High school football all-star games typically feature a lot of fireworks, apropos for being played in summertime.
The fireworks in the inaugural Marisa Rose Bowl – to benefit the Marisa Tufaro Foundation, which helps pediatric patients and families in need throughout the greater Middlesex County area – were mostly between the two sides, with high-intensity throughout.
But the scoreboard was as cold as the air conditioning in the locker rooms on a night where the game was played in mid-90-degree temperatures at North Brunswick Township High School’s Steve Libro Field, where Team Marisa topped Team Rose 14-7.
The first and last scores of the game – which only saw three touchdowns – came from Monmouth-bound Christian Solino of St. Joseph-Metuchen, who was named the inaugural game’s MVP.
The first came just over two minutes into the second quarter, when Solino connected with Metuchen wideout Aidan Holloway for a 23-yard touchdown strike that made it 7-0. But the teams retreated to their locker rooms tied at 7-7 after Piscataway senior Rocco Bellamy ran eleven yards for a score with 95 seconds left in the first half.
After the break – which featured two dance routines by the cheer squads led by Spotswood’s Colleen Meyers, who’s been with the game since its inception as the Snapple Bowl in 1998 – Team Marisa – which never trailed – was more methodical with the ball, playing it conservative, keeping it on the ground, and eating clock.
A more than six minute drive after Team Rose’s opening possession results in an eight-yard run from Solino, to make it 14-7 with the extra point.
Team Marisa’s defense held, then held the ball again, draining almost the rest of the game clock before the defense held one more time.
Click below for postgame reaction from Team Marisa’s 14-7 Marisa Rose Bowl win over Team Rose: