Perkowski helps South Brunswick to quick start in beating Hillsborough

MONMOUTH JUNCTION — Senior T.J. Perkowski ran for a 63-yard touchdown and threw a 57-yard touchdown pass, helping the South Brunswick High School football team to a 35-21 victory over Hillsborough in the NJSIAA Central Group V quarterfinals Friday night.

“It was definitely hard coming off a three-week break, but we picked it up,” Perkowski said. “It was huge to get those touchdowns right before the half and it really helped us put them away and pick up the win.”

The Vikings put the game away in the second half, playing solid defense and locking down on John Banaciski, who was ripping them apart in the opening 24 minutes.

South Brunswick opened the half with a four-play, 57-yard drive, capped by a Darhae Ford 5-yard touchdown run. Ford rushed for 34 yards on the drive, with a 17-yarder and a 12-yarder spliced in. Ford finished the game with 152 yards on the ground and had 16 yards receiving.

The Raiders quickly got a touchdown of their own, going 10 plays and covering 68 yards. Banaciski carried the ball four times on the drive, but it was an Andrew Zitel’s 13-yard touchdown pass to Tyshon Murdock that ended the possession. That would be the final time Hillsborough found the end zone.

Dontae Strickland polished off the South Brunswick offensive output with a 10-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Strickland finished the game with 85 yards of offense.

Banaciski was a workhorse for Hillsborough, carrying the ball 27 times and adding two catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.

The Raiders got themselves on the board just 25 seconds into the game, using a big catch-and-run from Zitel to Banaciski. The junior quarterback dumped the ball off to Banaciski, who did the rest, going 73 yards down the middle of the field, putting Hillsborough up 7-0.

They held that advantage until the very end of the first quarter, when South Brunswick took over on a short field. After Zitel was intercepted by Amir Johnson at the Hillsborough 26, the Vikings needed just six plays to find the end zone. Dahrae Ford pounded the ball in from two yards out, knotting the score at 7-7.

South Brunswick is just two wins away from capturing a sectional championship, something that Perkowski said has driven the team all season long.

“We wanted to do that last year, but obviously we didn’t get there and we worked our butts off to get back to that spot,” he said.

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