UNION, NJ - In the 24th Snapple Bowl, Union County was able to secure the win over Middlesex in a closely contested game. The game came down to the final few possessions, but Union ultimately locked down a 27-14 win.
Former East Brunswick High School teacher and football coach Marcus Borden, the Snapple Bowl founder and director, has raised close to $600,000 from the games since 1994. The money benefits the Lakeview School, a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities, and the Children’s Specialized Hospital.
The game also allows the players and cheerleaders to meet young people at the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities and the Children’s Specialized Hospital. Leading up to the game, the participants bonded with them by talking and creating posters together.
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Snapple Bowl XXIV was held at Kean Alumni Stadium. It included two players from New Brunswick High School: Jah'bree Jeffery, a free safety, and German Pimentel, a defensive end.
Historically, Middlesex has a 14-9 record in the Snapple Bowl, but the Union All-Stars won the game last year with a score of 13-7.
On each team's first possession, they missed field goals, resulting in a scoreless first quarter. However, in the second quarter, Union drove down the field and capped off the drive on a 26-yard touchdown pass to Drew Stephens from Roselle High School to take a 7-0 lead. Union went into halftime winning 7-0.
Lighting caused a one-hour delay, but the game started back up with shortened, 10-minute quarters.
In the third quarter, with about five minutes remaining, Union took a 13-0 lead.
Middlesex quickly came storming back. Early in the fourth quarter, the team scored a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 13-7. A few possessions later, a wide receiver from South Plainfield, DeShai Smith, made a 22-yard touchdown catch, allowing Middlesex to take a 14-13 lead with five minutes remaining in the game.
Then Union marched down the field and took back a 21-14 lead after a touchdown and a successful 2-point conversion.
Middlesex had one more sho,t but on their first play they threw an interception, which led to another Union touchdown to secure the 27-14 win.