BCG Game Preview – Old Bridge @ Monroe – October 6, 2023

Knights and Falcons Renew Neighborhood Rivalry on Friday Night

Highlights of Monroe taking on South Plainfield last season.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – On Friday night, Big Central Gridiron will take a drive down to Monroe High School and Hugh P. Walsh Stadium to see the Falcons take on neighborhood rival, Old Bridge.  The rivalry between these two schools has grown over the past few years in both football and basketball.

Old Bridge has dominated the rivalry since Monroe moved up to the GMC Red Division for the 2010 season.  The Knights have won the last five meetings including a 28-21 victory at Lombardi Stadium a year ago.  Monroe has been outscored in those five games by a margin of 141-69, or an average of about 28-14 per contest.

The Falcons came the closest to defeating Old Bridge in 2019 when the Knights edged Monroe 7-6 at Walsh Stadium.  The following year, Old Bridge edged Monroe again 21-14.  This year, both teams have struggled.  The Falcons under new head coach, Nick Isola, come into the match-up at 2-4 while Old Bridge is 1-5.

Both teams have defeated a common opponent in East Brunswick.  The Falcons defeated the Bears in Week 2 action at Jay Doyle Field (21-20) while Old Bridge also traveled to East Brunswick to get a close win (30-28).  Each team is coming off a loss in Week 5.  Old Bridge lost at home to Piscataway (28-7) while Monroe fell to BCC National Gold Division winner, South Brunswick (21-0).

Monroe rolled past New Brunswick (37-7) two weeks ago to gain its second victory of the season.  Old Bridge is slated to play the Zebras next week at Memorial Stadium in New Brunswick.  Entering play on Friday night, Old Bridge has scored a total of 104 points on the season while Monroe has just put up 72.  The Knights have averaged 17.3 points per game while the Falcons have only averaged 12 per contest.

Old Bridge in action versus Sayreville late in the 2021 regular season.

Meanwhile, the Falcons have yielded fewer points with only 159 points allowed through its first 6 games.  Old Bridge has given up a total of 190.  Monroe has given up an average of 26.5 points per game while the Knights have yielded 31.7 points per contest.  Both teams have played a tough schedule.

Monroe began its season with two BCC crossover games against Scotch Plains-Fanwood (lost 25-0) and top-ranked Ridge (lost 41-7) in addition to the Big Central Conference National Gold Division foes of South Brunswick, Piscataway, and EB.  On the other hand, Old Bridge has played the likes of Woodbridge (lost 28-13), Somerville (lost 33-14), and 7th-ranked North Brunswick (lost 29-2) outside of its BCC National Gold slate.

The key player on offense for Old Bridge is sophomore QB Brody Nugent.  So far this season, Nugent has completed 62 of 127 passes 828 yards, and 5 TDs.  Nugent has also rushed another 56 times for 358 yards and another three TDs.  Nugent has accounted for a total of 1186 yards of offense, or two-thirds of the Knights’ attack.

Meanwhile, on defense, sophomore linebacker, Tommy Kasoff leads Old Bridge with 44 total tackles including 25 solo tackles and two tackles for loss.  Senior Ryan Kuhl is tied for second on the team with 29.5 total tackles but leads the team in tackles for loss with 7 and sacks with two.

Monroe’s squad is led by the likes of seniors Salvatore Marchione, Evan Kalabratzdis, Jordan Lacerte and Kaushal Gandra.  Old Bridge has played South Brunswick the toughest of the two teams.  The Knights only lost to the Falcons at home by six (44-38) in Week 2.  The Vikings shut out Monroe and won by three scores.

Prediction:  Old Bridge wins, 24-23.