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South Hunterdon could clinch division Friday


If Brearley was the yardstick game, South Hunterdon more than measured up.

The Bears had won the last five games in the series. That included a 14-0 verdict last year that was a rare blemish on South Hunterdon’s otherwise fine 6-3 season, a campaign that ended in sectionals.

The Eagles (5-1, 3-0 Big Central Freedom Silver), winners of five in a row, took those years of frustration out on Brearley last Saturday afternoon, cruising to a 38-16 win. The Eagles opened with 38 unanswered points. Senior quarterback Anthony Venettone rushed for a team high 126 yards and two TDs. He also threw a 25-yard score to Ryder Manfready. Aaron Zalescik added two rushing touchdowns.

South Hunterdon has allowed just 53 points in its five wins. And Belvidere, who South Hunterdon beat 35-15 on Sept. 8, scored both touchdowns on pick-sixes. Brearley scored its 16 well after the game’s outcome was no longer in doubt.

Defensively, Edward Cooper and Garrett Swayhoover both average over 10 tackles per game. The Eagles have also forced seven turnovers.

The offense starts with Venettone. The team’s leading rusher, Venettone has run for 557 yards and scored nine touchdowns on the ground. He has completed 43 of his 90 pass attempts for 766 yards and 10 touchdowns. Zalescik (16 catches for 347 yards) is his leading target. Manfready has caught 10 balls, four for scores.

The Class A Eagles opened with a tough 28-12 loss to Class 3A Ewing, a game in which South Hunterdon outgained Ewing and the Blue Devils clung to a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter. Ewing has four times South Hunterdon’s enrollment.

On Friday, South Hunterdon travels to Dunellen. An Eagles win means South Hunterdon will have run the table and gone 4-0 in the Freedom Silver Division. It would be their second title in three years. South Hunterdon has won the teams’ last three meetings.

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