South Brunswick Vikings Slide By Manalapan Braves 27-21 In State Semifinal Game

Credits: Ed Birch

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – Out of timeouts, on fourth down and goal from the five-yard line and with no time left on the clock, South Brunswick quarterback Josh Liao found Mohamed Jabbie in the end zone to give the Vikings a 27-21 victory over the Manalapan Braves in Friday night’s State Championship Semifinal Game.

“I can’t even describe (the emotions), it’s unbelievable,” Liao said following the game. “It’s the best feeling and the best game I’ve ever played.”

Right from the outset, given the history of the two teams, it was going to be a dogfight.

Sign Up for E-News

The Vikings topped the Braves in 2012 to win its first state championship, only to lose the title game to those same Braves last year, handing last year’s team its only loss of the season.

Manalapan’s opening drive culminated in a score from inside the 1-yard line, taking almost eight minutes off of the clock in the first quarter.

The Vikings came back with an impressive drive of its own, with running back Phil Campbell scoring from about a yard out with just over 10 minutes left in the half to tie the score at seven.

Campbell scored yet again on a subsequent drive with around two minutes left in the half, giving South Brunswick a 14-7 advantage.

The Vikings stopped a Braves threat late in the quarter causing them to attempt a field goal that went wide.

South Brunswick’s defense continued to hold off the braves through the third quarter, and Campbell added his third rushing touchdown of the night, putting the home team up 21-7 as the fourth quarter began.

Then, things started unraveling for the Vikings.

A broken play scramble by the Braves quarterback set up a one-yard run in for a second touchdown with around 10 minutes left to go in the game.

The Braves defense stopped the Vikings and got the ball back, setting up a passing score to tie the contest at 21 with five minutes left in regulation.

Liao and the Vikings went to work, hampered by a couple of penalties, they faced a long third down and 20 play.

Liao was able to hit Wendell Allen in heavy traffic to pick up the crucial first down and keep the drive alive.

“Everything that we do on this field is part of the hard work we put in prior to the games,” Allen said after the game. “We needed a big play and the coach called my number on it. I had to come down and make a big play for my teammates.”


The Vikings then went to Jabbie in the air and Campbell on the ground to get the ball inside the 5-yard line with just seconds left on the clock.

Liao said that he planned to run the ball up the middle on the last play of the game, but the Braves penetration was too much and he opted instead to roll out of the pocket in the hope of buying more time.

Jabbie was able to break free of his defender, who thought the play was a run to the far side of the field.

Once Liao saw Jabbie, he floated the ball into the end zone for the winning score as the clock ran out, sending the Vikings back for its second consecutive state championship berth, the third in four years.

“Josh (Liao) made the best call of his life,” Jabbie said. “He saw me and I was wide open. I just knew I had to make a big play. I had to do it for my team.”

Head Coach Joe Goerge said it “was a great win” for his team and, once again, demonstrated the team’s character and unwillingness to give in under pressure.

“This team has overcome a lot of different obstacles all year,” Goerge said. “They just keep fighting.”

South Brunswick will now face Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division rival Old Bridge Knights in the State Championship Game Dec. 4.

The location of the game is scheduled to be announced Tuesday.

In the meantime, the team is getting ready for its annual Thanksgiving classic match with North Brunswick on Thursday at 10 a.m. at the high school on Ridge Road.

Did you like this story?

Give us your feedback at or

If you did like it, please share with your friends and followers on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to "Like" our Facebook Page!

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Polystyrene Pollution

July 3, 2018

Dear Editor,

Last month the article,  A Girl Scout Workshop that Builds Young Environmental Specialists reminded readers that it's important to educate people on issues in our environment. Our waterways are under threat from harmful plastic pollution. Americans throw away an estimated 70 million plastic foam cups and about one-third end up in waterways like rivers, lakes ...

East Brunswick's Ethan Reiss Saves the History of Who We Are

July 15, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - To some people, lists of names and pictures of locations just create a jumble of information and a confusing mass of facts.  To Ethan Reiss, a historian from East Brunswick who is working to keep facts alive, these bits and pieces come together to form a picture of who we are based on who we were in the past.

Reiss, the administrator of the popular "You Know ...


Hillsborough, NJ - Gina (Francoisa) Salamon, 90, died Monday, July 9, 2018 at Bridgeway Care Center ...
Read more
Piscataway – Michael John Doherty, 73, passed away Saturday June 16, 2018 in Las Vegas, ...
Read more

New Outlook Pioneers hosts 18th Music in the Park at Milt Campbell Field

July 15, 2018

Plainfield, NJ - On Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 5PM Sponsored by: The City of Plainfield (including the Cultural & Heritage and Human Relations Commissions), Mayor Adrian Mapp and the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders; along with CO-SPONSORS: New Outlook Pioneers, Mr. Plainfield (Robert Graham),TD+Partners -A Community Impact Development Firm, and Re/Max Select, Sandra L.

Cruising with Autism on the Seas

This is a event that includes the partnership and collaboration of Cruise Planners, Autism Friendly Escapes and WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do!. WallynZavy's Autistic Kids Can Do is a non-profit 5013c, organization that supports families that have autistic and special needs children through advocacy, social play dates, resources, workshops, community support, seminars and family ...

RU Ready for Rutgers Football? Tickets on Sale Next Week

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - There's a lot of promotions planned this fall as part of the Rutgers football season.

Single game tickets go on sale Thursday, July 12, with seven home games. There's matchups against Big Ten East opponents Michigan and Penn State, and a first-time cross divisional meeting with Northwestern.

If football is not your thing, there's plenty ...

Upcoming Events


Tue, July 17, 8:00 AM

Sivantos - Bloodmobile, Piscataway

Piscataway Emergency Blood Drive - Pair of ...

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Open House July 17th



Tue, July 17, 5:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Open House July 17th


Wed, July 18, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sing Four to Feature Brahms

Arts & Entertainment

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

NJ Convention and Exposition Center, Edison

82nd Annual Garden State Cat Show & Expo

Giving Back Other

Police Rescue Woman Locked in Burger King Restaurant

July 14, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Officers from the Nutley Police Department responded to a 911 call on Sunday at 5 a.m. from a woman who was locked in the Burger King restaurant off Franklin Ave.

The woman fell asleep in the ladies room sometime prior to closing and woke up only to find all of the employees gone and the doors locked. 

Nutley police responded and entered the building to allow her to leave.

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

July 15, 2018

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.