NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a cold and damp night, The Tigers of South Plainfield were able to take advantage of turnovers and cruise past North Brunswick 26-13.
The Tigers move to 4-0 for only the third time since 1966.
The Raiders (0-4), who were often starting drives deep in their own territory, failed to ever get anything going against the Tigers stout defense.
An interception by Ryan Stankan early in the second quarter changed the momentum of the game for the Tigers. Prior to the interception the two teams were failing to get anything going on offense. After the interception South Plainfield was able to cap the drive off with a two yard run by Zach Delvecchio to put the Tigers up 7-0.
“I just heard coach Dickerson in the back of my mind saying ‘get back in your pass drop and hit the curl,’” Stankan said about his interception. “I saw him roll out to the right and I just wanted to field my position. I saw the ball coming and I did not want to go down. I wanted to help the team as best I could.”
A blocked punt in the second quarter by Dillon Harris that was recovered by Deshai Smith set the Tigers up for their second touchdown of the game with a six yard run from Delvecchio.
With two minutes left in the half, the Tigers forced and recovered a fumble to give themselves the ball at the 24 yard line. A minute later the Tigers were celebrating their third touchdown of the night after Jean Sapini fumbled and recovered his own fumble in the endzone.
The Tigers took a 19-0 lead into the half.
It did not take long for the Tigers to put the Raiders away in the second half as Smith ran back a 55 yard punt for a touchdown. The Raiders, despite scoring twice before the game finished, just could not get anything going.
“I promised my team today I was going to do something good for them,” Smith said. “I had to live up to that and I think I did it today. I am proud of my boys and I think everyone did well. We still have areas we need to get better on. So we have got to work on those things to get ready for Saint Joes on Friday.”
Delvecchio, who was able to find the endzone twice but only gained 40 yards on the ground, was less than thrilled with his performance.
“I did not play my best,” Delvecchio said. “I definitely could have done better. I could have run the ball harder and lowered my shoulder more.”
Head Coach Gary Cassio, while excited about the win, understands that they need to play better and improve if they want to compete against tougher teams this season.
“We were able to benefit from a lot of mistakes North Brunswick made,” Cassio said. “We still have not played a complete game. I feel like I say that every week. It was a sloppy night and a sloppy game but anytime we come out with a win it’s a good night. But we have to play better. I know we are undefeated and Saint Joes is too. Next week is going to be a battle so we have to get better. We have to practice better, get in the classroom and get our stuff together and play better. We cannot take any quarters off against Saint Joes.”
That big division battle against an also undefeated Saint Joes team will take place next Friday night in South Plainfield.