Clutch players rise when their teams are in need during crucial games and events.
The state tournaments in autumn sports are heading into the back stretch while the football playoffs are on the doorstep.
Here is a look at some of our local athletes who shined in key games and events this past week.
On the football field…
There has been no stopping Freehold High School and its explosive quarterback Ashante Worthy.
Freehold had opened the season with four losses but once Worthy was inserted in the quarterback position, Freehold has ripped off five straight victories. The fifth straight came Nov. 5 when Worthy ran for touchdowns from 47 and 6 yards and threw two touchdown passes, including a 67-yard connection with Alonte Hair, in Freehold’s 28-8 victory over visiting Long Branch High School.
He ended with 114 yards on the ground while he completed eight of his 12 passes for 163 yards.
Quarterback Edwin Morales was scorching hot Nov. 5 when he clicked on 28 of his 30 passes for 303 yards and six touchdown passes, including three to Dan Cacciatore, in Howell High School’s 50-34 victory over host Marlboro High School.
Bishop George Ahr High School’s superb runner, Andrew Brazicki, gained 205 yards on the ground and scored three touchdowns to steer his Edison-based team past Middlesex High School, 26-13, Nov. 5 in Middlesex.
Brazicki had rushed for 207 yards and three touchdowns a week earlier in a 20-7 victory over Asbury Park High School and amassed 327 yards and five touchdowns in a 46-30 triumph over Spotswood High School Oct. 22.
In a matchup of Greater Middlesex Conference powers, Sayreville War Memorial High School posted a 37-17 victory over host Old Bridge High School Nov. 4. That victory by Sayreville was helped by the all-around play of Jahsim Floyd, who hauled in touchdown receptions of 28 and 13 yards and also took back an interception 43 yards to the end zone.
Allentown High School captured the Patriot Division title in the West Jersey Football League with its 54-7 triumph over host Princeton High School Nov. 5. The Redbirds were directed by quarterback Jordan Winston, who completed 12 of his 16 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns.
Quarterback Donald Glenn was sharp Nov. 4 when he passed for 300 yards and three touchdowns in leading Middletown High School North to a 32-8 victory over Ocean Township High School in Ocean.
Chris Chukwuneke rushed for 215 yards and collected four touchdowns Nov. 4 when he guided St. John Vianney High School to a 42-3 victory over Monmouth Regional High School in Holmdel.
In boys’ soccer showdowns…
Matt Mischler erupted to score three goals and hand out two assists when he guided fourth-seeded Monroe Township High School past fifth-seeded Trenton Central High School, 6-2, in the Central Jersey, Group IV state tournament quarterfinals in Monroe Nov. 3.
Justin McKenna connected on two goals and Middletown North, the sixth seed, surprised third-seeded Orange High School, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of North Jersey, Section II, Group III in Orange Nov. 3.
Saint Joseph High School of Metuchen (fifth seed) made the long journey from Metuchen to Pennsauken and came back home to Middlesex County as a 5-4 winner over Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in South Jersey, Non-Public A state quarterfinals play Nov. 3. That ride home was enjoyable thanks to Antonio Oliveira, who recorded a goal and an assist to lead Saint Joseph.
Manalapan High School is the 15th seed in Central Jersey, Group IV, but the Braves advanced to the sectional semifinals behind Joe Maccariello, whose two goals were the difference in a 2-1 victory over host Old Bridge (10th seed) in the quarterfinals Nov. 3.
Christian Brothers Academy was sparked by a one-two punch of Patrick Kollman and Matthew Thorsheim to knock out St. John Vianney, 3-0, in the South Jersey, Non-Public A quarterfinals Nov. 3 in Lincroft. Each rung up one goal and one assist.
Over on the girls’ soccer side…
One of the premier soccer players in not only New Jersey but in the country, Frankie Tagliaferri, guided Colts Neck High School to a 4-0 victory over East Brunswick High School in the Central Jersey, Group IV quarterfinals Nov. 5 in East Brunswick.
The All-Stater and Penn State University recruit pumped in three goals in a game that featured the Shore Conference Tournament champion, Colts Neck, against the winner of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament, East Brunswick.
Kat Rebele delivered the penalty that sent Holmdel High School past Monmouth Regional in the Central Jersey, Group II quarterfinals Nov. 4 in Tinton Falls. The game had ended in a 0-0 tie before the penalty kicks.
Emma Chisauno produced the winning goal with a second remaining in double overtime when Middletown High School South edged Colonia High School, 1-0, in North Jersey, Section II, Group III quarterfinals action Nov. 4 in Middletown.
Jackson Memorial High School was able to move on to the South Jersey, Group IV semifinals when Madison Taibl scored the game’s lone goal against host Williamstown High School Nov. 4.
In field hockey state play…
Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School is seeking to add a Group III state championship trophy to match the Shore Conference Tournament title hardware that it claimed last month.
Steering Rumson-Fair Haven’s drive to the title is Lily Crodick, who registered a goal and two assists in her team’s 5-1 triumph over Wall High School in the Central Jersey, Group III sectional finals Nov. 3 in Wall.
Katie Riker converted on a goal in the second round of penalty strokes when Freehold advanced with a victory over Millburn when the field hockey team played Millburn in the NJSIAA North Jersey, Section II, Group III finals Nov. 4 in Freehold.
Kali Williams connected on a penalty stroke in the sudden victory session to guide Freehold Township High School past Jackson Memorial in the Central Jersey, Group IV finals Nov. 4 in Freehold. Both teams fought to a 0-0 tie before the penalty strokes.
Running over to the cross-country paths…
Elliot Gindi of Ocean Township not only successfully defended his Central Jersey, Group III boys’ cross-country championship, but he also guided his squad to the team title as well.
On Nov. 5 at Thompson Park in Jamesburg, Gindi was clocked in a time of 15:37.9 to win the individual title. Ocean Township finished with 34 points to capture the team title.
Rey Rivera of Old Bridge broke the course record at Thompson Park when he ran a sizzling 15:21.90 in the Central Jersey, Group IV state meet Nov. 5.
Also capturing individual championships at the state sectional meet at Thompson Park Nov. 5 were Patrick Walsh of South Amboy High School, who ran 16:09 to win the Central Jersey, Group I boys’ race, and Metuchen High School’s Rachel Wentnick, who came home in a time of 20:23.5 in the girls’ Central Jersey, Group I race. Wentnick also helped steer Metuchen to the girls’ title.
Enter inside the schools to view these gymnastic stars..
Melissa Astarita of Marlboro claimed the all-around title during the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Section I gymnastic meet on Nov. 5 in Manalapan. She finished with a 38.750 score.
Placing second in the all-round was Red Bank Catholic’s Nicolette DiPrisco, who scored a 38.675. She helped Red Bank Catholic win the sectional championship with a score of 113.75.
Next up for is the state team championship on Thursday, Nov. 10, at Montgomery High School. The state individual gymnastic meet is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12, also at Montgomery.