Sports

Piscataway Chiefs to take on Old Rivals This Fall after NJSIAA Playoff Reclassification

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Piscataway Chiefs after winning the 2016 Central Jersey, Group 5 sectional title (File Photo) Credits: Chris Nalwasky
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PISCATAWAY, NJ -- Just like current Minnesota Timberwolves and former Kentucky Wildcat center Karl Towns, the Piscataway High School football team is one-and-done.

One-and-done is a college basketball term for student-athletes who play one season at a university before putting their name in the following year’s NBA Draft. Towns, a Piscataway native, was taken No. 1 overall in the 2015 draft by the Timberwolves.

After spending one year in Central Jersey, Group 5 and winning the sectional title with a 34-13 stomping over Manalapan at High Point Solutions Stadium, the Chiefs are moving back to North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 according to the newly released playoff classifications by the NJSIAA. Piscataway was a member of Central Jersey, Group 4 from 1974-2002, and then part of North 2, Group 4 from 2003-2011. The NJSIAA expanded to five groups per section in 2012, and Piscataway was placed in North 2, Group 5 from 2012-2015 before the single season jump back to Central Jersey in 2016.

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“Our mindset is anytime, anyplace, anywhere,” Piscataway head coach Dan Higgins told TAPinto Piscataway on the move back into North Jersey. “We can’t control that part of it but I am extremely excited to compete again in North 2, Group 5 because we have established some healthy rivalries with several teams like Elizabeth and Union and now would love to compete against Bridgewater-Raritan and Westfield who have been the top two teams the last few years.”

Should the Chiefs make the postseason in 2017, they will rekindle rivalries teams from Union County including Westfield, Elizabeth, and Union, who Piscataway has faced in the playoffs over the years.

They are however leaving the familiarity of possibly seeing both Greater Middlesex Conference and out-of-conference teams in the playoffs that are on their regular season schedule, which does not change even with the new section for the state tournament.

Is the move bittersweet?

“I guess you could say it’s bittersweet, but we had a healthy competition established with Manalapan and was looking forward to it again as well as with Hunterdon Central and of course our GMC rivals,” Higgins said.

In North 2, Group 5, Piscataway is paired with Bayonne, Bridgewater, Columbia, Dickinson, East Orange, East Side, Elizabeth, JP Stevens, Kearny, Plainfield, Ridge, Union, Watchung Hills, and Westfield.

From 2012-15, Union and Elizabeth beat Piscataway twice apiece in the playoffs. Piscataway did however top Elizabeth in the title game in both 2010 and 2011 before the Minutemen got revenge in to win the 2012 championship by going 98 yards in three plays to stun everyone at Kean University. Piscataway topped Union during the postseason in 2008, 2004, and 2003, which was the final.

Westfield has gone 12-0 and won back-to-back North 2, Group 5 crowns over Bridgewater in 2015/2016. The Panthers finished 11-1 both seasons.

Piscataway last played and beat Westfield in 2007, and Bridgewater in 2012.

In addition to football, the NJSIAA announced playoff classifications for all the other fall sports for 2017. The Chiefs’ boys and girls soccer, field hockey, and girls tennis are all in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4. The girls volleyball team is in Group 4.

Stay tuned to TAPinto Piscataway as we will bring you coverage from training camp for the football team which kicks off Aug. 9 as well as throughout the entire 2017 season.

Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisWasky

Piscataway HS varsity football 2017 schedule:

Sept. 8 vs. New Brunswick

Sept. 15 @ East Brunswick

Sept. 22 vs. South Brunswick

Oct. 6 @ Sayreville

Oct. 13 vs. Old Bridge

Oct. 20 vs. Monroe

Oct. 27 @ Manalapan

Nov. 3 @ Edison

Nov. 23 vs. Franklin

First Round of Playoffs: Nov. 10-11

Second Round of Playoffs: Nov 17-18

Championship Round of Playoffs: Dec. 2-3-4

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