SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ -- The myriad changes in the South Brunswick football program will be evident right away in 2019.
The first change will occur this Friday, when the Vikings open their season on the road against longtime rival North Brunswick. Instead of playing each other on Thanksgiving as they have for decades, the Vikings and Raiders instead will be opening the season against one another.
The first time South Brunswick lines up to take a snap, another change will be noticeable: That snap will come out of a newly installed spread formation. And that is an outgrowth of another change--one on the sidelines. New head coach John Viotto has replaced Joe Goerge at South Brunswick, and the transition to a spread offense (from the triple option Goerge ran) is one of his signature moves.
Viotto was the captain of South Brunswick's 2006 team. He graduated from the school in 2007, and now is charged with maintaining the high standards established in the program over the last decade. Despite a 5-5 season last year, South Brunswick has one of the best winning percentages in New Jersey over the last 10 years.
"Our goals are to have a winning record, win the Red Division, make the playoffs, win a playoff game and be state champions," Viotto said.
Senior quarterback Gage Katzenell-Hall will be operating behind a large and experienced line that rates as one of the Vikings' strongest assets. Seniors Danny O’Grady, Akil Murugan, Nick Jairdullo and Brian Sandoli and junior Gabriel Neals make up the offensive front for South Brunswick.
Skill players in the fledgling spread attack will include RBs Ezequiel Johnson and Mohamed Kibre and wideouts Juan Pablo Cuellar, Majid Howard-Baker, Justin Lawson and A.J. Taylor. Sophomore Jai Patel will handle both placekicking and punting responsibilities and he is a real weapon for South Brunswick's special teams.
"Our strength is our O and D lines," Viotto said. "They will both be filled with seniors and juniors who have experience in the trenches. We also have multiple track stars on the team that should give us a boost at the skill positions."
O’Grady, Neals, Nick Ng and Sandoli will start along the defensive line. Lawson, Jairdullo and P.J. Schneider will play linebacker. A speedy secondary will include Howard-Baker, Taylor, Johnson and Dylan Boateng.
SOUTH BRUNSWICK 2019 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Sept. 6 at North Brunswick, 7 p.m.
Sept. 13 at Monroe, 7 p.m.
Sept. 20 at J.P. Stevens, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 (H) East Brunswick, 7 p.m.
Oct. 4 at Old Bridge, 7 p.m.
Oct. 11 (H) Perth Amboy, 7 p.m.
Oct. 18 (H) Piscataway, 7 p.m.
Oct. 25 (H) Sayreville, 7 p.m.
Nov. 1 at Edison, 7 p.m.