By BRIAN CUNNIFF
Miles Sapp never played a down of varsity high school before Friday.
He looked as if he’d been doing so for years.
Sapp enjoyed a debut to remember in helping the Middle Township High School football team roll to a 35-8 victory over Cumberland Regional in the season opener for both teams.
Sapp, a 6-3, 185-pound senior wide receiver and outside linebacker who did not play football last season, produced big plays on both sides of the football. He caught two touchdown passes, recorded a sack in the end zone for a safety and recovered two fumbles for the Panthers.
Another debutant, junior quarterback Kenderson Cardaci, was displayed great proficiency. He rushed for two touchdowns in addition to his two scoring tosses to Sapp.
“We thought this was a winnable game but we had to be sound and for the most part we were,” Middle coach Frank Riggitano said. “We made a couple mistakes but nothing major. It was a good start for us. We did a nice job. Now we just have to keep getting better.”
Sapp started the scoring for Middle by tackling the Cumberland punter in the end zone for a safety after a high snap on the Colts first possession of the game.
Despite dominating in all phases, Middle didn’t score its first touchdown until Karl Giulian ran in from four yards out four plays after Matt Gariano’s interception with 8:06 to go before halftime.
Giulian alertly returned a short punt 13 yards to inside the 10-yard line later in the period and Sapp caught a touchdown pass from Kenderson on a fade pattern to the right corner of the end zone.
Sapp caught an 11-yard touchdown pass following a Cumberland fumble late in the half. He made a highlight reel play, reaching over a smaller defensive back to snatch the ball away from the Cumberland player’s hands as Middle took a 21-0 lead into halftime.
Cardaci scored touchdowns on runs of 10 and eight yards on consecutive possessions in the second half as Middle built a 35-0 lead.
Cumberland prevented a shutout Daveon Morris scored from 14 yards out with four minutes remaining.
Cardaci finished 9 for 13 for 92 yards and two touchdowns through the air and carried seven times for 56 yards and two more scores on the ground. Matt Marino caught six passes for 62 yards and Giulian ran 15 times for 60 yards and a touchdown for Middle.
Middle hosts Wildwood at 6 p.m. next Friday. The game will air live on 98.7 FM The Coast radio.