WOODBRIDGE, NJ -- Jevon Buckmire Davis and Nahjir Woods, two recent Class of 2018 Piscataway High School graduates, played for Middlesex County in the 2018 Snapple Bowl Thursday night at Nicholas A. Priscoe Stadium at Woodbridge High School.
Davis and Woods helped Middlesex defeat Union County, 22-6, to snap a two-game losing streak. Middlesex now leads the all-time series 15-10.
“Man, it felt great. It felt a little weird in the beginning not playing with my real teammates, but at the end of the day, we’re all brothers. It was really fun,” Davis said.
In the contest, the 5-foot-9, 210-pounder played lights out at linebacker while the 5-foot-11, 175-pound Woods shut receivers down at cornerback. Both played on special teams as well.
Davis and Woods were both in on a number of tackles and were seemingly always around the ball on defense. They also created takeaways and made big plays. Davis corralled a loose ball for a fumble recovery in the first quarter near the sideline. He also added a sack late in the game. Woods intercepted a pass and brought it back for a nice return.
“We had to do it for our city and put Piscataway back on the map,” Davis said. “That’s what we did. I love playing football. I’m thankful to have played in this game. It felt good (to recover the fumble). It was the first turnover of the game. I set the tone.”
Defenses usually tend to do better in all-star games than offenses, and that was evident -- but only from the Middlesex side. Middlesex forced three turnovers and recorded a safety in the first half. Middlesex also allowed just the six points with a touchdown in the third quarter on a quick slant route. But, the two-point conversion was no good as the ball carrier was stuffed short of the goal line.
As an entire defense, Middlesex flew all over the field and dished out hard hit after hard hit. It was chippy at times and the game was called with 1:25 left on the clock thanks to a scrum.
South Plainfield safety Charles Lovett grabbed the other interception for Middlesex on a deep ball and Bishop Ahr linebacker/safety Luke Vizzoni was named the game’s MVP, which again was a nod to how well the team dressed in orange and blue played on defense.
“We did what we were comfortable with,” Davis said. “We played as a team. There’s no ‘I’ in team.”
But as good as the defense was for Middlesex, the offense might have been even better. After a slow start, Edison fullback Donavan Benoit broke a scoreless tie with 9:05 left in the second quarter on a 1-yard run. On Union’s next drive, Woods picked off a pass and Middlesex drove toward the endzone but turned the ball over on downs inside the 5-yard line. But on the next play of the ensuing possession for Union, a fumble occured in the endzone and Vizzoni tackled Taj Irby of Hillside, who jumped on the ball, for a safety to put Middlesex ahead 9-0.
Colonia running back Luke Pero extended Middlesex’s lead to 16-0 with a 12-yard halfback option pass touchdown which fell into the arms of Edison’s Ahmed Aly. Pero extended the drive with 19-yard run on fourth-down a few plays earlier.
After Chuck Ifewekwune caught a little 3-yard touchdown from Antonio Salcfas for Union, Middlesex iced the game and provided the dagger with an explosive 64-yard pitched a catch between quarterback Paul Cocozziello of St. Joseph’s of Metuchen and receiver Tyler Jack of Perth Amboy with 11:10 to go. The extra point was no good, but Middlesex went up 22-6 and that was all she wrote.
All proceeds from the game benefitted the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside and the Lakeview School in Edison, which is a program of the New Jersey Institute of Disabilities. In the first 24 yards, over $642,000 was raised.
Davis, Woods, and the rest of the Middlesex football team and cheerleaders visited the Lakeview School earlier in the week. They all got to interact and spend time with the special needs kids, who have various medical conditions.
“It touched my heart. I got to help them out. I actually enjoyed it,” Davis said. “I learned to love people for who they are.”
In 2017 for the Chiefs, Davis tallied 64 tackles with 11 of them coming from behind the scrimmage. He also added six rushes for 17 yards and a touchdown and caught a pass for a score as well. He was named to the Greater Middlesex Conference All-Red Division team by the coaches in December as well as the First-Team Defense by Mycentraljersey.com and was selected as an All-New Jersey Honorable Mention by NEWS 12 Varsity.
Woods had 20 receptions for 326 yards and four touchdowns at wide receiver and had 48 tackles (11 TFL), three interceptions (one was brought back for a touchdown), and two pass deflections. Woods was named to the GMC All-Conference and All-Red Division teams. He was also a First-Team Defense pick by the Home News and All-New Jersey Honorable Mention by NEWS 12 Varsity.
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