ROSELLE PARK – Sparked by a stellar performance from senior running back Brian Matthews, who carried 22 times for 241 yards and three touchdowns, Roselle Park held on to turn back neighboring arch rival Brearley 34-28 in Friday night’s Mid-State 38 Conference-interdivision football clash at Herm Shaw Field.
Roselle Park (4-1) won its second straight and defeated Brearley (2-3) for a second consecutive year after losing to the Bears 10 seasons in a row.
This was Roselle Park’s first win over Brearley at Herm Shaw Field since the Panthers blanked the Bears 20-0 in 2001.
Roselle Park has now also defeated Brearley two years in a row for the first time since 2000 and 2001.
Brearley never quit and even took a brief 8-7 lead in the second quarter after gaining a safety and then scoring its first touchdown.
Matthews, who was held to 61 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown in the first half, scored – perhaps – the game’s two biggest touchdowns.
Matthews’ first score, from five yards out, came with just five seconds remaining in the first half, capping an 11-play, 62-yard drive that gave Roselle Park the lead back for good at 13-8.
Then on third-and-10 from the Roselle Park three-yard line during the first Panther second-half possession, Matthews got to the outside on the left and sprinted down the sideline past Brearley defenders on his way to a 97-yard touchdown run.
A second touchdown run by Brearley sophomore Anthony Primavera pulled the Bears to within 27-22 with 6:33 left.
Brearley then stopped Roselle Park when a diving Matthews’ effort on a short run came up just inches shy of a first down at the Bears’ 37-yard line.
Now with 2:59 left and one timeout remaining, Brearley was 63 yards away from going back ahead and possibly stealing a victory.
However, three incomplete passes wrapped around sophomore quarterback Sebastian Montesdeoca getting tackled for a four-yard loss by Roselle Park senior lineman Alan Nunez followed, with the Panthers taking the ball back with two minutes left.
From the Brearley 33, Roselle Park wasted no time, with Matthews slipping through a hole and into the end zone for his third and final score.
Brearley answered with one more touchdown which was an eight-yard pass from Montesdeoca to senior Nick Cantalupo with 55 seconds left.
Roselle Park fell on the ensuing onsides kick attempt to seal the hard-fought triumph.
Brearley senior running back David Eskin carried nine times for 53 yards in the first half, including a 39-yard run on Brearley’s third possession that was stopped at the Roselle Park two-yard line. On fourth-and-two from the Panther 3, Eskin gained one yard up the middle, but not the necessary two to keep the drive going.
Brearley stopped Roselle Park in Bears territory the first two times the Panthers had the ball. The first time was at the Brearley 34 and the second at the 12.
Roselle Park senior defensive back Jordan Andre (5-9) had his hands full covering Brearley senior wide receiver Ryan Lueddeke (6-3) since Lueddeke had a height advantage of half a foot. Lueddeke caught four passes for 31 yards.
From his quarterback position, Andre scored on an eight-yard run in the third quarter.
Roselle Park senior running back Joey Fulinello scored the game’s first touchdown on a 10-yard first-quarter run.
Roselle Park senior safety Bobby Vail intercepted Montesdeoca’s third pass of the game in single coverage.
Brearley junior tight end Jeffrey Velez picked up a fumble off a botched reverse attempt and ran 30 yards for the touchdown that gave the Bears their only advantage.
Velez also caught a 37-yard Montesdeoca pass over the middle during the drive where Primavera scored his first touchdown. The ensuing two-point run by Montesdeoca pulled Brearley within 20-16.
MID-STATE 38 CONFERENCE-INTERDIVISION GAME
BREARLEY (2-3) 0 8 8 12 – 28
ROSELLE PARK (4-1) 7 6 14 7 – 34
ROSELLE PARK – Joey Fulinello 10 run, Bradley Carle kick (RP 7-0)
7 plays, 62 yards, 2:40 used
BREARLEY – Safety, intentional grounding from end zone (RP 7-2)
BREARLEY – Jeffrey Velez 30 run, run failed (B 8-7)
6 plays, 57 yards, 2:39 used
ROSELLE PARK – Brian Matthews 5 run, pass failed (RP 13-8)
11 plays, 62 yards, 3:20 used
ROSELLE PARK – Brian Matthews 97 run, Bradley Carle kick (RP 20-8)
3 plays, 97 yards, 1:10 used
BREARLEY – Anthony Primavera 7 run, Sebastian Montesdeoca run
14 plays, 84 yards, 6:24 used
ROSELLE PARK – Jordan Andre 8 run, Bradley Carle kick (RP 27-16)
2 plays, 45 yards, :43 used
BREARLEY – Anthony Primavera 1 run, run failed (RP 27-22)
12 plays, 67 yards, 5:42 used
ROSELLE PARK – Brian Matthews 31 run, Bradley Carle kick (RP 34-22)
1 play, 31 yards, :09 used
BREARLEY – Nick Cantalupo 8 pass from Sebastian Montesdeoca,
pass failed (RP 34-28)
5 plays, 60 yards, :54 used