MONMOUTH JUNCTION — For the South Brunswick High School football team, its senior class did something no other class in history has done: defeat rival North Brunswick in four straight Thanksgiving Day matchups.
Behind the running of Dontae Strickland and a stellar performance from its defense, South Brunswick prevailed 34-13 Thursday morning to retain the Mike Elko Trophy. Strickland, a junior, rushed 12 times for 179 yards and a pair of first-quarter touchdowns, to lead an onslaught of 401 rushing yards and 427 total yards. Quarterback Amir Johnson, another talented junior, carried 12 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns, as South Brunswick (7-4) built a 27-0 first-half lead.
But for the senior class, led by bruising fullback Dahrae Ford, who was unable to play Thursday due to an ankle injury, became the first class to go 4-0 against North Brunswick (1-9).
“It’s great, it’s a big thing for us and especially after last week. To be able to have this game, you can cherish this. A rivalry-type game, I know I’m not crazy about a Thanksgiving game against just anyone, but when you go back and you have tradition for nearly 40 years, you see a lot of alums come back and this is big,” South Brunswick head coach Joe Goerge said. “Our seniors have had a hell of a run, even in the two years that they were with me. It’s been a great four-year run and this makes the turkey taste better.”
North Brunswick still leads the all-time series 23-15-1, but South Brunswick has has the edge over the last decade, winning six out of 10. Since a tie in 1993, the Vikings have won 13 of 20 over North Brunswick, who made the 10-mile trip down Route 130 for the 39th time.
Raiders quarterback Rafleu Alharazim led two impressive touchdown drives sandwiched around halftime, rushing for a 6-yard score at the end of the second quarter and tossing a 21-yard touchdown to Joseph Manley early in the third stanza. Alharazim totaled 103 yards through the air and on the ground, but did throw two costly interceptions to halt North Brunswick drives.
Once South Brunswick built its 27-0 lead, Johnson and Strickland helped bury the Raiders with inside runs out of the triple-option offense that Goerge brought with him before last season.
“I can’t emphasize enough how much Amir has grown this season,” Goerge said. “When he took over in the first game when Dylan (Olsson) got hurt, he became the leader. He checks and knows the offense; he’s methodical and a mechanic of our offense. His practice has paid off this season.”
Matt Golden, filling in for Ford at fullback, rushed 10 times for 59 yards, getting accustomed to a role he’ll presumably fill for the Vikings next season when they play their first game on turf. Goerge said the school plans on installing field turf at Viking Stadium before the 2014 season, which will only help speedsters like Strickland and Johnson.
“We’re excited to have Dontae back next year and we played 15 juniors and sophomores, so it’s exciting for us. We’re getting a new turf field here before next season, so it’s nice to get a win on the last game played here.”
|North Brunswick (1-9)||0||6||7||0||—||13|
|South Brunswick (7-4)||13||14||7||0||—||34|
SB – Strickland 44 run (kick failed)
SB – Strickland 38 run (Fehte kick)
SB – Johnson 2 run (Fehte kick)
SB – Johnson 42 run (Fehte kick)
NB – Alharazim 6 run (pass failed)
SB – Golden 5 run (Fehte kick)
NB – Manley 21 pass from Alharazim (Pereyra kick)
RUSHING: NB – Alharazim 10-22, Bryant 4-14, Nance 7-4; SB – Strickland 12-179, Johnson 12-119, Golden 10-59, Botett 6-20, Fehte 1-11, Lee 1-5, Allen 2-4, Morse 1-4.
PASSING: NB – Alharazim 8-13-2-81; SB – Johnson 3-4-26.
RECEIVING: NB – Manley 3-36, May 2-24, Castellanos 1-15, Bryant 1-6, ; SB – Golden 2-25, Cerminaro 1-1.