PISCATAWAY - It took a half-century for Moorestown High to finish with its second undefeated football record.
It took 17 seconds for someone to jump-start the Quakers to their historic, season-ending victory last night.
That's how long it took diminutive Mikey Reynolds to score on the game-opening, 90-yard kickoff return, sparking Moorestown to a 20-6 win over Long Branch in the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 3 championship at frigid Rutgers Stadium.
Reynolds caught the football in the center of the field, juggled it momentarily, and weaved to his right.
"Bryan Burnham gave me a great lead block, and I gave some ground to get ground - and then it was a footrace," said Reynolds, a 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior who dashed untouched down the right sideline.
"That," Moorestown coach Russ Horton said, "set the tone."
"It was huge," said Burnham, who had a 53-yard touchdown reception and his 11th interception. "Both sides came out psyched up, and after the kickoff, we got more motivation and never lost it."
Moorestown (12-0) built a 20-0 lead en route to setting a school record for wins in a season and finishing undefeated for the first time since 1957 - and just the second time since the program started in 1898.
"Coach said all week, 'When you're 80 or 90 or whatever, this record can never be beaten,' " Reynolds said.
"This is something these guys will never forget for the rest of their lives," Horton said. "They made history tonight."
Shane Collier, a senior who alternated at quarterback with junior A.J. Thomas, threw the 53-yard TD strike and scored on a 1-yard keeper for Moorestown.
Collier was one of the replacements for starter John Eller, whose season ended Oct. 20 when he suffered a lacerated kidney against Winslow Township. Eller was on the sideline last night.
Burnham (three catches for 96 yards) gave Moorestown a 13-0 lead when he hauled in the long TD pass on Moorestown's first play of the third quarter.
Collier's 1-yard TD run helped extend the lead to 20-0 early in the final quarter and capped a nine-play, 71-yard drive that featured a 28-yard run by Dominic Sebastiani (70 yards on seven carries) and a 15-yard burst by the fleet Reynolds (67 yards on 13 carries).
Sebastiani, who missed half the season because of a broken ankle, and fellow linebacker John Mahaney led Moorestown with 10 tackles apiece. Sebastiani also had an interception and a sack. Thomas was another major contributor, collecting 31/2 tackles for losses that totaled 20 yards.
Moorestown outgained Long Branch (10-2) in total yards, 304-228.
A 38-0 loss to Middletown South in last year's sectional final, Sebastiani said, served as one of Moorestown's motivational factors.
Moorestown barely qualified for the tourney last season as it was seeded eighth. This year, the Quakers were the top seed.
"We were just happy to be here last year and a little in awe of this stadium and the situation," Horton said. "Last year, we didn't finish the job and that kind of festered with the kids in the off-season. We wanted to finish the job."
Long Branch0 0 0 6 - 0
Moorestown7 0 6 7 - 20
M: Reynolds 90 kickoff return (Lefferts kick)
M: Burnham 53 pass from Collier (kick failed)
M: Collier 1 run (Lefferts kick)
LB: Patterson 1 run (kick failed)