outscored its 12 opponents by a combined 492-89, and there is little room for argument to Middletown South’s No. 1 ranking in New Jersey.It was Rogers and Rogers on both sides of the ball, as Cole Rogers rushed for 155 yards on 27 carries and scored three touchdowns, while twin brother Dylan Rogers sealed off Phillipsburg’s run game at linebacker, along with a smothering defensive rush up front, and also harassed Phillipsburg’s quarterbacks. Middletown South outrushed Phillipsburg, 175 yards to 109.It was Middletown South’s first state championship since 2006 and 10th overall. It fell short in last year’s title game to Jackson Memorial High School, 21-18.Middletown South struck quickly within the first minute of the championship game on Cole Rogers’ 6-yard touchdown run, set up by Jeff Lewandowski’s 79-yard kickoff return. Jeremy Joyce made a leaping grab of a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from quarterback Matt Mosquera for his only catch of the game and his second touchdown reception of the season in the second quarter, giving Middletown South a 14-0 lead at halftime.Mosquera passed for 109 yards.James McCarthy ended a Phillipsburg threat at Middletown South’s 26-yard line early in the third quarter with an interception that led to a 9-yard touchdown run by Cole Rogers. Mosquera ran 4 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and Tom Marron capped the scoring with a 7-yard run to the end zone in the fourth to securely tuck away coach Steve Antonucci’s most resounding victory in his tenure as Middletown South coach.It also established a legacy that may never be matched, left behind by the senior class that included Dylan and Cole Rogers and Mosquera, who kicked all five extra points to finish at 59 of 61 PATs on the season. Mosquera also threw 18 touchdown passes and 1,485 yards on the season.Cole Rogers finished the season with 1,586 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns despite missing a game with a shoulder injury. His efforts were helped by the blocking of an offensive line that included tackles Tom Lopez and Bob Burke, guards Mike Wilson and Adam Markmann and center Joe Rutkowski, who is the only senior of the group. It was also the final game for Marron and two-way standouts Spencer Pereless and Tom Coffey.Phillipsburg’s Manny Romero spoiled Middletown South’s shutout bid in the championship game when he ran 14 yards for a touchdown.McCarthy, who had two interceptions in the championship game, anchors a nucleus of returnees with his play at running back, where he rushed for 15 touchdowns and just under 600 yards, and at linebacker, where he is joined next season by fellow junior Kevin Higgins. Also returning are defensive back Maxx Imsho and wideouts Samson Dube and JoyceAlong with the state crown, Middletown South won its first Shore Conference A North Division title since 2009 (17th overall) with a 39-0 victory on Thanksgiving over Middletown High School North. By WAYNE WITKOWSKI Correspondent last_img

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