Trenton can’t overcome early deficit in loss to RV
TRENTON » There were a lot of things that went on in the Rancocas Valley football team’s 3421 win over Trenton on Saturday and in the end it was sort of a mixed bag for both teams.
Trenton (1-1) could certainly feel pretty good about the fact it significantly closed the gap on RV from a year ago and was able to put 21 points on the board against a Red Devil team (2-1) known for playing tough defense.
On the other hand, there were some breakdowns for the Tornadoes, including on special teams where it got torched for a touchdown on a kickoff return and a 3-yard punt that set up the Mt. Holly gang on the Trenton 4 yard line.
As for Rancocas Valley, the 34 points it scored was a solid effort, especially when you consider it was without star allaround playmaker Danny Kondras because of a minor injury.
Not so great for the RV was the way Trenton receivers often broke wide open down field and the fact it had trouble containing quarterback Mahsia McRae when he was flushed from the pocket as the game went along.
It was all part of a nearly three-hour marathon that had more flags than the front of the United Nations building and a host of would-be touchdowns negated by penalties.
“They really took it to us last year, so in that sense it was a lot better,” said Trenton coach Greg Hyslop. “I also like the way we kept fighting. We played a lot better in the second half.”
It was a tale of two halves with Rancocas Valley bolting out to a 21-7 lead in the first. Operating smoothly under the able leadership of fouryear starting quarterback Bryce Mangene (two rushing TDs and two TD passes), the Red Devils struck right away when they drove 83 yards on 12 plays and scored on an 18yard keeper by Mangene.
Also in the first half, the visitors reached the end zone on another run by Mangene and a 65-yard kickoff return by Tai Matlock to make it 21-7.
Matlock’s TD came after Trenton had scored on a 44-yard bomb by McRae to Brandon Richardson midway through the second quarter. Mangene’s second TD came after Trenton was forced to punt from its own 1 yard line and the shanked kick went out of bounds at the 4.
It was more of the same for much of the third quarter as Rancocas Valley increased its lead to 28-7 with a long drive capped by a 20-yard pass from Mangene (9-for-14 passing, 125 yards) to a leaping Jahmier Washington in the end zone. Washington’s TD catch came after two RV touchdown runs were wiped out by penalty flags on the same drive.
It looked like the rout might be on, but Trenton was able to stay in the game and scored late in the third quarter on a 7-yard pass from McRae (10-for-16, 11 yards) to Jaron Encaracion.
Much like in the first half with Matlock’s kickoff return, RV had a quick answer and stormed down the field on seven plays. The last RV touchdown came on another pass 20-yard pass by Mangene, this time to Cerrone Hill, who made an acrobatic catch in the corner of the end zone.
Still not finished despite what was now a 34-14 deficit, Trenton struck right back by going 53 yards on just three plays and scoring on a 6-yard keeper around left end by McRae. This TD was set up by a 27-yard pass to James Hubbard and a 14-yard scramble by McRae to the 6 yard line.
That proved to be the end of the scoring, although Trenton did have a punt return for a touchdown later called back because of an illegal block. When the Tornadoes protested the call, it only got worse from there as they were also hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Rancocas Valley (2-1) 7 14 7 6 - 34 Trenton (1-1) 0 7 7 7 - 21 RV-Mangene 18 run (Prescavage kick) RV-Mangene 4 run (Prescavage kick) T-Richardson 44 pass from McRae (Brown kick)
RV-Matlock 65 kickoff return (Prescavage kick)
RV-Washington 20 pass from Mangene (Prescavage kick)
T-Encaracion 7 pass from McRae (Brown kick)
RV-Hill 20 pass from Mangene (kick blocked) T-McRae 6 run (Brown kick)
Trenton’s Brandon Richardson (4) celebrates with teammate James Hubbard (2) after scoring a touchdown against Rancocas Valley during Saturday’s game.