Middletown South Looks Promising Despite Graduation Losses

September 5, 2017
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Steve Antonucci begins his 20th season at Middletown South seeking as a 7th state championship.

MIDDLETOWN SOUTH EAGLES

HEAD COACH: STEVE ANTONUCCI (20TH SEASON)

2016 Record: 7-4
Offense: 28.09 points scored per game
Defense: 19.0 points allowed per game

By Jim Hintelmann

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP – By its lofty standards, Middletown High School South’s football team had a some- what off-year last season finishing 7-4 after getting off to a 5-0 star t, but the Eagles still won the “B” Division Nor th championship and should once again be a solid contender for a possible repeat.

Although losing to rival Middleton North for the first time in 16 years last Thanksgiving, South still clinched the division when Wall, which was in first place at the time, was upset by Manasquan.

“We have a young, inexperienced offensive line,” said South coach Steve Antonucci, “but our defense has looked pretty good in our scrimmages: and so far, so good.”

Jake Krellin was tied for the Shore Conference lead with 15 sacks in his junior season.

South lost some key offensive performers by graduation, including quarterback Aneesh Agrawal, but his replacement, senior Ben Kinsella, playing varsity for the first time, has looked good in the pre-season.

“Ben shows good passing ability and can handle the ball,” said Antonucci. “He should have a good season for us.”

South did suffer one loss when leading runner Anthony Summey, who scored 10 touchdowns last year, transferred to St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City). He had transferred from Red Bank Catholic to Middletown South a year ago. Two other good running backs in South’s Spread offense are Chaz Alessi and James Petrillo. Aiden McCarthy and Chris Fleming lead a good crop of wide receivers with Matt Hardy returning at tight end.

Adam Markmann will be the starting center with Nick Bonifiglio and Tom Mielinkewicz at tackle, and Frank Settembrino and Brady Smith the likely starting guards.

Defensively, South will use a 4-2-5. John Flynn and Matthew Tardy start at end with Markmann and Jake Bancala starting at tackle. Jake Krellin, one of the state’s best, and Chris Patterson, will be the inside linebackers while Ken McCarthy and Aiden McCann play at outside linebacker. Chris Fleming and Matt Krellin will be the cornerbacks.

Robby Zega will handle the punting duties and Chris Kaldrovics will kick extra points and field goals.

“We did lose a lot of kids by graduation,” said Antonucci, “but we should be in the thick of things in the “B” North race.” This is a tough division and Red Bank Catholic and Long Branch should be the teams to beat.

MIDDLETOWN SOUTH
2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE

Sept. 8: RED BANK CATHOLIC, 7 p.m.
Sept. 15: at Ocean Township, 7 p.m.
Sept. 22: MANASQUAN, 7 p.m.
Sept. 28: at Rumson-Fair Haven, 7 p.m.
Oct. 6: at Long Branch, 7 p.m.
Oct. 20: at Toms River North, 7 p.m.
Oct. 27: at Saint John Vianney, 7 p.m.
Nov. 3: WALL, 7 p.m.
Nov. 23: MIDDLETOWN NORTH, 10:30 a.m.

GAME TO WATCH

SEPT. 22, HOME VS. MANASQUAN, 7 P.M.

Manasquan football has returned to its traditional power level after winning a state title last year. The Warriors and Eagles will be one of the top games on the board across the state in Week Three and there’s the always interesting father/son angle. Steve Antonucci’s son, Tommy, played a big role defensively in Manasquan’s championship season and is a two way threat.

PLAYER TO WATCH

CHAZ ALESSI, SENIOR RUNNING BACK

The departure of Anthony Summey could be viewed as a gaping hole, but Chaz Alessi showed last year that he’s capable of being an outstanding threat in the backfield. With 36 carries for 175 yards last year, you can count on Alessi getting a whole lot more work in his senior season.

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