WOODBRIDGE, NJ — Throughout the past three football seasons, Mike Magliacano has been a stalwart on Gov. Livingston’s defensive line. 

The recent GL graduate and future Muhlenberg Mule finished his varsity career with 67 tackles and eight sacks over the course of those three seasons, while playing in every game of the last two. He recorded a career-high of five sacks to go along with 27 tackles during his senior season, which helped him land one of the top honors in New Jersey high school football: a spot in the prestigious Snapple Bowl. 

On Thursday, though he wasn’t wearing a Gov. Livingston uniform, Magliacano represented his home school for one last time while playing on the D-Line for Union County in the 25th annual Union vs. Middlesex County Snapple Bowl at Woodbridge High School. 

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Unfortunately for Magliacano and Union County, the game — which was ended with 1:25 left because of a fight — got away as Middlesex took a 22-6 victory in its home territory. Union County had won the previous two Snapple Bowls. 

This was far from the last football game that Magliacano will play, however. Later next month, he will embark on a collegiate career at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Chances are that he’ll enjoy some success there, too: Muhlenberg, which competes in the always-challenging Centennial Conference, has won at least eight games in each of the last six seasons. 

Thursday’s Snapple Bowl was marked by a pair of elite defenses. Though Union County’s D — which featured four players from three-time state champion Westfield High School — limited the opposition to just 65 yards of offense in the first half, Middlesex held Union to just one touchdown and 141 total yards in the game. 

Union County’s lone bright spot came moments after halftime. Trailing, 16-0, Chuck Ifewekune (Union) broke away for a monstrous team-high 20-yard run to put Union County in the red-zone. A few plays later, quarterback Antonio Salcfas (Dayton) hooked up with Andy Martin (Union) on a four-yard TD pass, which at the time made it 16-6. 

Union County attempted to cut its deficit in half with a two-point conversion, but Middlesex stopped Salcfas from sneaking into the end zone at the one-yard line, and that would be as close as Union would come.

Middlesex County responded to Ifewekwune’s touchdown and put the game on ice when Paul Cocozziello (St. Joseph) hit with Tyler Jack (Perth Amboy) on a monstrous 64-yard TD pass down the right sideline late in the fourth quarter. 

Middlesex County struck first blood and broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter when Donovan Benoit (Edison) hopped into the end zone from one yard out. Moments later, Union County QB Tajae Irby fumbled a snap in his own end zone and was forced to dive on top of it, causing a safety and giving Middlesex a 9-0 lead that would hold at halftime.