It was perilously close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
Highland Park – which came within four games of matching the state record for consecutive losses in high school football, held by Newark East Side – snapped the state’s longest active losing streak Thursday night in its season final at Point Pleasant Beach, knocking off the Gulls, 46-29.
The win was the first for the Owls (0-9) since Thanksgiving 2016, when they beat arch-rival Metuchen. In between were 2,534 long days without a win, which came on November 2, 2023.
On Day 2,535, the streak ended.
The names should go down in Highland Park history. They are the kids who stuck through every loss, some blowouts, some gut-wrenching defeats that came oh-so-close.
Markos Hantsoulis. Kaseem Qualls. Jowuan Keyes. Nicholas Marino. Danny Sanchez. Every young man on the team contributed, as did the many who came before them, keeping the program alive – sometimes with spit and glue, and perhaps quite literally, even – played a role.
And of course, two other names: Shawn Harrison and Joe Policastro.
Harrison is the head coach. Joe was a longtime head coach, and brought the Owls several championships. He’s the man who tells the stories of the old Owls who enraptures the young Owls. He’s the tie to a past that isn’t really all that long ago.
And here’s another thing in the past, that come next August, when the players strap on their helmets and pads for the first time, will seem like ages ago: their last loss.
Click below for postgame reaction from Marcus Borden presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen!!