Staff Writer By doug mckenzie VERONICA YANKOWSKI Middletown South’s Tim Traynor tackles Red Bank Regional’s Mike Zadlock during the Eagles’ 26-6 win in Middletown Saturday. Observing the National Day of Prayer last Friday in remembrance of the terrorist attack on America Sept. 11, many of Friday’s scheduled high school football games were rescheduled, or simply postponed until the following day. And for those teams who did play this weekend, many found that returning to the football field was somewhat therapeutic, in that it allowed the coaches and players to, at least, begin to feel normal again, if only for a short time. At a time when winning and losing on the football field seemed somewhat inconsequential, the teams returned to action, with the majority of the local teams registering wins. The Middletown South Eagles proved their impressive opening-day win over a good Matawan team was not a mirage, but simply an indication that they were indeed back as one of the Shore’s top football teams. The Eagles’ game with Red Bank Regional was moved from Friday to Saturday, but the delay didn’t seem to affect the South defense, as South rolled to a 26-6 win over the Bucs, a squad many people believe is one of the Shore Conference’s most improved teams. Once again it was senior quarterback Brandon Kennedy who was the offensive star, throwing for two touchdowns and running for two more. However, all in all, this was probably a game that the Eagles’ offense would like to forget. South turned the ball over a total of six times in the game, including three times deep in their own territory. But each time, it was the Eagle defense which stepped up and kept the team in the game, while stymieing the Red Bank offense for much of the game. In total, the Eagle defense held the Buc offense to 94 yards, including 29 in the first half, allowing only a third-quarter touchdown pass on a fourth-down play. The Eagle defense was relentless, smothering Red Bank ball carriers in the backfield and sacking RBR quarterback Kevin Snyder six times. It was an impressive performance from a team whose defense could lead them back into contention for a state title. On the offensive side of the ball, Kennedy played well once again, orchestrating a 10-play, 71-yard drive in the second quarter that ended in a 2-yard TD pass to Mike McClelland. Later in the second, Kennedy added a 35-yard TD pass to Andre MacCray to give the Eagles a 12-0 lead at the half. And based on the play of the Eagle defense in the first half, that lead appeared to be plenty. Kennedy ended any thoughts of a RBR comeback in the third quarter when he raced 63 yards for a touchdown to pad the lead to 26-6. But it was the Eagles’ defense that was the dominant force on Saturday, which could mean trouble for the rest of the teams on South’s schedule. If the defense continues to play as it has thus far, South may be one of the last teams standing come play-off time. This Saturday, it’s Manchester’s turn to see how good the Eagles really are when they host South. Game time is 1:30 p.m. The Raritan Rockets are another team that got its second win of the young season, posting a 13-7 victory over an improved Pinelands squad. The Rockets now have the fast start they were looking for heading into this weekend’s tough match-up with 2-0 Long Branch, and they have left tackle Michael Niedbala to thank for it. The sophomore made two of the biggest plays of the game Saturday, picking off a pass and blocking a punt, helping the Rockets hold off Pinelands in a true defensive struggle. Pinelands got on the board first with a 36-yard punt return by Chris Murray less than four minutes into the game. But that would be all the points they could muster against a stingy Raritan defense. Raritan countered four minutes later on an 18-yard TD run from junior Michael Fabozzi. The Rockets got the game’s final score just before the half, when QB James Papcun hit Dave May from 33-yards out for the deciding score. The Raritan defense took it from there, extending its streak of not allowing a touchdown to eight quarters, something they are already taking great pride in. However, that streak is likely to be challenged this Friday, when Berkeley Hutchinson and the high-powered Long Branch offense come to town. Game time is 7 p.m. After getting off to an unfamiliar 0-1 start, the Keyport High School football team could not afford another loss at this early juncture of the season. And with a tough Keansburg team next on its schedule, the Red Raiders were in danger of seeing their season’s goals disappear just two weeks in. But sophomore Ken Cattouse wasn’t going to let that happen, as he ran the ball 20 times for 202 yards and two touchdowns in leading Keyport to the dramatic 20-19 win. Keyport got on the board first when Cattouse ran for a pair of touchdowns from 39 and 59 yards out. Up 13-0, Keyport seemed poised to cruise to its first win after dropping the season-opener to Shore Regional. But the Titans stormed back, scoring three touchdowns to take the 19-13 lead. That set up Keyport’s final chance to notch the win. The drive began with Keyport moving 29 yards on five plays to reach the Keansburg 26. After a pair of incomplete passes, quarterback Steve Greggins lofted a beautiful pass to J.J. Bedle in the end zone to tie the game at 19-19. A.J. Youncofski’s extra point gave Keyport the lead and the win. It was a season-saving win for the Red Raiders, and provided them with an early test of will as they look to regain their championship form. Their next step in that process comes Saturday when they face the 0-2 Mater Dei Seraphs. Mater Dei came close to notching its first win of the year Saturday, only to fall to the surprising Garnet Gulls of Point Beach (2-0), 6-5. Mater Dei had a lead in this game following a 23-yard field goal from Mark Beil. But they were unable to score again, as the Point Beach defense continually turned them back, despite several scoring opportunities. In the end, protecting a 6-3 lead, the Gulls chose to take a safety rather than risk punting the ball from their own end zone, and stopped the Seraphs on their final drive of the game to preserve the win. Mater Dei will try once again to notch its first win of the year when it faces Keyport Saturday. Game time is 1 p.m. St. John Vianney was the only other local team in action this weekend, as the Lancers fell to the mighty Knights of Wall 35-14. The loss dropped Vianney to 1-1. The Lancers had a 14-6 lead in this game before Wall responded with two, second-quarter touchdowns to pull away. Shane Kochon gave the Lancers the early lead when he ran 62 yards for a touchdown and followed that with a 15-yard scoring run moments later following a Wall fumble. But the Wall defense stiffened just as the offense took over, and the Lancers were left with their first loss of the year. Vianney will try to bounce back Saturday when they travel to Point Boro. Game time is 7 p.m. Both the Holmdel Hornets and Matawan Huskies were in action Monday, as their games against Freehold and Ocean, respectively, were moved due to the tragic events of Sept. 11. Results from both games were not available by press time for this week’s Independent. Friday night’s Middletown North at Howell game was rescheduled for the off date that each team had. Fortunately, both teams had Nov. 3 as their bye week and will make up last week’s game on that night.