UNION – After winning just one game a season ago, the Middlesex Blue Jays capped off a historic season with the Central Group I championship in a 33-21 victory over Point Pleasant Beach at Kean Alumni Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Middlesex received the opening kickoff and scored on the game’s opening possession as Anthony Mason gave the Blue Jays a 7-0 lead on a 35-yard touchdown run with 8:34 in the first quarter.
The Blue Jays took that lead into the second quarter, but it did not last long as Point Beach had fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line and Luke Frauenheim delivered with a one-yard keeper to tie the game at seven, just five seconds into the second quarter, to cap a 17-play, 80 yard drive.
Middlesex took the lead back on a one-yard run from John Kressbach. The extra point was no good, and Middlesex took a 13-7 lead with 4:36 left in the first half. Josh Ramirez added to that lead on a 21-yard scamper to the left with 34 seconds remaining. The two-point attempt was stopped, but Middlesex took a 19-7 lead into the locker room.
Point Beach responded out of the intermission as Frauenheim connected with Josh Yates from four yards out, cutting the deficit to 19-14 with 6:11 left in the third quarter.
But Middlesex answered right back with an electric 60-yard touchdown pass from Kressbach to Zach Godfrey. Mason converted the two-point conversion, and the Blue Jays took a 27-14 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.
Middlesex took that lead into the fourth quarter, when Point Beach’s John Nista ran up the middle and pushed the pile for a four-yard score, cutting the Middlesex lead to 27-21 with 8:40 left. But Tom Rau sealed the deal for Middlesex with a five-yard rumble up the middle, giving them a 33-21 lead with 3:45 remaining and ultimately the title.
“We told the kids that when you are playing this time of the year, you are either going to go home happy or sad,” Point Beach head coach John Wagner said. “This is a disappointing end, but my hat is off to our seniors. I thought they played great.”
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