Hoboken, NJ – Wednesday night featured a pair of championship hopefuls in First & Zinz and BaderAde & Vodka. It may not have been exactly the start that these teams were hoping for, but both certainly handled their business this week. The first game of the night saw First & Zinz take on newcomers Highlighters. First & Zinz, a champion last year, started the season off with a loss but have come back with a vengeance over their next two. After their 36-6 victory last week, the team once again showed their dominance. Quarterback Felix Jiang completed a whopping 11 of 12 attempts in the first half, spreading the ball around and hitting Joe Falgares, Brian Macellara, Kyle Rawson for touchdowns. The defense strangled Highlighters, who just couldn’t muster much of a scoring threat. This was in large part thanks to a strong pass rush that gave quarterback Luis Savarese fits all night. First & Zinz was in complete control and took a 21-0 lead into the break.
The second half was much of the same. The near perfect offense for First & Zinz slowed a bit, but the defense was just as relentless. The rush finally struck home and Rawson recorded the only sack of the night, with Macellara also adding a late interception (much to his teammates ire on a fourth down heave; that’s okay, get your stats). The Highlighters offense looked a bit better in the second half but Savarese was still running for his life and not getting a ton of help from his receivers, other than PJ Augusto and Angel Matos’s ten combined receptions. Jiang tacked on a few more touchdowns, one rushing and another on a strike to Anthony Nehlsen, and First & Zinz preserved the shutout along with their second straight 30+ point win by a score of 33-0.
Game two saw a decisive rebound victory for BaderAde & Vodka, who dropped a game last week after a nearly incredible comeback fell just short. They took on JV Superstars, who are back for their second season and trying to state their case as playoff contenders. BaderAde & Vodka Quarterback Ryan McGuirl picked apart the JV Superstars defense all night, completing 18 of 25 attempts and tossing five touchdowns passes. His only blemish was a late interception. McGuirl found Brendan Bader and Paul McCarthy for his first half touchdowns, and the BaderAde & Vodka defense certainly did their part as well. Bader and McCarthy also added interceptions to their early statline, while teammate Andrew Meoli was able to record his first sack of the night. JV Superstars kept it close early though, as quarterback Dan Dexter found Jorge Rivera for a touchdown to cut the deficit to just 13-6 at the break.
Despite the close score, it felt like BaderAde & Vodka was in complete control of this one and they would pull away in the second half. The defense was just as formidable, with Meoli adding his second sack of the evening and McCarthy securing his second interception. McGuirl hit Ben Carroll for a pair of touchdowns in the second half and again found McCarthy in the endzone. Dexter and Mike Negron each recorded a passing touchdown (Josh Biegel and Dylan Corring on the receiving ends), but it wasn’t enough. Mistakes and errant throws combined with a stellar performance at both ends of the field for BaderAde & Vodka (and McCarthy specifically) doomed them from the start. BaderAde & Vodka secured their second victory on the early season by a score of 34-18.
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