Lacey 6, Brick 3: As time wound down, it looked as if the host Dragons were about to pull off another miracle.
Lacey had other ideas.
With six seconds left in the game and the ball on the Lacey 27, quarterback Conor Davies lofted a desperation pass to receiver Bill Belford, who snared the ball in the air between two Dragons’ defenders and zigzagged his way to the end zone, keeping the visiting Lions (7-0) undefeated and breaking the hearts of the Brick players and faithful alike.
The Brick team and community had been riding a wave of excitement after the stunning victory over Toms River North one week ago that brought out the story of Anthony Starego, the Dragons’ kicker who is autistic.
With a crew from ESPN at the game, Starego kicked another field goal – a 30-yarder – that until the last 6 seconds was the only points of the game.
Brick (2-5) manacled Lacey star running back Kyle Spatz for most of the game, holding him under 100 yards rushing. But Lacey’s defense locked up Brick when it had to, keeping the Dragons out of the end zone and stopping Brick on fourth-and-inches with less than a minute left in the game.
Barnegat 24, Lakewood 13: Cinjun Erskine ran for three touchdowns and Pat Moran kicked a 32-yard field goal as the host Bengals (4-3) upended the Piners (5-2).
Erskine opened the game’s scoring with a 55-yard touchdown run. Moran’s field goal gave them a 10-0 lead before Lakewood scored twice in the second quarter.
But Barnegat responded in the third quarter with a 4-yard run by Erskine that put the Bengals ahead for good.
Southern Regional 20, Jackson Memorial 7: Abe Gonzalez rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and the visiting Rams (5-2) beat the Jaguars (1-6).
Grant Bissey scored from a yard out for Southern’s other touchdown.
Manchester 56, Pinelands Regional 15: The host Hawks (1-6) notched their first victory of the season, easily beating the Wildcats (0-8).
Toms River South 41, Brick Memorial 20: Tymere Berry passed for a touchdown and ran for another to push the host Indians (4-3) oast the Mustangs (5-3)
Ryan Cieplensk and Nick Costa each scored touchdowns from Toms River Regional.
Manalapan 42, Toms River North 7: Joey Fields scored a 6-yard touchdown in the first half but that was all the offense the visiting Mariners (4-3) could muster in a loss to the Braves (7-0).
Anthony Firkser scored three touchdowns for Manalapan, which is seeking its first undefeated season in 25 years.
Red Bank Catholic 34, Middletown South 7: Jake Ripnick scored from 2 yards out for the host Eagles (5-2) but the Caseys (7-0) scored three times to take a 21-7 lead at halftime.
Larry Radaelli scored on runs of 3 yards and 37 yards and Chris Whitlock scored a 47-yard touchdown for Red Bank Catholic.
Jackson Liberty 38, Point Boro 31: Kyle McGarry caught two touchdown passes, including a 54-yarder from Ryan Connelly to open the scoring, but the host Panthers (5-3) fell in overtime to the Lions (5-2)
Chris Oliphant passed for 190 yards and two touchdowns for Point Boro.
Shore Regional 35, Keansburg 18: Kevin Masica scored two touchdowns and Mark Constantino returned a punt 57 yards for a touchdown as the host Blue Devils (6-1) beat the host Titans (4-4).
Colts Neck 34, Freehold Township 0: Tim Vangelas and Giovanni Zefferino had two touchdowns each as the visiting Cougars (6-1) downed the Patriots (0-7),
Mike Campbell passed for 160 yards for Colts Neck.
Long Branch 24, Matawan 21: Vicente Mota kicked a 36-yard field goal in the waning seconds of the game to lift the host Green Wave (7-1) past the Huskies (5-2).
Deon Williams ran for a touchdown and caught a pass from quarterback Avry Griffin for an 82-yard score for Long Branch. Joscil Jackson had a 35-yard TD for the Wave.
Kashaun Barnes passed for two touchdowns and ran for another for Matawan.
Middletown North 13, Howell 7: Jake Bertkowski caught a pass from Cody Thompson for a 60-yard touchdown in the four quarter and the visiting Lions (2-5) beat the Rebels (0-7).
Howell scored on its first possession of the game, when John Quinlan hit Walter DeCanio with a pass that turned into a 31-yard touchdown.
Middletown North tied the game in the third quarter when Jared Mosier scored on a 20-yard run.
Monsignor Donovan 36, Central Regional 0: The host Griffins (5-2) clinched a tie for the Shore Conference Class B South title, its first division crown since 1993, with the victory over the Golden Eagles (2-5), thanks to losses by Lakewood and Point Boro. Donovan can take the title outright with a win over Jackson Liberty next week.
St. John Vianney 21, Holmdel 12: Quarterback Billy DeMato threw three touchdown passes and the host Lancers (4-3) beat the Hornets (3-5) in Holmdel.
Frank Condito ran for a touchdown for Holmdel.