BARNEGAT TOWNSHIP - Barnegat High School football players and fans won't forget the name Mike Cantelli any time soon.

The senior seemingly did everything Friday.

Cantelli scored all four of Holmdel's touchdowns, completed two two-point conversion attempts and had an interception in the Hornets' 29-23 overtime win against Barnegat.

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"Things were going our way," Cantelli said. "The chips just fell in place.

"When I was looking to run, they were crashing down, so there was a wide-open lane outside and I took it every time they gave it to me. I was just trying to get first downs. ... I was seeing open field and trying to get first downs."

The loss damaged the Bengals' chances of clinching a South Jersey Group II playoff berth, although coach Rob Davis said he still believes his team is in. The field will be made official after today's games.

Things looked good for the Bengals midway through the fourth quarter.

On a key fourth-and-10 from Holmdel's 15-yard line with Barnegat trailing 15-9, Davis went with some trickery.

Bengals quarterback Nick SanGiacomo took the snap and handed off to Pat Moran, who ran left.

Moran flipped the ball to receiver Mike DeTroia coming around the end. DeTroia stopped and threw a pass to SanGiacomo, who leapt over a defender and into the end zone to put the Bengals up by one point.

Moran then intercepted Cantelli on Holmdel's first play after the score, setting up a 59-yard touchdown pass from SanGiacomo to Ryan Morris.

But Cantelli wasn't done.

Cantelli, who will play lacrosse at Cortland State next year, burst through the line of scrimmage for a 35-yard touchdown run to send the game to overtime.

SanGiacomo was stripped of the ball during Barnegat's possession, giving the ball to the Hornets.

Cantelli had three carries for 24 yards and the game-winning touchdown on a 4-yard keeper on Holmdel's possession.

"It was just two good teams," Davis said. "We had momentum and then we lost it. They played well. They're a good team. I thought we had the momentum when we scored that touchdown, but we lost it."

SanGiacomo, who will play at Tulane University next season, completed 11-of-31 passes for 227 yards and two touchdowns despite the wet conditions from Thursday's rain. But he also threw four interceptions and fumbled twice.

"It was the weather," Davis said. "They played us well, but we couldn't get tracking with the football. The ball was slippery. It was slippery for both teams, but the weather affected us more.

"We'll bounce back. Of course we don't like losing, but we'll bounce back."

Cantelli completed 11-for-17 passes for 122 yards. He ran for 144 yards and four touchdowns on 17 carries.

"Our best athlete is Mike Cantelli," Holmdel coach Frank Papalia said. "We asked Mike to go out and win a game for us tonight, and he did a nice job.

"Any time we were in a tough spot, I was calling for the ball to be in Michael's hands. ... He's fantastic. He's a leader, and I have all the confidence in the world with him getting the ball. He just willed things to happen tonight."

DeTroia had three catches for 74 yards. Barnegat's Lou Buscio had 45 yards rushing, 35 yards receiving and led the defense with nine tackles, two for a loss.

Contact John O'Kane:


Holmdel 0 8 7 8 6 - 29

Barnegat 0 9 0 14 - 23


H-Cantelli 2 run (Conversion good)

B-Safety (Smithman tackled McGraw in the end zone)

B-Moran 2 pass by SanGiacomo (Moran kick)


H-Cantelli 5 run (Cuccurullo kick)


B-SanGiacomo 15 pass by DeTroia (Moran kick)

B-Morris 59 pass by SanGiacomo (Moran kick)

H-Cantelli 35 run (conversion good)


H-Cantelli 4 run


Rushing 168 88

Passing 122 242

First downs 16 16

Penalties 6-51 3-35

Turnovers 1 6


Rushing-Holmdel, Cantelli 17-144, McGraw 14-24, McGrory 1-7, Fasciano 1-3, Renna 3-(-10). Barnegat, Buscio 7-45, SanGiacomo 9-27, Erb 5-16.

Passing-Holmdel, Cantelli 11-17-122-1. Barnegat, SanGiacomo 11-31-227-4, DeTroia 1-1-15-0.

Receiving-Holmdel, Covino 5-66, McGrory 3-21, Renna 2-19, McGraw 2-16. Barnegat, DeTroia 3-74, Morris 1-59, Moran 4-42, Buscio 2-35, Nacion 1-17, SanGiacomo 1-15.

Records-Holmdel 4-4, Barnegat 4-4.


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