The Paw Print

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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Manalapan Triumphs in Homecoming Upset


The Manalapan Braves had a tough time last season and earlier this season. In the 2022-23 season, the Braves only won three games compared to seven losses, including a devastating loss to the Marlboro Mustangs at the Manalapan homecoming game that capped off a 28-year winning streak. Most of these losses were the result of a last-minute touchdown by the rival team. Consequently, Manalapan dropped down from the American Division to the Colonial Division.


This year didn’t seem to bode well for Manalapan either, at first. Two early wins against Long Branch and Wall were offset by losses to Jackson Memorial, Colts Neck, Raritan, and Howell. Excitement and passion were high the night of Friday, October 6 at Manalapan High School, but the air was polluted by dread and looming disappointment. Manalapan faced off against the then-unbeaten Point Pleasant Boro Panthers.


Point Boro scored a field goal towards the end of the first quarter which was followed by a long struggle that led to a tied game at halftime, thanks to the field goal scored by Jake Horowitz.

Point Boro’s Matt Oliphant scored a touchdown near the end of the third quarter, his second touchdown that game, to give his team the lead heading into the fourth quarter.


Anthony Macchio was able to get Manalapan back in the lead briefly during the fourth quarter with a touchdown early in the quarter, but then it happened: with 5:26 left, Oliphant passed the ball to fellow Point Boro player Jake Croce and Croce scored a touchdown. The Point Boro crowd cheered while the Manalapan crowd went into an uproar. Manalapan had not forgotten all the narrow losses last year caused by a touchdown at the end of the final quarter, and they were bracing for another one of these narrow losses.


Then, with 3:34 left on the clock during the fourth quarter and 23-18 on the scoreboard, A’shere Woolfolk made an incredible 55-yard touchdown run that allowed Manalapan to just barely pull ahead of Point Boro and win 23-24. The Manalapan Crowd went wild, cheering, stomping their feet against the metal bleachers, and jumping up and down. The post-game Applebee’s and Chili’s trips were surely loud and lively.

For the senior team members, there couldn’t have been a better end to the final home game of their high school careers. Facing low odds against then-unbeaten Point Boro, they gave it their all, including Macchio, who grabbed three passes including a vital touchdown.

You can find the full scoreboard here.

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