TJ at Middletown football 1

Middletown’s Reese Poffenbarger runs for a big gain in the first quarter Friday against Thomas Johnson. View and purchase sports photos at www.fnpinfocus.com.

MIDDLETOWN — As a freshman on Middletown’s JV football team, freshman Lawson Halsey watched in admiration from afar as Zach Brady made his presence felt.

As a sophomore, Brady consistently found a way to cause havoc in opponents’ backfield as a nose guard on the Knights’ varsity football team last season.

Now a sophomore on the varsity team, Halsey wants to become a Brady clone of sorts.

“He tears it up,” Halsey said of Brady Friday after Middletown opened its season with a 49-0 victory over Thomas Johnson. “He brings the energy to the team ... I want to bring the same energy.”

For much of Friday’s game, Halsey lined up alongside Brady as a defensive tackle, and they spent much of the first half trading big plays, rushing upfield to bring down ballcarriers behind the line of scrimmage for a defense that allowed zero rushing yards and 167 total to the Patriots.

On TJ’s first drive, Brady sacked quarterback Adam Cox, leading to a forced fumble that Halsey recovered. Later in the quarter, Halsey brought down running back Jack Puttnam for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-2 from the Knights’ 18-yard line, leading to one of the Patriots’ four turnovers on downs in the first half.

If you listen to Brady talk about his linemate, it seems as if Halsey has followed in his footsteps nicely. Halsey holds the top deadlift mark in his class (445 pounds), which exceeds marks of some upperclassmen on the team. That kind of ambition creates the kind of intrasquad competition that Delauter seeks.

“That just motivates us to push even harder,” Brady said. “To see a kid younger than us doing bigger weight than us, that just [makes us want] to get in there and work harder every day.”

Defensive end Brian Walker and linebackers JD Nelson and Conner Meyer also played well defensively, delivering a standout performance that became a necessity considering the Knights (1-0) took some time to get on track offensively, managing minus-2 yards of offense in the first quarter.

“We just swarmed to the ball,” Brady said. “Everyone was there on every tackle.”

Matthew Mancini scored Middletown’s only points of the first quarter, returning a Cox interception 30 yards for a touchdown.

Eventually, Middletown’s offensive line started developing some continuity, opening up big holes for running backs Clark Cheairs (12 carries, 56 yards) and Meyer (seven carries, 62 yards) and giving quarterback Reese Poffenbarger more time in the pocket.

Poffenbarger completed 4 of 5 passes for 61 yards, including a 12-yard scoring strike to Paul McHugh on a play-action pass. Middletown had 167 yards of offense in the second quarter.

“Guys were frustrated when they made mistakes, but they threw it away, and they were able to bounce back and play the next play not thinking about it,” Delauter said. “Those were all things that I’m really happy with right now.”

Patriots coach Bobby Humphries was pleased with the way his team played, considering nine of his players lined up on both sides of the ball throughout much of the game.

Cox threw 64- and 52-yard passes to Terrell Storrey and Kamani Quander, respectively, twice putting the offense inside the Knights’ 35. Defensively, Ethan Krowlow and Jordan Alexander each recorded sacks in the first quarter.

“These are kids that are going both ways all game long, and they played every single quarter without any breaks,” Humphries said. “They are not giving up. The score didn’t go in our favor this week, but they’re still staying positive.”

(7) comments

DickD

The Knights first quarter was very disappointing. They kept running the ball into the center of TJ's line and not getting much yardage. When Reese went back to pass, on a roll out, he was sacked for big losses twice. I blame this on the coaches. You have a premier quarterback and you are not using him smartly. Quick passes to some very good receivers would have been good. No, we have to run into the center of the line.



Finally, they opened it up in the second quarter and with the combination of good defense the score was 35 to 0, at the half.



The second half was a running clock with the offense burning up most of the clock on one drive. The 4th quarter was all subs and one more score.

gabrielshorn2013

Nonetheless, it was a good game Dick. There was a whole lot more that went right than went wrong, hence the score. Were we watching the same game?

DickD

Yes, but it took the coaches a long time to adjust, all of the 1st quarter. How many times do you need to hit your head against the wall.

mikec

Little easier to coach from the sidelines, isn't it?

DickD

Absolutely, that is why I am not the coach. [lol]

armillary





The

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works

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armillary

The

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works

like

this.

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