WOODBRIDGE, NJ — There weren’t many bright sports for Union County in Thursday’s Snapple Bowl. The offensive play of a pair of Union High School’s graduated senior All-Stars, however, was one of them.
Wideout Chuck Ifewekwune accounted for his team’s only score and fellow playmaker Andy Martin came up with 35 total yards of offense in Union County’s loss, 22-6, to Middlesex County in the 25th annual Snapple Bowl at Woodbridge High School. Temi Adanlawo, Alex Acevedo, and Bobby Emmanuel also represented Union and Union County in the game.
Union County, which prepares for the Snapple Bowl by practicing at Union High School in the weeks leading up to the game, had won the previous two meetings.
All throughout last regular season — and during each player’s three varsity years — Union High School’s offense has been bolstered by the play of Martin and Ifewekwune, both receivers. In 2017, Martin led the team in receiving yards with a staggering number of 1,037 and also rushed for 312, while Ifewekwune hauled in 426 yards in the air. Between the two of them was a total of 102 points.
On Thursday night, with the lights shinning bright and the entire state watching, Martin and Ifewekune played together for the final time, and the duo played as though they were right at home.
Perhaps still wearing a “Union” across their chests helped.
With Union County trailing, 16-0, at the beginning of the second half, it was Martin and Ifewekune that got their team on the board. Martin ran wild in a monstrous team-best 20-yard breakaway run to position Union County in the red zone and set up the team’s best scoring chance at the time.
Union County couldn’t capitalize on the first couple of downs, but on third-and-goal, the Springfield-Union connection came through. Ifewekwune caught a lob from Antonio Salcfas (Dayton) and trucked his way into the end zone for a four-yard touchdown to put Union County on the board.
Unfortunately for Union County, that would be the only scoring it would do on this night. After missing a two-point conversion be mere inches, Union County was held scoreless for the remainder and struggled with turnovers in both halves.
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 (Hillside) 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.
Alex Acevedo and Bobby Emmanuel protected Union County QBs Salcfas and Irby throughout the game, while Temi Adanlawo anchored down the defensive line.