The Vikings (7-1) earned 151 power points — 20 more than second-place New Brunswick High School — to gain the top seed. Hunterdon Central (3-6) squeezed into the playoffs with a 9-8 upset win against Immaculata High School (7-2) Oct. 30.
South Brunswick coach Joe Goerge said people should not be misled by Hunterdon Central’s record.
“It doesn’t matter if you play high school, college or pro — any team can beat another on any given day,” he said. “Now it’s a one game season. Anything can happen in the playoffs. It’s really about us preparing the best we can and playing our game.”
Goerge always preaches preparation and regularly notes that the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Red Division, which the Vikings won this fall, is among the toughest in the state. That has been borne out in recent weeks as an improving Sayreville War Memorial High School bested Piscataway Township High School, which in turn downed Old Bridge High School, while Edison High School edged Sayreville. All are playoff-bound teams.
South Brunswick opened the season with a disappointing 41-21 home loss to perennial Shore Conference power Middletown High School South (8-0), which went on to earn the first seed in the North Jersey II Group IV playoffs.
The Vikings have roared back with eight straight wins, all against GMC Red Division foes, outscoring those opponents, 236- 58, over that span. South Brunswick is coming off a tough, 14-10, come-from behind win over Piscataway Oct. 30.
South Brunswick took the lead with under five minutes to go in regulation on a halfback option pass from Wendell Allen to Justin Shorter. Then Shorter came up with a key interception to halt a Chiefs drive and ice the game.
With eight games already in the books, South Brunswick has been off since that win. Goerge said the time off enabled his team to regroup and allow its bumps and bruises to heal. It also gave Goerge and his staff a chance to scout Hunterdon Central Nov. 6 when the Red Devils lost, 33-14, to Westfield High School.
“It’s good to have a little time to practice and work on some things,” he said. “It’s a long, tough season, and we’ve had some hard games. We’ve had this same week off for the past four years so we’re used to it. I think the extra time will help us.”
South Brunswick looks to make its third trip to the finals in four years. Last year, the Vikings fell to Manalapan High School, 21- 7, at High Point Solutions Stadium. In 2012, South Brunswick downed Manalapan, 33- 22, to win the crown.
South Brunswick’s boys soccer team fell to seventh-seeded Freehold Township High School in the Central Jersey, Group IV semifinals to end the year with a 17-4-1 mark. The Vikings had to play a man down after Kyle DeGroff was red-carded after a scrum that followed a set-piece play just 15 minutes into the match. The Patriots scored the game’s only goal later in the first half.
The second-seeded Vikings managed to outshoot the visitors, 12-6, but were unable to get the equalizer. Arvind Swaminathan made five saves for South Brunswick.
In its opening-round game, South Brunswick brushed past 15th-seeded Sayreville, 5-0. Nasser Aamer scored twice and Jermaine Small, Keiler Knapp and Kumal Thakral, who connected early on a header, also scored for the Vikings.
In girls soccer, the Lady Vikings came up short in the opening round of the Central Jersey, Group IV tournament, falling 5-0 to ninth-seeded Freehold High School.
South Brunswick, the eighth seed, may have been a bit spent as the match came just two days after its storybook run through the GMC Tournament that culminated in a 1-0 win over East Brunswick High School in Suth Brunswick South Brunswick,the ,,,,cham,pionship game.