UNION, NJ – Thanks to Clark's Nick Fischetti, the Union County team rallied in the final minutes of a storm-interrupted game to beat Middlesex County 27-14 in the 24thSnapple Bowl played Thursday evening at Kean University’s Alumni Stadium. The win made it two in a row for Union County.
The first half of this game was pretty quiet with only one score. Union County took a 7-0 lead on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Roselle quarterback Gerald Hairston III to his fellow Roselle wide receiver Drew Stephens. The first half was followed by an hour-long storm delay.
Following the delay, things started to heat up in second half with Cranford quarterback Brian Oblachinski hitting fellow Cranford teammate Ryan Bakie for a 27-yard touchdown, and extending Union’s lead to 13-0.
Middlesex responded quickly with its own touchdown drive to finish the third quarter and narrow Union’s lead to 13-7.
Following a Union turnover, Middlesex’s offense stalled, but they got the ball back again when they recovered a dropped punt. This time the turnover proved costly for Union as Middlesex drove right down the field and scored the go-ahead touchdown to take a 14-13 lead with less than 4 minutes left to play in the game.
Union’s offense was up to the test. Led by Oblachinski, who was named the game’s MVP, Union County drove down the field on two consecutive passes for big gains to New Providence wide receiver Mike Barletta. Then Oblachinski found Union wide-out Justin Beckett who hauled in a pass at the 5-yard line.
On the very next play, Arthur L. Johnson running back Nick Fischetti scored the game-winning touchdown on a five yard run with 2:15 remaining. Following this score, Oblachinski found Rahway tight end A.J Smith on a bootleg for a two point conversion to make the score 21-14.
"It was awesome being on the field when the offense was driving down the field and getting to the five yard line. To have them put their trust in my hands for the game winner was an amazing feeling, especially in this type of atmosphere," said Fischetti.
Middlesex had one final chance to tie the score. On their first play of the drive, Middlesex’s quarterback was picked off by Union defensive back Justin Beckett to seal the victory for Union County.
Rahway running back Terrance Anderson added an insurance score in the final minute of the game.
This was Union County’s second consecutive victory and narrowed Middlesex’s advantage in the series to 14-10.
The Snapple Bowl is an annual high school football all-star game between Union and Middlesex County. The game features some of the most skilled players from every public school in each county.
Nick Fischetti and Brett Roessle represented Arthur L. Johnson High School in the game. Jonathan Duffy was also selected to play in this year's game but suffered an injury which prevented him from participating.
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