Middletown North rides fast start past Woodbridgeby WoodbridgeFootball.com / MyCentralJersey.com / NJ.com on 11/11/16
MIDDLETOWN — Middletown North received the first-half kickoff against Woodbridge and from the moment the ball was caught, the Lions were running downhill and defeated Woodbridge 33-14.
When Middletown North escaped the harsh November cold into the locker room at halftime, they took a 27-0 lead with them. Despite the conditions being unfavorable to an aerial attack, Lions quarterback Donald Glenn hooked up with wide receiver Brendan Kube on five occasions for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Glenn threw for a total of 199 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
"Brendan does well every week," Middletown North head coach Joe Trezza said. "He finds ways to get open and makes big plays. He’s been a great player for us."
Kube's touchdown came on North’s third drive. Following successive touchdown drives, their defense forced a fumble that Justin Muller recovered, handing Glenn the ball at the Woodbridge 35-yard line.
When Glenn saw single coverage to his left, he flashed Kube a quick sign to audible a go route. Within two seconds, Glenn demanded the snap, manipulated the defense to lean away from Kube with his eyes fixated to the right, came back to his left and arced an inch-perfect deep ball -- one that only Kube could catch.
He stretched, showed strong fingertips in grabbing the catch, padding the Lions’ lead to a seemingly insurmountable 20-0 before even a quarter had been played.
"I think us fumbling the ball and the slow start that we had affected us tremendously," Woodbridge head coach Kevin Coleman said. "We can’t fumble the ball, give them the ball and give up deep passes and expect to win against good teams."
It was such a brisk, cold and windy night that the players and fans weren’t the only ones affected: the cheerleaders fought a futile battle of keeping their megaphones upright against the wind. It was a constant routine of cheer, grab megaphone that’s rolled a few feet away, rinse, repeat.
Returning to the third quarter 27 points in the hole with little hope, it would have been easy for Woodbridge to fold. Instead, they kept fighting, didn’t allow a touchdown and scored a pair of their own in the second half.
"I’m glad that they fought till the end. They showed the character that we have," Coleman said. "We’re not going to give up. We’re not going to lay down and let them continue to score. They definitely fought until the end and I’m proud of them."
Woodbridge lost its starting quarterback in their penultimate regular season game and have since had to turn to running back Keshaun Henry to run the offense. Not how Coleman drew it up this August.
"That’s kind of tough when you’re trying to throw the ball and you’re not a quarterback, just a playmaker,” Coleman said. “But he played hard and I’m proud of the kids.”
The flip side to Woodbridge’s second half resiliency was Middletown North’s complacency, something Trezza wasn’t too concerned with, though a little upset.
"Our defense started off real well. We got some turnovers and we stopped ‘em and we shut them out in the first half," Trezza said. "We just got a little sloppy at the end just trying to some other people in the game. We just didn’t finish it off well so we’re a little upset about that."
Key play: Glenn's 32-yard touchdown at the end of the first quarter.
Offensive game ball: Kube, hoarded more than three quarters of Glenn's yards.
Defensive game ball: Muller with a key fumble recovery, a sack and consistent pressure.
Next game: Middletown North advances in the NJSIAA playoffs.______________________________________________