Piscataway flexes its muscles against J.P. Stevens

PISCATAWAY — J.P. Stevens got off to a fast start Friday night in Piscataway, scoring just three plays into the game when Chiebuka Chukwuneke scampered 55 yards for his fifth rushing touchdown of the season.

But the lead didn’t last long, as 23 seconds later Cameron Nash rushed 81 yards down the middle of the field for a touchdown of his own, tying the score at 7-7. Eight minutes later, Piscataway had built a 28-7 lead, thanks in large part to Nash’s legs, which ran for 157 yards on just five carries in the opening quarter, and at the end of the night, the Chiefs ran away for a 62-19 victory on Senior Night.

“I’m really pleased with the way that our guys responded after that first touchdown and I think we took a lot of steps in the right direction, so overall, I was pleased with the effort tonight,” Piscataway Head Coach Dan Higgins said.

For the game, Nash finished with 223 yards on just 6 touches, including a 66-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter. The senior tailback finished with four total touchdowns on the night. Tyrell Judson and Kevin Butler also scored rushing touchdowns for Piscataway.

The Piscataway offense racked up 274 yards on the ground, out-gaining J.P. Stevens by 122 yards on running plays. Piscataway scored touchdowns on all six of their possessions in the first half.

The return of star quarterback Nadir Barnwell gave the Piscataway offense a boost, as the left-hander tossed a 48-yard touchdown to Kyle La’ Porte just before the half, pushing the score to 50-7. Barnwell finished 2-5 for 61 yards and added 38 yards rushing in his first game this season. The Rutgers-bound star missed the Chiefs’ first two games after separating his shoulder in a preseason scrimmage.

“When he’s in the game, there’s a different presence,” Higgins said. “There’s a confidence in our team. Beyond his playmaking ability, he’s been the leader of our team for the last three years so, we missed him on both sides of the ball, but his poise and leadership were great to have back. He had an impact on the whole team.”

J.P. Stevens came into the game riding a wave of momentum, after their Week 1 win in Marlboro. A big reason for the 34-26 victory two weeks ago was Chukwuneke, who rushed for 194 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries, but aside from his opening-drive score, the Piscataway defense locked down on him, limiting the junior tailback to just 63 yards the rest of the way.

Piscataway is off next week before entertaining unbeaten South Brunswick in two weeks.

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