The Middletown Athletic Club is proud to announce that on Wednesday, November 15th, the Middletown Eagles Junior Midget (ages 12 and under) tackle football team defeated the Holmdel Hornets 12-0 for the New Jersey American Youth Football (NJAYF) Jersey Shore Conference A North Division Championship. The game was played in Holmdel as a circumstance of Hurricane Sandy and field availability, rather than a neutral field. This did not deter this scrappy group of football players who claimed their stake as a team to be reckoned with moving forward.
Entering the playoffs as the lowest seed in the division, the Eagles defeated the Toms River Indians 32-12 in what one league official called “a tackling clinic”. The very next day, the world changed. Superstorm Sandy struck the Jersey Shore leaving devastation in its path. Many Jersey Shore AYF football and cheer organizations were affected by the storm. Over 50% of the Middletown Eagles organization’s families reside on the shore side of Highway 36 in Middletown. The Junior Midget team has 12 players who reside in Leonardo, Port Monmouth or Atlantic Highlands. One of the players’ family living in Sandy Hook (father is in the Coast Guard) lost their home.
In Round 2, the Eagles faced the number one seeded team in the Manalapan Braves. The Braves in week 8 of the regular season thumped the Eagles 38-18. It was almost as if they woke a sleeping giant. Since then the Eagles have played some the best football they have ever played and returned the favor to Manalapan by defeating them 18-16 in Manalapan.
As a team the Middletown Eagles call Croydon Hall their home as the Eagles’ home field is Ed “88” Keys field in the Croydon Hall complex. Since Sandy, the team has been displaced. Many of the players have come down frequently to Croydon Hall which was turned into a Relief Supply Distribution Center after Sandy to volunteer their time and help those who are in need, devastated by the storm. Setting aside their own personal circumstances, the players turned to volunteerism as a diversion. Many of the players without power, the team without a place to practice and much more than a young group of 12 year old kids should have to worry about, the Eagles were not fazed. They banded together and have become closer with every step of the way.
This weekend, on Sunday, November 18th at 4:30pm at Rumson High School, the Eagles will move on to the NJAYF Jersey Shore Championship Round against a formidable, undefeated opponent in the Jackson Jaguars. The Jaguars are the South representative, while the Eagles represent the North. The winner of this game earns a spot on the National stage at the AYF National Championship in Orlando, Florida. This will become an incredible task should the team win as all fundraising efforts have ceased in the aftermath of Sandy. However, the Eagles are happy with taking it one week at a time.
Come out to Rumson High School on Sunday and show your support for the Eagles who through all of the adversity are fueled by their desire to make the Jersey Shore proud. Go Eagles!