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Football: Extra rest helps Holy Spirit come out with vigor in 36-0 win over Middle Township

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By DAVE O’SULLIVAN Publisher The extra few days of rest Holy Spirit had before facing Middle Township on Monday night, after their game scheduled for Friday night was postponed due to torrential rains, seemed to have put some spring in the legs of the Spartans players — particularly junior running back Reggie Jean-Charles. Jean-Charles was too much for the Panthers defense to handle, as he rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries as the Spartans blew open a 15-0 halftime lead to cruise to a 36-0 win that evened their record at 2-2. “It feels great and gives us some momentum. We are always getting doubted, but we just push through everything. This gives us a lot of confidence and we are ready for Buena,” Jean-Charles said. “We weren’t expecting to have to play on Monday, but we just had to adjust to it.” “He’s a hard worker and that’s one of the reasons why he’s a captain,” said senior linebacker Joe Curinga. “He’s well respected on the team. We see nothing but good things coming from him this year.” Reggie Jean-Charles carried the ball 17 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns during Holy Spirit's 36-0 win over Middle Township on Monday night. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O'Sullivan) Reggie Jean-Charles carried the ball 17 times for 124 yards and three touchdowns during Holy Spirit’s 36-0 win over Middle Township on Monday night. (Glory Days Magazine photos/Dave O’Sullivan) “He’s a beast,” head coach A.J. Russo said of Jean-Charles. “And he’s just learning, too. This is our fourth game of the year and it’s his fourth varsity start. He hasn’t been on the field much at all and he’s hopefully going to continue to get better. He’s a punishing runner.” Jean-Charles capped off Holy Spirit’s first drive by rushing for a 23-yard touchdown, and holder Dan Tarsitano hooked up with Gavin Liepe on a fake extra point to put Holy Spirit up 8-0. Middle Township drove down to the Spartans’ 23-yard line on its next possession, but Joe Porpora broke up a fourth-down pass to keep the Panthers (1-3) off the scoreboard. From there it was all Holy Spirit, as the offense kicked into high gear while the defense continued to stuff Middle Township’s running game. Mike Costabile, making his first varsity start, hooked up with Will Gaskill on a short pass inside the 5-yard line halfway through the second quarter, and on fourth-and-goal from the 3, Jean-Charles plowed through the middle and leaped into the end zone to give Holy Spirit a 15-0 lead. Costabile was in for Tarsitano, who was moved to wide receiver as Russo tries to find the right combination with the sophomore best friends. “It was Mike’s first start at the varsity level, but he’s a pretty confident kid. He wasn’t nervous, and having Dan out there to throw to pumped Mike up a little bit as well,” Russo said. “To have them both getting going at the same time is nice for us.” Jean-Charles’ third touchdown of the game, a 13-yard run to the right in which he picked up a key block from Gaskill, pushed the lead to 22-0 early in the third quarter. Ralph Bright found running room on the right side a few minutes later and tip-toed into the end zone on a 12-yard run to make it 29-0, and Costabile hooked up with Tarsitano for a 24-yard touchdown pass to put the game on ice. Costabile stood in the face of some intense Middle Township pressure and delivered a perfect pass despite taking a huge hit. Holy Spirit's Mason Murphy reacts after narrowly missing an interception during Spirit's win over the Panthers. Holy Spirit’s Mason Murphy reacts after narrowly missing an interception during Spirit’s win over the Panthers. Holy Spirit’s defense, meanwhile, was delivering some big hits of its own, led by Curinga, Anthony Dobronte and Mason Murphy. “The defense is the biggest factor for us right now, holding other teams’ offense down,” Jean-Charles said. “We just did what we had to do and what coach taught us. I think we did pregame about three times, so that kind of prepared us. Coach told us to rest up, eat, and he said he knew we were going to play well,” Curinga said. “Coach told us we only need one ingredient, and that ingredient is hard work, and we just have to use our athletic ability to do what we need to do.” Russo said it’s nice to see his defensive unit playing with some attitude now. “The offense has some continuity going right now, and defensively we have been playing pretty well the last couple of games. In the Cedar Creek game our defense played well, but we came out on the short end of the stick there. But this is something we have been looking forward to and it finally came together tonight,” Russo said. “They are playing with attitude and they are having fun out there. When you are having fun out there and the attitude comes along and you are successful, it makes everybody want to fly to the ball and that’s what we are doing right now. We have 11 gold helmets to the ball on every play.” Contact Dave O’Sullivan: sully@acglorydays.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays

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