By Matthew Sockol
MILLSTONE – The achievements of two Millstone Township youth football teams have been recognized by municipal officials.
Mayor Bob Kinsey, on the behalf of the Township Committee, commended and recognized the Millstone Eagles Pop Warner Junior Midget team and the Millstone Eagles Pop Warner Pee Wee team for their successful 2015 seasons at the governing body’s Feb. 18 meeting.
The Junior Midget team, which is comprised of youths ages 11-13, compiled a 12-2 record and won the Pop Warner Division III Eastern Regional championship on Nov. 28.
The Pop Warner Eastern Region consists of teams from New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. In the championship game, the Eagles defeated the Schenectady-Belmont Broncos, a New York team, 20-18.
“We are so proud of you guys and the hard work you put forth,” Kinsey said to the Junior Midget players. “The Millstone Township football program has put Millstone on the map. It was an outstanding season, capped off by an incredible win.”
The Pee Wee team, which is comprised of youths ages 10-12, compiled a 10-3 record and won the Pop Warner Central Jersey Division III championship by defeating the West Windsor-Plainsboro Wildcats.
“We are so grateful for you doing what you are doing,” Kinsey said to the Pee Wee players. “You have put Millstone’s football program on the map and made it recognized around New Jersey and beyond.”
Players from both teams were present at the meeting. After being asked to stand, the players were applauded for their accomplishments.
Committeeman Fiore Masci called for all of the football coaches and team moms to stand and be recognized for their efforts.
“The (Pop Warner) program starts in August, it did not end for (the Junior Midgets) until November, and if you are married to one of these people, you know the amount of time that gets put into this,” Masci said. “They are what makes this all happen.”
After the players were commended, a coach from each team spoke about his team’s season.
“I want to thank the mayor and Township Committee for recognizing the boys tonight,” said Ben Minton, the head coach of the Junior Midget team. “They worked very hard this year. The last game they played was the final (Pop Warner) game for all of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. It was great for Millstone, it was certainly great for the boys, and I wish them luck.”
“I’ve been coaching for a long time and this group takes the cake right here,” said Andrew Buonantuono, a coach on the Pee Wee team. “The hard work these boys put in is astounding. We ask a lot from them and there is not a complaint from one of them. We believe this is a good foundation for them as they grow older and become outstanding citizens. This is where it starts.”
Kinsey asked for a player on each team to discuss their season.
Speaking on the behalf of the Junior Midget team was Danny Merkel.
“This was a special season because we went really far,” he said. “We won hard games, we battled through tough times, we were down some times, and we stayed strong. We did not turn on each other and we fought through the entire season.”
Speaking on the behalf of the Pee Wee team was Jagger Agnew.
“This is my first year coming to Millstone and joining the team,” he said. “I didn’t know a lot of the kids, but the team really bonded. We went on to win a lot of games and beat a lot of teams Millstone lost to last year. Since Millstone isn’t that big, it’s nice that we were able to beat some of the bigger towns.”