EAST GREENWICH – Middletown capitalized on a pair of East Greenwich turnovers early in the second half to score 14 points and salt away a Division III Super Bowl victory, 33-21.
The Islanders had a 19-7 lead with 1:28 left in the first half, but EG’s Andrew Miner ran a picture perfect two-minute, no huddle offense to score in about 60 seconds. The Avengers went into the break trailing 19-14 as a result.
However, Middletown held the Avengers to a three-and-out on their initial possession of the second half. East Greenwich limited Middletown to six plays on their drive, but Alex Cleary couldn’t handle a punt, and the Islanders took over on EG’s 33-yard line. Shemar Vincent recovered for Middletown.
It took Middletown seven plays, but eventually, a pitch to Connor Russ led to a two-yard touchdown, and QB Justin Sellar added on two more with a conversion.
Middletown would then get the ball back less than a minute later. As Carney Crawford fought for extra yardage, an Islander defender stripped the ball from his grasp, and Quinn Garvey fell on the ball for the turnover at EG’s 33-yard line.
Again, after another seven plays, Middletown scored again for a 33-14 lead. Vincent turned the corner on a pitch and went 14 yards for the score.
Vincent’s score came near the end of the third quarter, and looked to put the game out of reach. However, East Greenwich got the touchdown back quickly.
On the final play of the third On first-and-10 from his own 42, Crawford burst up the middle and shed several Middletown tacklers. Only an all-out run by Justin Bailey kept Crawford from a touchdown on the 57-yard run, but Crawford punched it in from the 1-yard line on the next play.
Momentum looked to be on East Greenwich’s side, as the Avengers recovered an onside kick with 11:51 left in the game, trailing 33-21. However, a personal foul and a holding call on the same play led to a first-and-34.
The Avengers actually got most of the yardage back in one play, a 24-yard pass from Miner to Jeremy Streich, but the drive stalled out when a reverse to Kyle Palmer was stuffed by the Islanders.
East Greenwich was forced to punt with about eight minutes left, and didn’t get the ball back until there was just 2:37 left on the clock, thanks to a 12-play drive by Middletown. The Islanders only gained 39 yards and didn’t score, but left the Avengers with too little time to get back in the game.
The Islanders sealed the game with 1:04 left. Facing fourth-and-1, Miner threw a pick to Mitchell Sullivan. A rush by Randy Butler for six yards on third-and-inches gave Middletown their final first down, and Sellar took a knee to end the game.
The title is Middletown’s second in three years. The Islanders lost in the 2011 Division III Super Bowl game to Rogers, but beat Moses Brown in 2010. Vincent, just a sophomore, was named the game’s most valuable player.