Defense leads South Brunswick to Central Group V title

PISCATAWAY – The saying goes that defense wins championships. For the South Brunswick High School football team, a dominant effort on the defensive side of the ball earned another sectional title.

Staring a rushing attack from Old Bridge right in the eyes, one that had more than 600 yards in its two previous state playoff games, South Brunswick held the Knights to just 129 offensive yards and 51 on the ground, en route to a convincing 42-0 win at High Point Solutions Stadium in the NJSIAA Central Group V final Saturday afternoon.

South Brunswick (11-1) won its final 11 games of the season after suffering a 41-21 decision to Middletown South on opening night to capture its second sectional championship, after winning the 2012 crown.

“This is the end of a four-year run with these seniors that I haven’t seen in a long time coaching. Great ending and we’ve had a great run after that first game, 11 in a row. I couldn’t be prouder of these seniors,” South Brunswick head coach Joe Goerge said.

Coming into the game, Old Bridge had rushed for 614 yards in playoff wins over Edison and New Brunswick, but the South Brunswick defense stonewalled the Knights’ attack to a tune of just 51 yards on 26 attempts (1.96 per rush). Old Bridge (8-4) managed just 3.3 yards per play and lost the time of possession battle by nine minutes (25:28-16:27).

Old Bridge’s Jake Sodano had totaled 321 yards on the ground and scored seven touchdowns in the two prior postseason outings, but managed just 58 yards on 15 attempts.

The Vikings had four tackles for losses and sacked Old Bridge quarterback Artur Sitkowski twice, simply “executing” and “keeping their focus”, according to two of their stars.

“We were ready and we just had to execute,” senior captain Phil Campbell said. “We knew how it felt in the first game this season and how it felt coming off the field last year in this game, so we didn’t want to have that feeling again.”

Campbell registered just two tackles on defense from his free safety position, but that was due in large part to Old Bridge’s inability to get to the second level and force the bruising Rutgers commit to lower the boom. The dual-threat – Campbell rushed for a game-high 90 yards and added a late touchdown – said he and his defensive mates hoped to make a statement on Saturday.

“We wanted to shut them out,” Campbell said. “We just executed and it went our way.”

Another Rutgers commit playing his final game for South Brunswick, Mohamed Jabbie, ended his high school career in style, picking off a Sitkowski pass and returning it 31 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, essentially putting the game out of reach.

“I used my receiver skills on that one,” Jabbie said. “I saw the ball in the air and took it to the house.”

Despite having won 10 games in a row coming in, including a Thanksgiving Day thrashing of rival North Brunswick, Jabbie said that keeping the focus during the week of practice wasn’t difficult.

“Coach told us all week just to focus and have one thing on our mind and we did. We went really hard this week in practice and that showed in the outcome of the game,” he said.

The Knights never got into the South Brunswick red zone and punted six times, while only possessing the ball for 4:39 in the second half.

Liao leads South Brunswick into Central Group V title game

MONMOUTH JCT. – The intellect of Josh Liao came to the forefront at the absolute biggest moment of the game and the South Brunswick football team’s season.

With the clock running on 4th-and-goal and the game tied 21-21, Liao made a heads-up decision to audible from a run to a pass, finding a wide open Mohamed Jabbie in the end zone as time expired, sending top-seeded South Brunswick to a 27-21 victory over fifth-seeded Manalapan on Friday night.

The win vaults the Vikings into the NJSIAA Central Group V title game on Dec. 5 against third-seeded Old Bridge, a 26-12 winner over New Brunswick on Friday night, in an all-GMC Red Division showdown for the sectional title.

“I looked at the sideline and they were yelling at me to spike the ball,” Liao said of the game’s final play. “I knew it was fourth down and we didn’t have any timeouts left, so we called a play to go up the middle, but I saw the Manalapan defense crashing in, so I thought about rolling outside to bye myself some time, so I rolled out and the corner came at me, and I saw Mo open and I hit him. It was a great play.”

Liao finished 16 of 21 for 185 yards and the winning touchdown, with a 33-yard completion to Wendell Allen on 3rd-and-22 with 2:40 remaining to continue the Vikings’ final drive.

“I saw Wendell and he has been working with me all summer and all season and he’s the fastest player on our team,” Liao said. “I said let’s give him a shot, and they had defense over the top and I tried to fit it in there and Wendell made a great catch and it was all him.”

Phil Campbell’s third touchdown run of the game put South Brunswick up 21-7 with 51 seconds left in the third quarter, seemingly putting the Vikings in command. But Manalapan showed the heart of a champion to battle back, scoring just 88 seconds into the fourth quarter on a Chris Maksimik 1-yard run to cut into the lead.

After South Brunswick went three-and-out, Jaier Garrett was back to punt, but he didn’t get the ball off of his foot and the Braves took over at the South Brunswick 34. Five plays later, Manalapan scored to knot the game at 21-21, when quarterback Luke Corcione hit Reily Radosevich for a 23-yard touchdown.

With exactly five minutes to play, the Vikings got the ball back and marched down the field on a 13-play, 69-yard drive, taking up every available second on the clock to advance to their third sectional final in the last four seasons.

“It wasn’t supposed to be that kind of a call,” Jabbie said of the game’s final play and his 10th catch of the night. “Josh made the call of his life and he popped it up to me and I was wide open and caught it.”

Jabbie, who has committed to play at Rutgers, will lead his Vikings onto the High Point Solutions Stadium turf after bringing in 10 passes for 85 yards.

“I just knew that I had to make a big play. Coach always says that big time players make big time plays in big time games,” Jabbie said.

Campbell finished with 63 yards on 22 carries and the three touchdowns for South Brunswick. Manalapan’s Marcus Salinas also had 63 yards rushing on 19 carries, but was held in check after a big opening drive in which he has eight carries for 41 yards. Corcione was 7 of 13 for 151 yards for the Braves, who had ended South Brunswick’s perfect season in the Central Group V final last December.

MANALAPAN (6-5) 7-0-0-14-21

SOUTH BRUNSWICK (9-1) 0-14-7-6-27

SCORING SUMMARY

M – Maksimik 1 run (Wiener kick)

SB – Campbell 1 run (Fehte kick)

SB – Campbell 11 run (Fehte kick)

SB – Campbell 1 run (Fehte kick)

M – Maksimik 1 run (Wiener kick)

M – Rodosevich 23 pass from Corcione (Wiener kick)

SB – Jabbie 1 pass from Liao

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – M: Corcione 7-13-151; SB: Liao 16-21-185.

Rushing – M: Salinas 19-63, Corcione 3-28, Mayfield 2-12, Maksimik 3-4; SB: Campbell 22-63, Liao 5-21, Allen 5-15.

Receiving – M: Scherzer 1-61, Mayfield 4-42, Salinas 1-25, Radosevich 1-23; SB: Jabbie 10-85, Shorter 3-42, Allen 1-33, Garrett 2-25.

Jabbie, South Brunswick roll into Central Group V semifinals

MONMOUTH JCT. – On the game’s opening play, tailback Blake Leeds hit Walter Wynkoop for a 29-yard completion on a halfback pass. Five plays later, the eighth-seeded Hunterdon Central football team was in the end zone and up 7-0 on top-seeded South Brunswick in the NJSIAA Central Group V playoffs.

“Coaches got us prepared and we were told to expect something early on from them. But we missed it and they got it over on us. But we said, ‘That can’t happen anymore,’ and it was do-or-die now so we have to go hard and come back,” South Brunswick’s Mohamed Jabbie said.

After the Red Devils’ touchdown, it was the Jabbie show from there, as the Rutgers commit made Friday’s game his own personal highlight reel, racking up 184 all-purpose yards while scoring three first-half touchdowns and leading South Brunswick to a 46-7 victory on a windy evening.

The Vikings will host either fifth-seeded Manalapan or fourth-seeded Trenton in the semifinals. That game is Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.

South Brunswick (8-1) answered Hunterdon Central’s early touchdown with two scores in seven offensive plays, as Wendell Allen rushed in from 21 yards out on the Vikings’ first possession and Jaier Garrett found paydirt from 20 yards away after Phil Campbell picked off Hunterdon Central quarterback Christian Shaw.

With the Vikings up 13-7, Jabbie caught a short screen pass from quarterback Josh Liao and turned on the afterburners, racing 63 yards for a touchdown.

After the Vikings scored on a Liao three-yard run, Jabbie turned in two more highlight reel touchdowns.

The Red Devils went three-and-out following the Liao touchdown and on the punt, Jabbie lost track of the ball and it bounced behind him to the South Brunswick 25. But he didn’t panic, picking up the ball and using a variety of moves to shake the Hunterdon Central punt coverage team, racing 75 yards for the touchdown, essentially putting the game out of reach.

“The way the wind was blowing, I did not think it was going to go that far,” Jabbie said. “So I had to run to the other side and get my elbows closed to catch it, but I muffed it, and when I picked it up, I saw open field and set my blockers and went to the left side and from there, it was history.”

To cap his big night, Jabbie got himself wide open in the corner of the end zone and Liao lofted the ball towards him, but the wind took it and Jabbie was forced to make a tough catch, sprawling out and getting two feet in bounds for his third score of the night.

Liao finished 8 of 9 for 216 yards and two touchdowns and added a rushing touchdown for South Brunswick.

With one more home game remaining on its schedule, South Brunswick will have a familiar opponent, no matter who emerges victorious on Saturday afternoon.

The Vikings lost to Manalapan 21-7 in the Central Group V final last December. South Brunswick last played Trenton in the postseason in 2013, with the Vikings winning 28-8 in the state’s capital.

Jabbie said he and his teammates will be ready, no matter who wins.

“We just have to practice well; we’ve practiced so well since that Middletown South game. Our coaches are going to get us ready for next week, and since that game is tomorrow, we might go watch. We’ll know what we’re up against,” he said.

Christian Shaw went just 4-17 through the air for Hunterdon Central (3-7) for 22 yards and an interception and Leeds rushed for 24 yards on 11 carries.

HUNTERDON CENTRAL (3-7) 7-0-0-0-7

SOUTH BRUNSWICK (8-1) 20-20-6-0-46

SCORING SUMMARY

HC – Leeds 4 run (Ungar kick)

SB – Allen 21 run (kick failed)

SB – Garrett 20 run (Fehte kick)

SB – Jabbie 63 pass from Liao (Fehte kick)

SB – Liao 3 run (kick blocked)

SB – Jabbie 75 punt return (Fehte kick)

SB – Jabbie 21 pass from Liao (Fehte kick)

SB – Shorter 20 pass from Liao (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – HC: Shaw 4-17-22-1; SB: Liao 8-9-216.

Rushing – HC: Leeds 11-24, Lacombe 3-6, Shaw 4-5, DePaola 1-2, Mania 1-2; SB: Allen 7-56, Garrett 5-45, Campbell 15-35, Jabbie 2-14, Liao 4-9, Cerminaro 5-8.

Receiving – HC: Wynkoop 2-44, Scheier 1-9, Leeds 1-minus 2; SB: Jabbie 3-95, Shorter 3-65, Campbell 1-46, Allen 1-10.

Hillsborough tops Plainfield in final minutes

PLAINFIELD – Joe Schultz hit Jimmy Suseck for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:44 left to complete a stunning comeback, lifting the Hillsborough High School football team to a 22-18 victory over Plainfield on Saturday afternoon at Hub Stine Field.

The Raiders scored the game’s final 22 points after yielding three touchdowns in the opening quarter, and ended their third two-game losing streak of the season.

Schultz finished 15-24 for 196 yards and two touchdowns for Hillsborough (3-6), leading his squad up and down the field in the second half as sunlight faded and nighttime crept in.

“We couldn’t see at the end of the game, but we had some guys making clutch plays,” Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty Jr. said. “I’m really, really happy for our guys. We’ve had a lot of games this season like this where we’ve come up a little bit short, so to finish one off really means a lot to these guys. They deserve it.”

Hillsborough took less than three minutes out of the half to march down the field and get its offense going, using the legs of Kyle Kauffman to get inside the red zone. Kauffman, who ran for 43 yards on 13 carries, busted off a big 27-yard run on the drive and capped the series with a 1-yard touchdown plunge at the 9:39 mark of the third quarter.

After the Raiders held Plainfield (1-7) on downs, Hillsborough embarked on a 13-play, 88-yard drive that lasted over six minutes. Schultz hit Suseck for 15 to pick up a big first down early on and then connected on back-to-back 18-yard completions, one to Jackson Parham and then to Kauffman for a touchdown, bringing the Raiders within one score. Schultz hit Parham for the two-point conversion, cutting the lead to 18-15.

“Joe is a clutch player and a good athlete. Our guys have made plays throughout the year, but he was hot in the second half,” Carty Jr. said. “Our receivers made great plays like always and Joe was tough and competitive and I was really happy with him today. Offense played a lot better in the second half.”

Plainfield worked the ball down into the Hillsborough red zone on the ensuing possession, but quarterback Jayson Bryant fumbled a snap at the 20, giving the ball back to the Raiders.

But the Cardinals looked to swipe momentum right back as Jaleel Simmons picked off Schultz on the second play of the drive and appeared to have a return touchdown, but it was wiped out due to a penalty and on 4th down, after two false start penalties, Bryant threw incomplete and turned it back to Hillsborough with 6:44 left.

The Raiders needed only three minutes from there to take their first and only lead of the day, as Schultz hit on four straight attempts on the drive, the final one coming to Suseck in between two defenders in the corner of the end zone.

Plainfield’s last gasp effort got across midfield, but stalled when Bryant missed on three straight passes, including fourth down, sealing it for the Raiders.

“We just had to know that if we played the way we’re capable, we were going to come back in this game,” Carty Jr. said. “We played really tough on defense; Plainfield got a couple of big plays on us, but we put our defense in some bad spots because of turnovers, and when they had to go the whole field, our defense was able to lock down.”

Bryant set up all three Plainfield touchdowns in the first quarter, starting with hitting Simmons for a 64-yard catch-and-run on the game’s opening play before Jason Cisson dove in from 1 yard out. Bryant scrambled for a 13-yard score on 4th-and-goal from the 13 and hit Simmons for 35 to set up another Cisson score, this one from 3 yards out.

Bryant finished with 157 yards passing and 40 more rushing, and Simmons has 137 yards receiving on five catches for Plainfield, which lost its seventh straight.

HILLSBOROUGH (3-6) 0-0-15-7—22

PLAINFIELD (1-7) 18-0-0-0—18

P—Cisson 1 run (kick fails)

P—Bryant 13 run (pass fails)

P—Cisson 3 run (kick fails)

H—Kauffman 1 run (Eilbacher kick)

H—Kauffman 18 pass from Schultz (Parham pass from Schultz)

H—Suseck 17 pass from Schultz (Eilbacher kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing — H: Schultz 15-24-196-1, Fisher 7-13-61-2; P: Bryant 9-23-157-1.

Rushing — H: Kauffman 13-43, Parham 1-3, Schultz 7-2, Melillo 1-1; P: Cisson 13-77, Kennedy 9-42, Bryant 7-40.

Receiving — H: Parham 8-93, Zimmerman 7-81, Suseck 3-54, Kauffman 2-18, Williams 1-12; P: Simmons 5-137, Kennedy 1-10, Cordoba 1-7, Woodard 2-3.

Barneys leads Colonia to GMC White Division title

COLONIA – With the score tied at 7-7 going into the half, the Colonia High School football team had 24 minutes to earn a divisional title and continue a winning streak heading into the state playoffs.

Senior quarterback Chase Barneys made sure that his team remained hot and accomplished those goals. Barneys posted three third-quarter touchdown runs in an eight-minute span, helping Colonia (7-2) edge South Plainfield 28-14 Friday night, wrapping up a second-straight Greater Middlesex Conference White Division title.

Barneys capped a six-play, 65-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run to open the third quarter, and after South Plainfield went three-and-out, the dual-threat signal caller finished off a 10-play possession, running the final four yards to put the Patriots ahead 21-7.

“We just kept on going. We never give up. The linemen did a good job and I had running lanes the whole second half,” he said.

But following Barneys’ second score of the game and seventh rushing touchdown of the season, Ruben Torres returned the kickoff 94 yards for a score, bringing South Plainfield (6-2) back within seven.

The Patriots were whistled for a personal foul on the following kickoff, pinning themselves back at the 10-yard line. After Barneys was sacked, Bashir Lauderdale busted outside for a 24-yard run and Brandon Benedicks picked up six yards with a punishing run, setting up Barneys for another score. This time the speedy quarterback got to the edge and raced 66 yards for the touchdown, capping the scoring and delivering a division championship in a year when it wasn’t always a lock.

“The line pulled outside well and blocked the guys they were supposed to and I just saw the open cut-back and hit it,” Barneys said of his third score on the night. “But this is a great feeling because a lot of people didn’t think we’d be so great this year, losing so much from last year’s team. But we just keep on working and we got the job done.”

Barneys finished with 97 yards on 10 carries and added 97 more yards through the air on 9 of 14 passing, but did throw an interception in the red zone to kill an early drive. Lauderdale topped the century mark for the Patriots, rushing for 106 yards on 15 carries, including a 3-yard touchdown. The Patriots’ tailback is now over 1,000 yards rushing for the season.

After the Patriots took the 14-point lead with 2:45 left in the third quarter, South Plainfield embarked on a 15-play drive that carried into the fourth quarter, but it stalled out on the Colonia 10 after more than eight minutes. It was the second drive of the game of at least 14 plays for the Tigers that did not result in any points – a 14-play drive was cut down at the end of the first half.

“We didn’t play a clean game. South Plainfield’s plan was to eat the clock and run the ball and they did that in the first half,” Colonia head coach Tom Roarty said. “They chewed up the clock there in the second quarter, but the kids pulled together. It was a great night and a great way to win the division.”

South Plainfield’s Jason Lee was the game’s top performer, rushing 27 times for 164 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but the Tigers offense couldn’t make enough plays around Lee to mount a comeback.

“These kids never quit. We were 3-2 and I think a lot of people kind of wrote us off with the toughest part of our schedule coming up, but these are the types of kids we get here,” Roarty said. “They are tough and they don’t give up and give 150 percent every day. It showed with the defense tonight, not giving in and coming up with a couple of big fourth-down stands.”

Colonia will host a first-round playoff game in North 2 Group IV next Friday while South Plainfield looks to be heading out on the road in Central Group III.

SOUTH PLAINFIELD (6-2) 7-0-7-0-14

COLONIA (7-2) 0-7-21-0-28

SCORING SUMMARY

SP – Lee 26 run (Lee kick)

C – Lauderdale 3 run (Ribiero kick)

C – C. Barneys 2 run (Ribiero kick)

C – C. Barneys 4 run (Ribiero kick)

SP – Torres 94 kick return (Lee kick)

C – C. Barneys 66 run (Ribiero kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – SP: Waldrop 8-14-54, Lee 0-1-0; C: C. Barneys 9-14-97-1.

Rushing – SP: Lee 27-164, Delvecchio 8-40, Gonzalez 2-4, Waldrop 3-minus 7; C: Lauderdale 15-106, C. Barneys 10-97, B. Barneys 5-37, Piro 4-30, Santos 2-14, Benedicks 1-6.

Receiving – SP: Sapini 3-24, Delvecchio 2-19, Lee 2-7, Adams 1-6; C: Santos 3-34, B. Barneys 2-27, Benedicks 3-21, Manning 1-15.

Spotswood sets pace in win over Middlesex

SPOTSWOOD – Momentum can last just a matter of seconds, the Middlesex High School football team learned on Saturday afternoon. At the end of the first half, the Blue Jays snuck in a 19-yard fake field goal for a touchdown, as Michael Cresitello dove in with the score with 11 seconds left.

But on the ensuing kickoff, Spotswood’s Marlon Hart raced 80 yards for a touchdown as time expired, sending “Uncle Mo” back to the Chargers’ side and upping the hosts lead to 31-20 at the half.

Hart would ice the game with a 33-yard touchdown catch from Shawn O’Connor in the fourth quarter and a fumble recovery on the following play, leading Spotswood to a 45-28 victory over Middlesex.

Spotswood (6-2) did its part to remain in control of the Greater Middlesex’s Blue Division race, setting up a win-and-celebrate scenario against Metuchen next Saturday. It would be the Chargers’ second straight Blue Division title.

“We were all pissed about that bad call, you might say,” Hart said about the fake field goal run being awarded a touchdown on the field when it appeared Cresitello didn’t cross the goal line. “So I told Chance Fee who was back there with me, ‘if you get it, toss it back to me and we’ll run a reverse.’ But they ended up kicking it to me so I was surprised and I just had the momentum to go up the field and score.”

The Chargers didn’t score again until Hart left his defender in the dust with 6:34 to play, essentially putting the game on ice, but he didn’t have to, as the Spotswood defense stepped up and made the necessary plays to emerge victorious, including having Hart be in the right place at the right time when Middlesex’s James Esposito fumbled with 6:26 to go.

“We kept motivating ourselves and hopefully we could get a couple of stops on defense,” Hart said. “I was surprised when that pitch came and I saw him fumble it and I just jumped on the ball.”

Hart exploded for a 70-yard catch-and-run touchdown on the second play in the second quarter, running away from the secondary and putting the Chargers up 21-14. Middlesex (5-3) had tied the game one offensive play earlier when Joe Ffriend raced home from 48 yards out. But after the kickoff, O’Connor lofted a perfectly-thrown pass to Hart and the speedy senior did the rest.

“I like to run the ball, but you better be balanced. Marlon allows us to be balanced. We have a lot of threats and Shawn can run, but Marlon is very good. Clearly,” Spotswood head coach Andy Cammarano said. “Marlon has earned everything he’s gotten here from the get-go and he’s had to learn from the start.”

O’Connor finished 7-11 passing for 218 yards and the two touchdowns to Hart, and added 80 yards on four carries for Spotswood, which got another big game from bruising tailback Joe Hayford.

Hayford punished the Middlesex defense for 110 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. Jake Keenan chipped in with 61 yards on three catches and 55 yards on seven carries, including a 25-yard touchdown run.

But the star of the day was Hart, who had 149 yards on three catches, plus the momentum-swinging kickoff return, which is something Cammarano is happy his squad can finally rely on.

“I have never had a kid on kick and punt returns that can change the game like that. As a coach, you prepare for so many things, so finally we have a guy that can wreck it for us. He does a heck of a job and he follows his blocks,” he said.

Ffriend piled up 119 yards on offense, rushing eight times for 72 yards and catching two balls for 47 yards. He scored twice, on a 48-yard run and an 18-yard reception. Ryan Coke rushed 17 times for 89 yards and a touchdown for Middlesex.

MIDDLESEX (5-3) 7-13-8-0-28

SPOTSWOOD (6-2) 14-17-0-14-45

M – Coke 3 run (Semon kick)

S – Keenan 25 run (Szatkowski kick)

S – Hayford 1 run (Szatkowski kick)

M – Ffriend 48 run (Semon kick)

S – Hart 70 pass from O’Connor (Szatkowski kick)

S – Szatkowski 23 field goal

M – Cresitello 19 run (kick failed)

S – Hart 80 kickoff return (Szatkowski kick)

M – Ffriend 18 pass from Cresitello (Ffriend run)

S – Hart 33 pass from O’Connor (Szatkowski kick)

S – Hayford 1 run (Szatkowski kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – M: Cresitello 3-9-60-1; S: O’Connor 7-11-218-1.

Rushing – M: Coke 17-89, Ffriend 8-72, Cresitello 8-40, Esposito 2-6, Kressbach 1-2; S: Hayford 24-110, O’Connor 4-80, Keenan 7-55.

Receiving – M: Ffriend 2-47, Esposito 1-13; S: Hart 3-149, Keenan 3-61, Schneider 1-8.

Lauderdale powers Colonia over New Brunswick

COLONIA – On a night where the New Brunswick High School football team could have clinched the outright Greater Middlesex Conference White Division title, Colonia’s Bashir Lauderdale simply wouldn’t allow it.

The senior tailback punished the Zebras defense on his way to 226 yards on 32 carries, scoring three touchdowns and leading Colonia to a 45-27 victory Friday evening at Memorial Field.

Lauderdale scored twice in the second half as he was handed the ball 25 times, helping the Patriots kept their own division hopes alive with their third straight victory. If Colonia defeats South Plainfield next Friday, the Patriots will defend their White Division crown from a season ago.

“I have to give the praise to my linemen, they pulled it out for us and kept me going like always,” Lauderdale said. “We just couldn’t let them win and we have to be back-to-back division champs.”

Lauderdale scored on a 5-yard run to push Colonia’s lead to 33-14 with 5:32 left in the third quarter, seemingly putting the contest out of reach. But on the ensuing kickoff, New Brunswick’s dynamic star Maurice Ffrench returned it 70 yards for a score, giving the Zebras another hope at 33-21.

But Colonia (6-2) rode Lauderdale from there, as 14 of his carries came in the fourth quarter, including a 13-yard touchdown romp that was the final scoring play of the night.

He and quarterback Chase Barneys, who rushed 20 times for 156 yards and two first-half touchdowns, were essentially the entire Colonia offense in the second half.

“That’s the idea in every game. They were giving us some things in the middle of the field and Chase does a great job of reading the option and Bashir did a great job when he got it, getting positive yards and keeping the chains moving,” Colonia head coach Tom Roarty said.

Chase Barneys didn’t have to use his arm too often on Friday night, instead relying on his legs to move the chains, but he did throw a touchdown pass to Solomon Manning late in the third quarter. He was just 2-5 passing for 39 yards and that score. Chase’s brother Bryce ran 29 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter.

But the star of the night was Lauderdale, who admitted to being a bit tired after the game, but knew that he was not going to let New Brunswick (7-1) celebrate on his home field.

“They couldn’t stop our running game so we just kept running it down their throats in the second half,” Lauderdale said. “Next week we just have to play hard and keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll win that division again.”

Ffrench was contained all night by Colonia’s defense, as he totaled zero net yards in the first half on seven rushes, and although he ran back the kickoff for a touchdown, Roarty was happy with holding Ffrench down on Friday.

“Every time we identified where he was on the field and he’s the real deal. He can take it and go at any time,” Roarty said. “Davila is a tough runner too, we were lucky to keep them under wraps tonight.”

Samad Davila carried the load for New Brunswick, rushing 19 times for 125 yards and a pair of scores. Ffrench finished with 23 rushing yards on nine attempts and did not catch a pass.

NEW BRUNSWICK (7-1) 7-7-7-6-27

COLONIA (6-2) 12-14-13-6-45

SCORING SUMMARY

C – Lauderdale 13 run (kick blocked)

NB – Davila 5 run (Garcia kick)

C – C. Barneys 4 run (pass fails)

C – B. Barneys 29 run (Ribiero kick)

C – C. Barneys 4 run (Ribiero kick)

NB – Revan 8 pass from Jeffery (Garcia kick)

C – Lauderdale 5 run (Ribiero kick)

NB – Ffrench 70 kick return (Garcia kick)

C – Manning 9 pass from C. Barneys (run fails)

NB – Davila 11 run (run fails)

C – Lauderdale 13 run (kick blocked)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – NB: Jeffery 1-5-8; C: C. Barneys 2-5-39.

Rushing – NB: Davila 19-125, Ffrench 9-22, Jeffery 5-6; C: Lauderdale 32-226, C. Barneys 20-156, B. Barneys 1-29, Piro 2-11, Benedicks 2-5.

Receiving – NB: Revan 1-8; C: Benedicks 1-30, Manning 1-9.

Campbell, South Brunswick roll to victory

EDISON — Phil Campbell rushed for 105 yards and scored three first-half touchdowns as the South Brunswick High School football team rolled past Edison 43-14 on Friday night for its sixth straight victory.

With the win, the Vikings (6-1) did their part to set up a winner-take-all showdown with Piscataway next Friday for the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division title. The two teams will play in Monmouth Junction, with South Brunswick having won three of the last five head-to-head matchups, including the last two by a combined score of 56-21.

“We know last year’s game was low-scoring and it’s a dogfight with (Piscataway) and I think these guys know that and we’ll get to work tomorrow and it’s always going to be a battle,” South Brunswick head coach Joe Goerge said. “It’s going for the division, so we have some extra to go for.”

Mohamed Jabbie got the Vikings off to a fast start, returning the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown and the visitors were off and running from there, scoring the game’s first 28 points in the first 10 minutes of the opening stanza.

“It’s always a challenge to stay focused on this game and not look ahead, but we started well with the opening kickoff and that helps,” Goerge said. “We scored on defense too and obviously offense, and these guys have been able to stay focused on what’s at hand.”

Campbell scored twice in the first quarter, from nine and then 30 yards, as South Brunswick built a 20-0 advantage. Two plays after Campbell’s second touchdown, Wendell Allen picked off Edison quarterback Haaziq Daniels and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown, putting the Vikings up 28-0.

On the ensuing kickoff, Elijah Davila gave Edison a boost, returning the boot 85 yards for a score, eluding South Brunswick defenders up the far sideline to put the Eagles on the board.

But South Brunswick quickly answered, as quarterback Josh Liao hit Jaier Garrett for a 46-yard, catch-and-run touchdown six plays later and the Vikings capped the scoring in the opening 24 minutes with Campbell’s third score of the half, rushing in from four yards out to cap an 11-play, 66-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off of the game clock.

The Vikings did not score in the second half, with reserves taking some snaps and the game clock running until Edison’s James Stewart rushed 82 yards for a touchdown with 7:05 left. But Goerge was happy with how his squad remained focused and took care of business before the big showdown next week.

“We didn’t let any of that thinking get in our heads and we have some really good seniors that help with that. It’s a senior-laden team and their leadership is great,” he said.

Since Sayreville scored the game’s first touchdown against South Brunswick on Oct. 2, the Vikings have responded by outscoring the Bombers, East Brunswick, Monroe and Edison 158-27.

Stewart finished with 133 yards on 13 carries for Edison (2-4), including his long touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Eagles couldn’t get Daniels going, as he finished 3-9 for 36 yards and was intercepted once.

SOUTH BRUNSWICK (6-1) 28-15-0-0-43

EDISON (2-4) 7-0-0-7-14

SCORING SUMMARY

SB – Jabbie 80 kickoff return (kick failed)

SB – Campbell 9 run (pass failed)

SB – Campbell 30 run (Liao pass to Shorter)

SB – Allen 46 interception return (Campbell run)

E – Davila 85 kickoff return (Kurtyan kick)

SB – Garrett 46 pass from Liao (Campbell run)

SB – Campbell 4 run (Fethe kick)

E – Stewart 82 run (Kurtyan kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – SB: Liao 3-5-63; E: Daniels 3-9-36-1.

Rushing – SB: Campbell 13-105, Allen 6-73, Olivacce 1-23, Cerminaro 3-14, Lawson 6-11, Weiss 2-8, Quinones 2-8, Garrett 1-4, Labos 1-1, Donaldson 1-1, Jabbie 1-0, Liao 1-minus 3; E: Stewart 13-133, Daniels 3-10, Davila 1-7, Kurtyan 1-minus 1.

Receiving – SB: Garrett 1-46, Allen 1-13, Shorter 1-4; E: Davila 2-21, Turner 1-15.

Hayford’s 4 TDs leads Spotswood

SOUTH RIVER — Joe Hayford ran for 180 yards on 34 carries, leading the Spotswood High School football team to a 44-7 victory over South River on Saturday afternoon at Denny Stadium.

Hayford scored four touchdowns, two in each half and punished the South River defense with his between-the-tackles running. When asked after the game about his physical state, Hayford said he was a little spent from such a heavy workload.

“I’m very tired, but I wanted to keep running and working hard today,” Hayford said. “We just remembered what we did in practice. I haven’t had a game like this before and I’m pretty proud of my game today, but I want to thank my blockers for opening up holes all afternoon.”

Spotswood (4-2) led just 16-0 at the half, thanks to two touchdowns from Hayford, from 22 and 14 yards out, and a safety, but opened it up in the second half, scoring 21 straight points to open the half and effectively put the game away.

“We kept it simple and finally did some things right that we haven’t done all year,” Spotswood head coach Andy Cammarano said. “We communicated and played consistent. South River came out ready to play and it was a close game early, so we just tried to run the ball and play solid defense and we did.”

The Spotswood defense technically pitched a shutout, as the South River (0-6) touchdown came on an 86-yard kickoff return by Khaliyl Everett following Hayford’s fourth score of the contest.

Cammarano praised quarterback Shawn O’Connor for being the “complimentary guy for the whole offense.”

“We want to come out and run the ball, but we have to be able to throw the ball to do that,” Cammarano said. “Early in the season, we got swamped by people that were packing it in on us, so we took advantage and Shawn has gotten better every week and we kept it simple with the throwing here today. He executed for sure.”

O’Connor finished 7-11 for 90 yards, finding Andy Madsen and Derek Schneider three times each. Madsen caught a 33-yard touchdown pass from Marlon Hart on a trick-play late in the fourth quarter and Hart also returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown to cap the scoring.

South River’s dual-threat quarterback Mario Nigro was running for his life all afternoon, as evidenced by his struggles to find lanes to run through. He finished with 25 yards on 17 carries and went 5-10 passing for 62 yards. He and the Rams’ offense were held in check by the Spotswood defense, which came up with just one turnover, but it was a big one, as Ryan Frost recovered a Nigro fumble and Hayford would pound it into the end zone two plays later to open the scoring for Spotswood.

SPOTSWOOD (4-2) 7-9-14-14-44

SOUTH RIVER (0-6) 0-0-0-7-7

SCORING SUMMARY

S – Hayford 22 run (Szatkowski kick)

S – Nigro tackled in end zone

S – Hayford 14 run (Szatkowski kick)

S – Hayford 1 run (Szatkowski kick)

S – Madsen 33 pass from Hart (Szatakowski kick)

S – Hayford 3 run (Szatkowski kick)

SR – Everett 86 kickoff return (Kowalski kick)

S – Hart 70 punt return (Szatkowski kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – S: O’Connor 7-11-90, Hart 1-1-33; SR: Nigro 5-10-62.

Rushing – S: Hayford 34-180, Hart 2-8, Bacchetti 1-6, O’Connor 1-4, Baureko 2-4; SR: Nigro 17-25, Everett 6-7, Stewart 1-3, Desantis 2-1, Hart 1-0, Drum 1-minus 1.

Receiving – S: Madsen 4-62, Schneider 3-46, Hart 1-15; SR: Desantis 2-39, Everett 2-22, Hart 1-1.

Sitkowski, Imbimbo combine to lead Old Bridge

SAYREVILLE Artur Sitkowski hit Anthony Imbimbo with the game-winning, 40-yard touchdown pass with 3:19 remaining and the Old Bridge High School football team forced a fumble three plays later to clinch a 28-21 victory over Sayreville on Friday night.

Sitkowski threw for 179 yards and three touchdowns, two coming in the fourth quarter, to lead Old Bridge (4-2) to a win when it looked like it might have been slipping away.

The Knights held a 7-0 halftime lead, thanks to a 25-yard touchdown pass from Sitkowski to a wide-open Jake Kodros with 3:35 left in the second quarter. But after intermission, Sayreville came back with an upper-cut to the Knights’ jugular, scoring twice in the third quarter and once on the first play of the fourth quarter to build a 21-7 lead.

Sitkowski led the Knights back, getting his team in position to cut into the lead immediately after Michael Bertrand scooped up a fumble by Jake Esposito and ran 28 yards for a touchdown, putting Sayreville ahead by two scores on the first play of the final stanza.

Seven plays after the fumble, Nick Sodano plunged in from two yards out and Jon Sammarco’s extra point split the uprights to make it 21-14 Bombers with 9:09 left.

The Old Bridge defense allowed one first down before forcing Sayreville to punt and the Knights got the ball back with 7:18 left and all the momentum. Just three plays and a minute and a half later, Sitkowski hit Esposito for a 49-yard catch-and-run down the far sideline to put Old Bridge in position to tie the game. But Sammarco’s extra point sailed wide left and the Knights trailed 21-20.

After a three-and-out by the Sayreville (3-3) offense, Old Bridge got the ball back and let Sitkowski get it done with his arm again, as he hit Imbimbo for nine and then the final 40 yards to put the Knights in front. Sitkowski’s two-point pass to Esposito put Old Bridge up 28-21 and 57 seconds later, Martin Akerele recovered a fumble along the Sayreville sideline to clinch the victory.

“We just needed one defensive stop. They got it in good field position and started to move, but we made a big play over there,” Old Bridge head coach Anthony Lanzafama said. “We jumped on it and were able to milk the clock.”

Sitkowski threw 14 times in the second half and finished 12-21 and no turnovers, but Lanzafama said that it wasn’t the strategy to air it out in the second half.

“It was exactly the opposite of what we said at the half,” he said. “We were up 7-0 at the half and we wanted to get the running game going, because we only ran 16 plays in the first half. So we had to turn to the air and we had some guys make some plays.”

Esposito had four grabs for 109 yards and Imbimbo finished with four catches for 70 yards for Old Bridge.

“Coach did a great job calling the plays in the second half and our offensive line played absolutely outstanding,” Sitkowski said. “Our receivers made plays when they had to and it was an all around great effort. We just never gave up.”

Sayreville quarterback Jayson Demild finished with 205 yards passing and 52 yards rushing on nine attempts, including a pair of one-yard touchdown runs in the third quarter as he single-handedly tried to will the Bombers to a victory. Demild found Andrew Willie for a game-high eight catches for 72 yards in the losing effort.

Old Bridge has now taken the last two meeting between the two squads, dating back to the 2013 season opener. The Knights edged Sayreville 35-19 two years ago after having lost the previous seven matchups by an average deficit of nearly 26 points.

OLD BRIDGE (4-2) 0-7-0-21-28

SAYREVILLE (3-3) 0-0-14-7-21

SCORING SUMMARY

OB – Kodros 24 pass from Sitkowski (Sammarco kick)

S – Demild 1 run (Pinho kick)

S – Demild 1 run (Pinho kick)

S – Bertrand 28 fumble recovery (Pinho kick)

OB – Sodano 2 run (Sammarco kick)

OB – Esposito 49 pass from Sitkowski (kick failed)

OB – Imbimbo 40 pass from Sitkowski (Sitkowski pass)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Passing – OB: Sitkowski 12-21-179; S: Demild 14-25-205-1.

Rushing – OB: Sodano 12-32, Esposito 9-25, Sitkowski 3-7; S: Demild 9-52, Liberti 16-51, Williams 2-1, Roberts 1-1.

Receiving – OB: Esposito 4-109, Imbimbo 4-70, Kodros 3-48, Angstadt 1-1; S: Williams 3-96, Willie 8-72, Clark 1-21, Behr 1-5, Williams 1-1.

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