ENGLISHTOWN, NJ -- The Piscataway High School varsity football has gone on a roller coaster of high and lows in the last couple weeks.
Since a big Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division home win over South Brunswick on Sept. 22, the Chiefs defeated rival Sayreville, lost another shocker late to Old Bridge, beat Monroe, and most recently, fell to Manalapan, 28-0, in a revenge game this past Friday night.
Piscataway and Manalapan met twice in 2016, with the Braves coming back from behind to top the Chiefs, 21-10, in a regular season matchup. But, Piscataway improved greatly throughout the season and dominated Manalapan when it mattered most in a 34-13 victory in the Central Jersey, Group 5 championship game.
After one year, the Chiefs moved to North Jersey, Section 2, while Manalapan remained in Central Jersey, so the two teams won’t meet again in the near future. It was also the first time Piscataway was shutout since the 2009 season, a 7-0 loss to Toms River North.
On Friday night, Manalapan running back Naim Mayfield became the school’s all-time leading rusher carrying the ball a whopping 32 times for 194 yards and two touchdowns. Mayfield scored from 5 and 9 yards out. Teammate, Symir Blacknall caught a 66-yard pass from quarterback Luke Corcione and ran for another 15-yarder. Corcione gashed the Chiefs’ secondary as well, finishing 12 of 18 for 208 yards.
The Braves got redemption.
“They have been waiting for this one a long time,” Piscataway head coach Dan Higgins said. “They’re a good team. Tonight, they executed well and we gave up some big plays and kids have a hard time bouncing back after those.”
And as good as Manalapan was on offense, its defense was just as stout. The Braves held the Chiefs to only 138 yards of offense, forcing signal caller Joe Hatcher to have a tough day as the junior completed just 3 of 11 passes for 26 yards with an interception -- to Blacknall.
Manalapan’s George Lombardi forced a fumble that was recovered by Tommy Pearce.
Talented junior Chiefs running back, Juwon Jackson, was held to 57 yards on 14 carries as well.
Even with the loss, Piscataway remains in a good spot regarding the playoffs. According to GridironNewJersey.com, the Chiefs sit in third place in N2,G5 with power points. The top eight teams in each section make the postseason.
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