Chargers and Bulldogs Looking for Their 1st Win Under the Lights at MHS on Saturday Night
METUCHEN, NJ—Let there be light! On Saturday night, Big Central Gridiron heads to Metuchen High School to take in a rare night game in the Brainy Boro as the hometown Bulldogs will host Spotswood in a BCC Division 2B match-up. Both teams are searching for their first win so something will have to give.
The Bulldogs are perhaps more encouraged at this point after only losing to South River, 21-8 last Saturday afternoon in Metuchen. Metuchen lost its season opener against Keyport on Labor Day, 37-20, and fell to A.L. Johnson in its home opener on September 11th (16-6). Meanwhile, Spotswood has only scored 6 points this season, and has been shut out in its last three games including a 33-0 defeat to Roselle in Charger Country last week.
Metuchen is led by senior QB Stephen Michaeliszyn, who has completed 41 of 76 passes for 473 yards and 2 TDs while also rushing 64 times for 97 yards, and another 2 TDs. In the season opener at Keyport, Michaeliszyn was a bright spot in defeat with 7 of 14 passes completed for 97 yards and a TD and 17 carries for 63 yards and another score.
In the loss to South River last week, Michaeliszyn completed 14 of 26 passes for 184 yards and didn’t throw an interception while rushing for the team’s only score. One of Michaeliszyn’s favorite weapons has been senior A.J. Perillo, who has rushed for 115 yards on 18 carries for an average of 6.4 yards and caught 17 passes for another 196 yards to average 8.9 yards per touch.
Senior Andrew Antiporta is a tough fullback, who has rushed 16 times for 40 yards, and his only TD of the season was in the loss to Keyport on Labor Day. Antiporta has also collected 13 solo tackles including two for loss. Perillo has also contributed on defense with 17 solo tackles and a fumble recovery.
Aiden Holloway, who made a spectacular catch in the 3rd quarter to help the Bulldogs get their first score versus Keyport on Labor Day, leads the team in solo tackles with 25 while also catching 12 passes for 194 yards and a TD. Michaeliszyn has 9 solo tackles on the season along with a fumble recovery and the team’s only interception.
On the other side of the gridiron, Spotswood is led by junior Ethan Williams, who directs the spread offense at QB while also handling the punting duties. So far this season, Williams has completed just 5 of 22 passes for 77 yards and a TD while junior Evan Baureko has completed 2 of 5 passes for 10 yards.
Madden Obado leads the Chargers in rushing with 58 yards on 12 carries while Williams has rushed 26 times for 37 yards. Christian Montero returned to the lineup last week versus Roselle after being injured in the season opener at South River. Montero has rushed 19 times for 34 yards. Brandon Bandoy, another junior, leads the team in receiving with 2 catches for 68 yards and a TD while Williams has caught two passes as well for 21 yards.
Brandon Curnal leads the defense with 11 total tackles along with a forced fumble while Tyler Curnal has 11 total tackles as well with a sack. Anthony Legakis has the Chargers only interception. Sophomore Trey Lazar is another player to watch on the Charges with 7 total tackles, and Quinn Esser has 5 tackles along with a fumble recovery.
Looking at the rivalry, the Chargers have won the last five meetings between the two schools by a combined score of 141-61. The closest game during this stretch was on November 4, 2017 when Spotswood defeated Metuchen, 31-22. In that game, the Chargers took a 24-0 lead before the Bulldogs rallied behind QB Will Hronich, who completed 9 of 19 passes for 86 yards and a TD and Jaden Rojas rushed 16 times for 96 yards and 2 TDs.
Since the two schools began playing each other 1979, Spotswood leads the series 21-17, and has won 9 of the last 11 meetings including eight straight. The Chargers actually won the first two meetings before the Bulldogs took charge with 11 wins in the next 13 contests from 1982 to 1994. Despite trailing in the series, Metuchen has actually outscored Spotswood by a margin of 698 to 661 in the 38 meetings, or by an average of 18 to 17 per game.
Over its last five games dating back to its 2020 season finale versus Roselle, the Chargers have lost all five and scored just 30 points with 24 of them coming in the November 2020 contest against the Rams. Meanwhile, Metuchen has also lost its last five dating back to last season, and have been outscored 149-34.
Metuchen is playing at home, played South River more competitively, and most importantly, has been more effective on offense.
Prediction: Metuchen wins 20-6.