Manalapan rolls behind Sieczkowski’s 331 yards

The first time the Manalapan High School football team played Brick Memorial High School during the 2011 season, the Mustangs’ defense “held” the Braves’ John Sieczkowski to 114 rushing yards and chants of “overrated” were heard being yelled by the Brick Memorial fans toward Sieczkowski.

There were no Brick Memorial fans yelling “overrated” at Sieczkowski on Nov. 11 as the Braves’ running back tore though the Mustangs’ defense for 331 yards and three touchdowns as Manalapan beat the Mustangs, 28-21, in the first round of the Central Jersey Group II state playoffs.

The game was played in Manalapan.

In the previous game between the teams this season, also played in Manalapan, Mike Caggiano kicked a 37-yard field goal in the waning seconds to win it for the Braves, 23- 21.

On Nov. 11, after falling behind 14-7 in the second quarter, the Braves reeled off 21 straight points to take a 28-14 lead in the fourth quarter.

The Mustangs closed the gap to 28-21, but no late-game heroics were required by the Braves to earn the playoff win.

Sieczkowski scored on runs of 2, 52 and 10 yards. Quarterback Mike Isabella’s seven-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Firkser tied the game at 14-14.

Isabella was an efficient 8-11 for 101 yards passing and Firkser was on the receiving end of all eight of Isabella’s completions.

Brick Memorial fell to 4-6, while Manalapan improved to 8-1.

The Braves, the No. 2 seed in Central Jersey Group IV, will host West Windsor- Plainsboro South High School on Nov. 18 in the sectional semifinals. Kickoff is 7 p.m. at Manalapan.

West Windsor-Plainsboro South, the No. 3 seed, beat No. 6 seed North Brunswick, 30-7, on Nov. 12.

In the other Central Jersey Group IV semifinal, No. 1 seed South Brunswick (9- 0) will host No. 5 seed Sayreville War Memorial (7-2), the defending Central Jersey Group IV champion, on Nov. 18.

South Brunswick beat Hillsborough, 62- 14, and Sayreville topped Jackson Memorial, 21-13, in the opening round of the playoffs.

The Central Jersey Group IV state sectional championship game will be played on a date between Dec. 2 and Dec. 4 with the date, time and location to be announced.