Mid South, Vianney among local winners BY DOUG McKENZIE Correspondent And then there were none. With Middletown North’s loss to a resilient Colts Neck team over the weekend, there are no more local undefeated high school football teams. The Lions, who were one of the Shore’s more impressive teams in winning their first three games of the year, were humbled a bit on Saturday, as the Cougars rallied from a 14- point deficit to beat fifth-ranked Middletown North in Colts Neck, 20-17. CHRIS KELLY staff Middletown High School North’s Uly Gibson dives for a few extra yards during an Oct. 11 game against Colts Neck. North lost the game 20-17 in overtime, dropping its record to 3-1. The team’s next game is Friday night at Howell. This was a devastating loss for head coach Joe Trezza’s Lions, as North was looking forward to this game as yet another chance to prove their legitimacy this season. Early on, they were looking good, as the Lions dominated play on both sides of the ball and built a 14-0 lead on a pair of secondquarter touchdown runs from Uly Gibson (from 11 and four yards). Gibson (who also had an 84-yard TD run called back in the third quarter on a holding call) finished the game with 32 carries for 149 yards, further padding his impressive season stats. The Lions appeared to be well on their way to their first 4-0 start since 2001 when the momentum took an incredible shift. After stopping the Lions on a fourth-and-inches play with just over three minutes to play in the game, Colts Neck got on the board when quarterback Chris Chiarelli hit Brandon Cotter for a 65-yard scoring play that gave the Cougars life. Colts Neck’s Billy Spataro then recovered an onsides kick, before Chiarelli methodically picked apart the Lion secondary, leading to the game-tying touchdown (on a two-yard QB keeper). In the ensuing overtime period, the Lions regained the lead when Dylan Maresco connected on a 37-yard field goal after the Cougar defense held its ground. Unfortunately, the Lion defense could not do the same, as Chiarelli connected on a sixyard touchdown pass to Sean Smith on his team’s possession, setting off a wild celebration in Colts Neck. Chiarelli’s numbers tell the story of the game: he was just 6-for-17 for 53 yards and two interceptions before the final three minutes of the game. Down the stretch, however, he demonstrated pinpoint accuracy and smart decision making, effectively leading his team to an unlikely come-from-behind win that keeps them alive in the Shore’s Constitution Division race. While the Lions were left shell-shocked following the defeat, there was a silver lining. This is a team that cruised to an impressive 3-0 start, and as a team that has not been accustomed to winning in recent years, this loss is sure to represent a lesson learned. The very best teams never let teams get up when they’re down, and North’s inability to demonstrate that killer instinct on Saturday is something that Trezza will likely be preaching about all week. Up next for the Lions is a Howell team that scored a big 37-28 win over Manalapan on Friday to get back to 2-2 on the year. The Rebels are the defending Central Jersey Group IV champions, and finally looked like the championship team of a year ago in overcoming a 28-6 deficit to the Braves. This is a team that is riding a giant wave of momentum right now, and with QB Jimmy Ryan playing very well (20-for-24 for 194 yards and three touchdowns against Manalapan), will certainly present a tough challenge for a North team that is looking to regain its swagger. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday in Howell. While the Lions took a blow to the gut on Saturday, their crosstown rivals from Middletown South delivered a shot of their own on Friday, beating up on Central Regional, 35-10. South took control of this one on the game’s very first play from scrimmage, when Chris Bunge took a pitch to the left and raced 45 yards to the Central 4. Two plays later, QB Ryan Mullan was in the end zone with just over a minute off the game clock. That was the story of the game, as Bunge (124 yards on just nine carries) was the sparkplug that fueled a dominating Eagle offensive effort, while Chris Martinho also ran free to the tune of 82 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries. While the Eagle defense continually stymied the Central attack, Middletown South was able to move the ball at will, using the type of ground attack that left teams frustrated and defeated during the Eagles’ recent glory years. With the win, South improved to 3-1 on the year. Next up is a date on Saturday with a Wall Township team that improved to 2-2 with a lopsided win at Lakewood on Saturday. The Crimson Knights are led by one of the very best backs in the state in Blaze Caponegro (who is coming off a four-TD, 203-yard effort against Lakewood). StoppingWall means containing Caponegro, and you can be sure South head coach Steve Antonucci will be focusing all of his efforts on that game plan. Game time is 3 p.m. in Wall. The Monmouth Regional football team looked poised to surprise Matawan on Saturday, putting together some nice clock-eating drives to start the game. However, despite reaching the Huskies’ 15-, 9- and 29-yard lines during those drives, they were unable to put points on the board and it came back to haunt them as they dropped a 13-7 affair. With Monmouth missing out on its scoring opportunities, Matawan managed to build a 13-0 lead, getting a TD late in the second quarter when Jared Allison took a direct snap and raced one yard for a TD, and another to start the fourth quarter when Allison hit Kyle Hardy with a 64-yard scoring play. The Falcons managed to get on the board with just over four minutes to play in the game when Anthony Fruncillo hit Anthony Truncale from three yards out, but it was too little too late, as the Husky defense was in control for most of this game. While Monmouth’s defense also played well, they were burned by a couple of big plays, enablingMatawan to get just enough points to win their third game of the year. Next up for Matawan is a Saturday date with a good Manchester team (2-2) that is coming off a blowout win over Red Bank Regional. Game time is 7 p.m. in Matawan. St. John Vianney got its third win of the year, 25-7 over Pinelands, thanks in large part to big special teams play. With his team down 7-2 after a half of play, SJV’s Anthony Corona took the second half kickoff and raced 61 yards up the left sideline to put the ball at the Wildcats’ 24-yard line. Senior Chris Mayo scored from there, giving the Lancers the 9-7 lead. The Lancers then added to that lead late in the third when a bad snap on a Pinelands punt resulted in a safety. Up 11-7, SJV then put the game away when Mayo capped the ensuing drive with a five-yard TD run. Sophomore QB Charles Davis (13 carries for 103 yards) added another TD late in the game when he scored from 13 yards out, but by then the outcome was hardly in doubt. The Lancers will look to build on this win when they take on Barnegat on Friday. Barnegat is 2-2 on the year after dropping a tough 20-13 game to Manasquan last weekend. Vianney will need to bring its “A” game this Friday night if they hope to secure its fourth win of the year. Game time is 7 p.m. Rumson-Fair Haven and Keyport have played some very exciting games in recent years, and put another tight one in the books on Friday. However, when it was over, it was RFH that was celebrating a much-needed win, thanks to the heroics of junior quarterback Sean Burke. Burke threw for three touchdowns, including the game-winner to Paul Michael Barrows with just over a minute to play, to clinch a 24-21 win that improved the Bulldogs to 3-2 on the year and snapped their two-game losing streak. After finding senior Charlie O’Brien for two TDs earlier in the game (from 30 and seven yards), Burke’s pass to a wide-open Barrows over the middle proved to be the difference. Keyport opened the game with 14 unanswered points, led by Aaron Lee’s strong running (123 yards). Lee opened things up with a 78-yard touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Cody Carroll then scored on a double reverse from 11 yards out. After RFH took a 17-14 lead, Keyport retook the lead when Tim Snyder plunged into the end zone from a yard out with 2:42 left in the game. However, Burke’s heroics were too much for the Red Raiders down the stretch, as the junior led his team to the win. When the season began, RFH head coach Shane Fallon said that while he was confident that his defense would play well, he was looking for an offense after graduating nearly all of his starters from a year ago. On Friday, Sean Burke stepped up and provided the big plays that Fallon was worried about finding. Keyport (2-2) will look to get back on the winning track on Saturday when they take on a 2-2 Monsignor Donovan team that is coming off a 35-12 loss to Shore Regional. Game time is 1 p.m. in Keyport..