UNION, NJ -- In a game they controlled through three-and-a-half quarters with stout defense and timely offense, Union County had to rally late in the fourth to beat Middlesex County 27-14 in the 24th annual Snapple Bowl Thursday night at Kean University.
Four recently graduated seniors from Piscataway High School -- cornerbacks Brevin Donerson and Nazir James, offensive guard Terrell Hagans, and defensive end Ibn Robinson -- participated in the charity All-Star game, which benefited the Children’s Specialized Hospital of Mountainside and the Edison-based Lakeview School, a program of the New Jersey Institute for Disabilities.
All four Chiefs started at their respective positions with Donerson and Robinson making the biggest splashes. Robinson lived in Union’s backfield while Donerson grabbed an interception in the second quarter where he made a nice play on the ball and displayed soft hands.
“It felt great, man,” Donerson told TAPinto Piscataway about his interception with a smile from ear to ear. “I got tackled, but I wanted and tried to score for my team. Naz, the other corner, said they were coming my way so I just sat back, read it, and made a play on the ball.
“It was a good experience here all around. I tried the best I could out here today.”
Union County had all the momentum after going up 13-0 in the shortened 10-minute third quarter due to a lightning delay at the half on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Cranford teammates Brian Oblachinski, who was named MVP of the contest, to receiver Ryan Bakie.
On the ensuing drive, Middlesex was forced to punt and all hoped looked lost, but the miskick turned into a game changer as the ball nicked a Union player’s foot and the live balls was covered up by South Plainfield’s Dillon Harris. Middlesex scored touchdowns on the ground and in the air on their next two drives to take a 14-13 lead with 5:09 left.
But the aerial attack of Oblanchinski proved too deadly as he guided Union on an 80-yard drive which was capped by a rushing score by Nick Fischetti and a 2-point conversion re-take a 21-14 lead. An interception on the first play of Middlesex’s next possession which was brought back to the 5-yard line was then punched in with a rushing touchdowns by Terrence Anderson.
Oblanchinski finished with 158 yards passing in the game with 66 of them coming on the go-ahead drive.
“We just couldn’t gel on the field and some guys missed assignments,” Robinson said. “But it’s OK, it was a fun experience. I was excited to get out there with some of the best guys in the county and fly around.”
The athletic 6-foot-3, 215-pound Robinson played defensive end with his hand in the dirt at Piscataway, but was a standup rush-end/outside linebacker for Middlesex in their unique 3-4 front seven scheme and overall 3-4-4. Robinson said it wasn’t too challenging, but it will take time getting used to. He’ll have to do it in a hurry however as Robinson, along with Chiefs teammates Donerson, and Abdel Mohamed, are all headed to Lackawana College soon with training camp on the horizon.
“It wasn’t too different and I adapted well, I feel,” Robinson said. “I have to learn more and more quickly because that’s going to be my position in college, but overall I felt I had a decent game. I flushed the quarterback out of the pocket.”
Donerson, who was approached by Robinson and Mohamed about attending the JUCO power, can’t wait to get out to the school based in Scranton, Pa.
“It’ll be fun being there with my boys,” the 5-foot-10, 170-pounder said.
Being selected for the Snapple Bowl doesn’t just mean a week of practices and a simple football game. It also means giving back and helping out the children in need by making them smile and being a friend.
The Union County-squad went to the hospital while the Middlesex County team visited the Lakeview school. It opened eyes for Donerson.
“It was a good experience meeting the kids and going to the school and recognizing those kids who are less fortunate,” he said. “I learned to not take anything for granted, be humble, take life one day at a time, and be grateful with what you have.”
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