SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Despite an early scoring barrage that had the Vikings up by 18 points in the first quarter, the Middletown Eagles swooped back into the game, emerging with a 41-21 victory and sending the home team to the locker room with its first loss Friday night.
“I expected this to be a dog fight,” Head Football Coach Joe Goerge said following the game. “They started to take over in the second quarter. We gave up a couple big plays and you know they (Middletown) are a damn good team.”
It almost seemed like child’s play early.
The Vikings shot out of the gate with two big pass plays that scored touchdowns in the first two possessions.
Meanwhile, the defense held Middletown to only a couple of field goals deep into the first half.
Senior Mo Jabbe scored on a 40-yard pass play early in the second quarter, giving the Vikings a commanding lead at 21-3.
Then the earth seemed to fall out from under the home team.
Middletown added a second field goal, bringing the score to 21-6, and then put two touchdowns on the board before the end of the half, cutting the Viking lead to just one point at 21-20 as the teams went to the locker rooms at the break.
The third and fourth quarters belonged exclusively to the Eagles, who added two long rushing scores and true extra-point kicks, making the score 34-21 in favor of Middletown.
The Eagle defense shut the Vikings running game down totally, forcing the team to take to the air.
Star senior running back Phil Campbell began to cramp at the end of the first half and did not play at all in the second half due to dehydration, according to the staff.
He was eventually taken to the hospital where a fluid IV was initiated to ease the cramps.
Adding insult to injury, the Eagles capped off the scoring with a 40-plus yard punt return for the final touchdown of the contest, putting them on top 41-21.
Coach Goerge said that the team did have a couple of opportunities, but could not bring in a couple long passes that would have likely been scores.
“They don’t usually drop those,” Goerge said. “But that is what we were going to have to do to hang with (the Eagles) today. We had to hit those big (pass plays). They really shut us down running the ball.”
Goerge told the team during the post-game huddle that the important thing now is to learn from their errors in the game, commit to working harder to correct them, and then, come back out for next week’s home game stronger to answer this loss.
“You have to answer the bell every day,” Goerge said.
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