By BRIAN CUNNIFF
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — The Middle Township High School football team needed just 15 seconds to score against Schalick Friday evening.
That quick score was the start of a massive offensive barrage by the Panthers, who led 28-0 before the end of the first quarter en route to a 49-6 victory.
Middle quarterback Brett Nabb scored on the first play from scrimmage on a 17-yard run after his team recovered a Schalick muff off the opening kickoff.
Only three minutes later, two plays after a 44-yard run by freshman Jeremiah Jones, Nabb tossed nine yards to Eric Smith for Middle’s second touchdown.
After Middle stopped Schalick on fourth down deep inside Panther territory, the hosts went on an eight-play, 73-yard drive to score again. Nabb ran in from nine yards out to cap the drive, which was highlighted by a 13-yard scamper for a first down by Smith on a broken punt play, followed by a 45-yard run by Smith.
Jones scored Middle’s fourth touchdown of the opening period on a 53-yard run.
Middle upped its lead to 35-0 at the break after a 27-yard touchdown pass from Nabb to Zarfati.
In the second half, Nabb hit Luke Salvo for a 31-yard score and Zarfati, who played quarterback in the fourth quarter, threw 29 yards to Matt Frame for another score.
Schalick, coached by former Middle head coach Mike Wilson, got on the board with a touchdown pass on the game’s final play. Three of Wilson’s assistants — Wyatt McCart, Joe Durso and Nick Eidenbeg — also played at Middle.
“There was a little extra excitement there because some of our former players are assistants and the (head) coach was a coach and teacher here,” Middle coach Frank Riggitano said. “Our kids wanted to play well here. We weren’t perfect because we still have to iron out some mistakes but all in all the kids did a great job.”
The victory came one week after a 40-14 loss to Clayton in the team’s opener.
“I was happy with our approach to offense with how quickly we were doing things in our no-huddle,” Riggitano said. “We had to get better and quicker with it if we wanted to go that route and we were 1,000 percent better at it. We looked like we had a plan and a scheme to what we were doing.
“Having all those kids and getting so many of them involved is really helpful. It allows us to spread the ball out and it gives us opportunities to hide things and rest different players and still execute.”
In addition to his two touchdown runs, Nabb was 6 for 8 for 114 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also threw a two-point conversion to Dom Caraballo.
Jones ran seven times for 148 yards, all in the first half.
Jerome Licata went 5 for 6 on extra-point kicks. Jared Johnson also kicked an extra point.
Middle’s home game with Pennsville scheduled for next Friday, Oct. 16, has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns at Pennsville. The Panthers will now play at Audubon on Saturday, Oct. 17, at noon.