The moment called for it. The double reverse pass isn’t something Bridgewater-Raritan’s football team uses much — in fact — the Panthers might have used it once a season the last three years.
B-R coach Scott Bray thought the time right to pull it out of the play book Friday night on the first play of the second half in a vital game with Elizabeth. With senior quarterback Eric Nickel at the helm, the play went for a game-changing touchdown.
Nickel, this week’s Courier News Football Player of the Week, pitched the ball to senior running back Jon Kaye, who then pitched to senior slot Matt Miliotis coming the opposite way. Miliotis then pitched it back to Nickel who stepped in and threw a 57-yard touchdown to junior wide out Ricky Tate. The score gave B-R a 17-14 lead and Justin Davidovicz later added a 38-yard field goal in the third period and the Panthers (5-0) held on to win 20-14.
The triumph put the Panthers — 5-0 for the first time in program history — in great position to win the Mid-State 38 Delaware Division title. The Panthers, who haven’t won a division title since 1993, have division games left with Watchung Hills (Friday night at home) and a week from Friday at Franklin.
“That play is something we try to do when we need a spark,” said Nickel. “It was the first play of the second half, and it was important to at least get field position.”
“It’s about timing it’s a once in season kind of thing,,” said Bray.”You see teams like Elizabeth, Union, Hillsborough, their defenses run to the ball well, it’s just taking advantage of an aggressive mentality. The directions is if it’s not there throw it away.”
It was there. Tate was wide open.
“Ricky has been chomping at the bit to contribute,’’ said Nickel, who completed five passes to Tate for 101 yards.
Nickel threw for 172 yards on 13 of 23 throwing with the long touchdown and an interception. He also ran the ball for 62 yards and a 6-yard TD that tied the game at 7-7 in the first quarter.
“This game echoed what Eric’s done this year so far, he does what we ask of him, he’s manages a very good game, the big thing is what he can do with his legs, being able to run the ball because teams start packing the box when we get into the traditional I we get into that gun and they fear him throwing the ball, so it opens the running lanes,” said Bray.
Nickel said he sometimes feels nerves when it comes to running the play since it calls for so much going right.
“Lots of vertiables and our line really has to hold for a long time,” said Nickel.
The line of junior left tackle Zachary Miseo, junior left guard Chris Nice, senior center Tyler Sibiga, senior right guard Greg Johnson and senior right tackle Andrew Demaio helped make it happen.