Coach Joe Goerge’s top-seeded Vikings handed Old Bridge High School a stunning 42-0 defeat at High Point Solutions Stadium at Rutgers University.
The victory capped an 11-game winning streak that also saw South Brunswick win the Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Red Division title.
The season didn’t start out that well, as the Vikings fell, 41-21, to Shore Conference power Middletown High School South on opening night. Goerge’s team got itself in gear after that and never looked back. A year ago, South Brunswick opened the campaign with 11 successive wins but lost for the only time to Manalapan High School, 21-7, in the Central Jersey Group V finals.
“It’s always difficult to beat a team twice in the same year,” said George, whose team downed the Knights, 20-9, in a regular-season game. “Old Bridge is a very good team, and they won some big games. They played well the first time we played against them, but I didn’t think we were really at our best. We made some mistakes that we don’t usually make and generally didn’t execute well. We wanted things to be different this time.”
Things were indeed quite different. The Vikings went up 7-0 in the first quarter thanks to a 39-yard touchdown run by Jaier Garrett. On the other side of the ball, South Brunswick’s defense contained the Knights’ running game, holding Old Bridge to three first downs through two quarters.
Goerge’s team scored twice in the second quarter. Junior quarterback Josh Liao scored on a short keeper and, before the break, he teamed up with Justin Shorter for a 50-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-0 at the half.
Garrett scored again, this time on a 31- yard run, to extend the lead in the third quarter. The third-seeded Knights tried to get back into the match through the air, but Mo Jabbie intercepted an Artur Sitkowski pass and ran it back 30 yards to pretty much put the game away.
Fullback Phil Campbell closed out the scoring with a 5-yard fourth-quarter run. Drew Fehte added the PAT — his sixth of the afternoon. Campbell ended up with 90 yards on 17 carries, while Garrett ran four times for 87 yards. Liao completed five of eight passes for 89 yards.
“Our guys wanted this game, especially after what happened last year,” Goerge said. “They prepared well and were very focused — and it showed. They knew what it would take, and they got it done.”
South Brunswick (11-1) roared past its opening-round opponent, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, the eighth seed, 46-7.
The Vikings were tested in the semifinals by Manalapan. South Brunswick lost a 14-point lead but recovered to win, 27-21, on the final play of the game as Liao found Wendell Allen all alone in the end zone.
“Playing in the Red Division has helped prepare us,” Goerge said. “It’s one of the toughest divisions in the state. No matter who you are playing against, you have to go up against a tough team every week.”