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Football Playoffs: Middletown South Advances to Championships

A look at Shore Conference teams in the NJSIAA playoffs

A roundup of Shore Conference teams playing in the NJSIAA football playoffs, compiled from app.com, nj.com and allshoremedia.net:

Middletown South 45, Colts Neck 35: Kyle Brey threw four touchdown passes, three in the second quarter, as the Eagles took a lead they never relinquished in advancing to the Central Jersey Group IV championship.

Colts Neck (9-2) scored first, when Mike Campbell connected with Danny Calabro for a 44-yard touchdown to open the scoring. Middletown South (8-3) responded with a drive capped by a 1-yard run by Jake Ripnick.

Then Middletown South kicked into high gear, with Brey connecting with Anthony Citarella for a 78-yard pass play for one touchdown, followed by a 45-yard pass play between Citarella and Brey for another score. After a 33-yard field goal by Colts Neck's Garret Federico, Brey connected with Andrew Wisialko from 8 yards out to give the Eagles a 28-10 lead that they never gave up.

Campbell tried to rally the Cougars, passing for a total of 354 yards and three more touchdowns, including two to Tim Vangelas. But Middletown South was unbowed, adding a rushing touchdown by Elijah Smith and a touchdown pass from Brey to Tayler Hendricksen to seal the victory. Brey finished with 302 yards on 21 of 28 passing with no interceptions.

The Eagles will face Sayreville next weekend at Rutgers at 4 p.m.

Florence 17, Point Pleasant Beach 14: The Garnet Gulls' magical season came to an end Friday night, at the hands of a familiar foe.

The Flashes (10-1) from Burlington County, who knocked Point Beach out of the playoffs last year, kicked a field goal midway through the fourth quarter, then stopped the Gulls at the 10-yard line with no time remaining in the Central Jersey Group I semifinal in Point Beach.

It is the most successful season Point Beach has had since 1982, when the Gulls (10-1) advanced to the sectional championship game.

The Gulls opened the scoring when quarterback Jake Fioretti connected with Andre Cochran for a 16-yard touchdown. Florence responded with a 2-yard touchdown by Curtis Thompson.

Point Beach took a 14-7 lead going into halftime when tight end Nick Fiore caught a pass from Fioretti and ran in for a 26-yard score.

Florence then tied the game in the third quarter when Eric Chapman intercepted Fioretti and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.

Point Beach lost senior running back Danny Tighe in the third quarter after he suffered a serious leg injury.

Shore Regional 31, Asbury Park 7: The Blue Devils (9-2) advanced to the Central Jersey Group I championship game as Mark Costantino rushed for four touchdowns to dethrone the Bishops (6-4), last year's sectional champion.

Costantino, who finished with 122 yards, rushed for a 59-yard score to open the game, then tacked on touchdowns of 4, 24 and 3 yards.

Shore, which won the Central Jersey Group I title in 2010, face Florence, which lost to Asbury Park last year, next weekend for the championship.

Southern Regional 30, Eastern 27: Abe Gonzalez scored four touchdowns, including catching a 3-yard touchdown pass from Dan Higgins with 21 seconds left, as the Rams advanced to the South Jersey Group V championship.

Southern (9-2) went ahead 14-0 on touchdown runs of 54 and 2 yards by Gonzalez. But Eastern (7-4) rallied as Tom Flacco threw touchdown passes of 14 and 33 yards to tie the game. 

Southern responded with another run by Gonzalez, but Flacco wasn't done either, tossing two more touchdown passes as Eastern took a 6-point lead after the Rams blocked the extra point attempt.

It was Southern's turn to rally, and the Rams did so. After forcing Eastern into a fourth-and-9, the Vikings chose to take a safety rather than punt. Southern then responded with two long passes that set up Gonzalez's touchdown.

Southern will face Williamstown next weekend at Rowan University for the championship.


St. Joseph (Montvale) 42, Red Bank Catholic 7: Larry Redaelli scored from 12 yards out to give the Caseys (10-1) a 7-0 lead, but it was shortlived as the Knights (9-2) quickly took control and never looked back in the Non-Public Group III semifinal.

Nottingham 7, Long Branch 0: The Green Wave (9-2) struggled to put anything together all game, and eventually fell to the Northstars (10-1) in the Central Jersey Group III semifinal.

Deon Williams finished with 70 yards rushing for Long Branch.

Kingway 42, Lacey 28: Christian Tutela was involved in all four touchdowns for the Lions, including an 88-yard interception return, but Lacey (10-1) was unable to hold off the Dragons (9-2) in the South Jersey Group IV semifinal.

Neptune 28, Allentown 21: The Scarlet Fliers (9-2) advanced to the Central Jersey Group III title game as Geoff Fairbanks caught three touchdown passes from Ajee Patterson, including a 76-yarder that sealed the victory.

Fairbanks finished with 198 yards receiving, and Patterson, who also threw a touchdown pass to Sekou Harris, was 19 of 25 passing for 296 yards, with two interceptions.

Manalapan 17, Hunterdon Central 7: Tyler Leonetti rushed for two touchdowns and Mike Caggiano kicked a 30-yard field goal as the Braves (11-0) advanced to the Central Jersey Group V championship.


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