ROSELLE PARK – After Roselle Park scored a touchdown on the game’s first play from scrimmage, visiting Brearley took it in stride.
The Bears didn’t panic.
Brearley answered by marching the ball right down the field to reach the end zone for its first time. Brearley then couldn’t wait to get back on defense.
That’s because the Bears wanted to immediately show that Carry Mimy’s 67-yard touchdown run would not happen again.
Sparked by a stellar defensive effort led by the likes of seniors Erik Loneker and Tyler DaCosta and junior Dan Palumbo, the Bears – over and over again – stuffed Roselle Park runners at the line of scrimmage.
Brearley then put together two more long drives for touchdowns – quickly becoming a team staple – and did indeed prevent the host Panthers from reaching the end zone once more.
Roselle Park sophomore placekicker Valentino Ambrosio kicked a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to pull his team to within three at intermission, but that was it offensively for the Panthers.
Brearley – like it did last week at home against Dayton – had a big advantage in time of possession in the second half, its first drive lasting nearly seven minutes.
It all added up to a decisive 20-10 Brearley victory Thursday night in Mid-State 38 Conference-Valley Division action at Herm Shaw Field.
In the battle of undefeated arch rivals, Brearley improved to 4-0 overall and 4-0 in the Valley Division, while Roselle Park fell to 2-1 overall and 2-1 in the Valley.
Brearley also defeated Roselle Park by 10 points last year, winning 34-24 at Ward Field in Kenilworth.
“Defensively, we did a great job,” said Brearley senior two-way lineman Erik Loneker, who sat out the Dayton game with an ankle injury but was able to come back and play Thursday night with the aid of a boot. “We also had a young sophomore (lineman Kairi Days) step up for us.”
Brearley’s really only misplay on defense came on the first play that Roselle Park had the ball. On first and 10 from its own 33 following the opening kickoff, Mimy – a senior who wears No. 28 – took the handoff and managed to run through contact just past the line of scrimmage.
Then a big hole opened in the middle of the field and he ran right through it, untouched the rest of the way and into the end zone.
“We had two kids in position, but didn’t make the play,” Brearley head coach Scott Miller said. “Their kid made a nice run.”
“We popped a nice run there, everyone made their blocks,” Roselle Park head coach Terry Hanratty said.
Brearley also has its own version of a senior running back who dons No. 28. That’s Anthony Primavera.
On his team’s opening drive, Primavera carried seven times for 55 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown run. The 11-play march covered 85 yards and took nearly five minutes.
When Roselle Park got the ball back for the second time, the Panthers lost three yards running the ball on first down, one more on second and then another on third after Brearley’s Nick Arcieri brought down Roselle Park senior quarterback Joe Woods.
Brearley’s second possession was also 11 plays, this time covering 65 yards and taking six more minutes off the clock. Senior quarterback Sebastian Montesdeoca closed the march by running up the middle for a 10-yard touchdown run, his first of two scores.
“We wanted to control the ball,” Miller said. “Our game plan was to gain chunks of yardage and control it that way.”
Roselle Park really didn’t gain much offensively in the first half after Mimy’s run until Woods broke free and down the right sideline late in the second quarter. However, Brearley defensive back Evan Collier caught up with Woods and managed to pry the ball loose. Teammate Brian Resende was there to recover the Roselle Park fumble on the Brearley five.
Roselle Park held Brearley to without a first down and after Brearley’s punt the Panthers had the ball to start on the Brearley 26.
With just 49 seconds left and one timeout, Roselle Park managed to get Ambrosio a shot at a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. Ambrosio’s kick hit the right upright, but still managed to go over the crossbar, good for three points.
Ambrosio’s successful field goal attempt cut Brearley’s lead to 13-10 at intermission.
“I felt we could have had a bigger lead at halftime,” Miller said. “We gave them a short field there for the field goal.”
Although Brearley’s first second-half drive did not produce any points, 14 plays did take 6:51 off the clock. Roselle Park was then held to a quick three-and-out.
Brearley’s next drive produced the game’s final points. An eight-play, 51-yard march took just over three minutes, with Primavera doing most of the running. Montesdeoca capped the surge with a one-yard run up the middle on fourth-and goal. That was the first of three big fourth down plays Brearley converted in the second half.
“Sebastian relies on his natural ability,” Miller said.
Both teams turned the ball over in a three-play span before Brearley –with the aid of Montesdeoca and Primavera running for first downs on fourth down plays – ran the final 9:03 off the clock, marching deep into Roselle Park territory to close the victory.
“They had the ball the majority of the time,” Hanratty said. “They were more physical than we were. They were tougher.
“Even if we were lucky with a couple of key plays, they were better. I don’t care what the score was, it wasn’t even close.”
Brearley has won all four games by double digits and has the opportunity to continue that streak with upcoming home games against Manville and Pingry.
“Being 4-0 feels great, but we can’t sleep on anyone,” Loneker said.
“It’s a long season and after this game tonight we know that we have to get better,” Hanratty said.
MID-STATE 38 CONFERENCE-VALLEY DIVISION GAME
BREARLEY (4-0, 4-0) 6 7 0 7 – 20
ROSELLE PARK (2-1, 2-1) 7 3 0 0 – 10
ROSELLE PARK – Carry Mimy 67 run, Valentino Ambrosio kick
1 play, 67 yards, :15 used
BREARLEY – Anthony Primavera 13 run, kick failed (RP 7-6)
11 plays, 85 yards, 4:36 used
BREARLEY – Sebastian Montesdeoca 10 run, Nick Arcieri kick (B 13-7)
11 plays, 65 yards, 6:01 used
ROSELLE PARK – FG Valentino Ambrosio 37 (B 13-10)
4 plays, from Brearley 26 to Brearley 20, :49 used
BREARLEY – Sebastian Montesdeoca 1 run, Nick Arcieri kick (B 20-10)
8 plays, 51 yards, 3:12 used