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Middle’s Gardner hits scoring milestone in loss

David Gardner (second from right) of the Middle Township High School boys soccer team with teammates (from left) Gavin Quinn, Brendon Bartha and his younger brother, Jonathan, after scoring his 50th career goal in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to Oakcrest.

CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — David Gardner scored a milestone goal but the Middle Township High School boys soccer team dropped a 3-2 decision to Cape-Atlantic National Conference leader Oakcrest Tuesday afternoon.

Gardner scored a pair of goals to increase his career total to 51, becoming only the eighth player in Middle boys soccer history to surpass 50 career goals.

Gardner scored his goals 10 minutes apart in the first half, leveling the game each time. But Oakcrest netted the winner midway through the second half.

Middle goalkeeper Braiden Scarpar kept Middle in it by stopping a penalty kick early in the second half.

Despite the loss, Middle (9-5 overall, 7-4 CAL National) proved to be a more formidable challenge for the Falcons this time around. Oakcrest (10-1, 9-1) had posted a lopsided 5-1 victory when the teams met for the first time in September.

Gardner now has 19 goals on the season.

The other Middle players to surpass 50 career goals include 1981 graduate Gary Hunter (79), 1997 graduate Anthony Maher (71), 2009 graduate Zach Todd (59), 2001 graduate Tony Hagan (57), 2009 graduate Kevin Lombardo (54), 2009 graduate Austin Johnson (52) and 2001 graduate John Rennie (51).

Middle next plays Thursday at Mainland.

— Brian Cunniff