Sports

New Brunswick Zebras Fall Hard to Piscataway in Football Season Opener

Piscataway Chiefs Open 2017 Season with Big Win over New Brunswick Zebras, 64-7 Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Piscataway Chiefs Open 2017 Season with Big Win over New Brunswick Zebras, 64-7 Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Piscataway Chiefs Open 2017 Season with Big Win over New Brunswick Zebras, 64-7 Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Piscataway Chiefs Open 2017 Season with Big Win over New Brunswick Zebras, 64-7 Credits: Kenneth Simmons
Piscataway Chiefs Open 2017 Season with Big Win over New Brunswick Zebras, 64-7 Credits: Kenneth Simmons

PISCATAWAY, NJ -- A few weeks ago, Piscataway High School head varsity football coach Dan Higgins said the Chiefs’ offense will be balanced.

Higgins also said in order to win football games this season, the offense, defense, and special teams have to be clicking on all cylinders.

“We pride ourselves on doing the little things right,” said Higgins, who doubles as a police officer in town. “I think all three phases have to be good.”

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In the 2017 season opener Friday night at Dominic R. Ciardi Field, the Chiefs, besides an early hiccup, were stellar in all three phases of the game, dominating their way to a 64-7 triumph over New Brunswick.

Piscataway quarterback Joseph Hatcher earned his first career start and completed 8-of-10 passes for 143 yards and tied the school record with five touchdown passes. Hatcher gives the Chiefs an aerial threat to perfectly complement their traditional running attack. Piscataway totaled a whopping 429 yards of offense, including 286 rushing to go along with Hatchers’ 143 through the air.

New Brunswick actually led 7-0 early in the first quarter to put some fans dressed in black and yellow on edge, but it was all Piscataway after that.

The Chiefs led 26-7 at the end of the first quarter as running backs Juwon Jackson and Nasir Best scored on a 47 and 1-yard rushes respectively. Hatcher recorded his first two passing scores of the night as well, connecting with receivers Nahjir Woods and Keshawn Grant for 42 and 17-yard touchdowns respectively.

Grant recovered a fumble inside New Brunswick’s 20-yard line during the opening quarter as well. Grant blocked a punt on special teams just before the end of the first period which later resulted in another Best 15-yard touchdown on the ground to push the lead to 33-7.

The play-action pass came to life in the second quarter when Hatcher found Nick Recine wide-open in the endzone for a 23-yard score. He also threw a vertical touchdown to Woods, this time a 25-yarder.

Piscataway led 45-7 at the break.

Jackson recorded his second touchdown on the ground of the night when he ran the ball for a 24-yard score on the Chiefs’ opening drive of the second half. Grant recovered another New Brunswick fumble shortly after and Hatcher threw a 5-yard strike to Kamille Pryor for his fifth score through the air.

Piscataway finished off New Brunswick in the fourth quarter when Chris Arnold was shot out of a cannon for a 54-yard touchdown run.

Hatcher is now listed atop of the Piscataway record books for the most passing touchdowns in a game with Malcolm Griggs, who accomplished the feat against Franklin on Thanksgiving Day in 2008.

For New Brunswick, running back Dylan Johnson finished with 15 carries for 136 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown and a Zebra lead which didn’t last very long.

Next week, Piscataway travels to East Brunswick, which lost its first game of the season to Sayreville, 48-21. The Chiefs topped the Bears 32-7 in 2016. Piscataway has beaten East Brunswick every year since at least 2003 (according to GridironNewJersey.com’s database which stops in 2003).

New Brunswick plays at South Brunswick in Week 2. The Chiefs welcome the Vikings on Sept. 22.

*Stats from mycentraljersey.com.

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