PISCATAWAY — Elijah Barnwell rushed for 202 yards and a touchdown and Zaire Ashley punished Edison’s interior defense with 77 yards and two scores as the Piscataway High School football team ran away with a 37-6 decision on Friday night.
Barnwell rushed for 145 yards and a 67-yard touchdown jaunt in the opening half and had a pair of scores called back due to holding penalties in the third quarter to lead the Chiefs to their third straight win to open the season.
“It frustrates me for a little bit, but I just reload,” Barnwell said of the touchdowns taken off the board due to penalties. “But I’m just happy that we were winning and we came back the next plays and got it done tonight.”
Barnwell and Ashley combined for a powerful one-two punch, with Ashley doing most of his work between the tackles and Barnwell gashing the Eagles defense outside the numbers. The junior tailback said he tells Ashley during the game that he’s simply too much to deal with at times.
“I motivate him every time he’s about to get the ball; I’ll tell him that the defense can’t stop him and he does the same to me,” Barnwell said.
The Chiefs jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, thanks to a 10-yard score from Ashley and the first of three field goals from Mike Stalenyj. After Haaziq Daniels found pay dirt from two yards out for an Edison touchdown, Barnwell’s 67-yard touchdown sandwiched between two more Stalenyj field goals put the hosts up 23-6 at the half.
“I was really excited that Mike did a good job with the kicking tonight,” Piscataway head coach Dan Higgins said. “Those are really important, down the road those are three points that could decide a game. So we were working on the kicking game this week and I’m glad that we were able to do well in all three phases tonight.”
Edison (1-2) stopped Piscataway on downs on the Chiefs’ first possession of the second half, but James Stewart fumbled at the Eagles’ 35-yard line to kill the drive. Edison fumbled three times and Daniels threw a first-quarter interception to thwart four potential scoring drives.
A one-yard plunge by Ashley made the score 30-6 with 3:35 left in the third quarter and quarterback Dan Haus hit Aidan Rosa for a 21-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
Piscataway out-gained Edison 345-34 on the ground.
Daniels went 9-20 for 160 yards through the air for Edison, hitting four different receivers.
“Edison is a very, very explosive offensive team and you can see that they’re one missed tackle away from big plays and scores, so when we were able to get some turnovers, that really turned the complexity of the game around for us,” Higgins said. “We wanted to run the ball and possess it and keep their offense on the sideline, so every time we got an extra chance at a touch, it was to our advantage.”
EDISON (1-2) 0-6-0-0-6
PISCATAWAY (3-0) 10-13-7-7-37
P – Ashley 10 run (Stalenyj kick)
P – Stalenyj 40 field goal
E – Daniels 2 run (kick failed)
P – Stalenyj 35 field goal
P – Barnwell 67 run (Stalenyj kick)
P – Stalenyj 23 field goal
P – Ashley 1 run (Stalenyj kick)
P – Rosa 21 pass from Haus (Stalenyj kick)
Passing – E: Daniels 9-20-160-1; P: Haus 8-12-98.
Rushing – E: Davila 3-19, Turner 2-8, Daniels 3-5, Stewart 11-4, Strickland 1-minus 2; P: Barnwell 17-202, Ashley 12-77, Williams 4-34, Haus 3-13, Hernandez 2-9, C. James 1-7, Fash 1-3.
Receiving – E: Yanik 3-76, Davila 4-49, Stewart 1-18, Baez 1-17; P: N. James 2-44, Rosa 1-21, Ashley 2-20, Barnwell 2-12, Boyd 1