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Vikings riding five-game winning streak into state football playoffs

By Warren Rappleyea

South Brunswick High School’s football team enters the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group V playoffs with a five-game winning streak, including a solid 41-12 win against Monroe Township High School Nov. 4.

The fifth-seeded Vikings (7-2) are set to visit fourth-seeded Freehold Township High School (7-2) Nov. 11 for an opening-round game.

Coach Joe Goerge’s team got right down to business in Monroe. By the time the first quarter ended, the visitors were sitting on a 21-0 lead. Felix Quinones opened the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown run. Quarterback Josh Liao added an 8-yard scoring run, and Jaylan Lawson ran for 15 yards and another touchdown.

The Vikings did not let up and the lead grew to 35-0 after two quarters. Justin Shorter scored on a short run and Dylan Kriz added a 19-yard run to keep building the lead. Jayvon Palmer added a 2-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for South Brunswick. Monroe scored a pair of late touchdowns well after the game was decided.

Liao had a strong all-around night. The senior completed 14 of 18 passes for 170 yards. Shorter caught eight of those throws for 129 yards. Liao also ran for 52 yards on eight carries.

“We’ve been playing very well over the past several weeks, and that continued against Monroe,” Goerge said. “We feel like we’re building momentum, and the boys have been working very hard.”

After starting out 1-2, the Vikings have downed Edison High School, East Brunswick High School, Sayreville War Memorial High School, Brick Memorial High School and now Monroe. South Brunswick’s opening-night loss to Old Bridge High School came as the result of a late field goal. The Vikings also played well in a 26-14 loss to Greater Middlesex Conference (GMC) Red Division champion Piscataway Township High School (6-2). The Chiefs qualified for the Central Jersey, Group V playoffs as the second seed and will host Hunterdon Central Regional High School (6-3) Nov. 11.

“We have grown and learned from the first couple of weeks,” Goerge said. “I’m not sure what it was; maybe a hangover from back-to-back 11-win seasons or maybe we just thought we’re better than we are. We made some mistakes and turned the ball over too many times. Our guys have responded well. Our defense has been solid. Over the past five weeks, we’ve only turned the ball over one time.”

The South Brunswick coach called the Patriots a well-disciplined team.

“Freehold Township had a good season, and they’re in the playoffs for a reason,” Goerge said. “At this point, it really doesn’t matter who you play. It’s a one-and-done situation. You have to bring your best or you go home.”

Soccer

The sixth-seeded North Brunswick Township High School’s boys’ soccer team downed South Brunswick (14-6-1) in a penalty kick shootout to take an NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV first-round game Oct. 31.

“We feel we have an advantage whenever we go to penalty kicks because we know [goalkeeper] Pawel Dzielski is going to stop at least one, maybe two shots,” Raiders coach Paul Liddy said.

North Brunswick (16-4-1) fell behind, 2-0, in the first half of its Nov. 3 quarterfinals match with third-seeded Marlboro High School. The Raiders rallied to level the match on second half tallies by Alusine Kamara and Chris Scariano and send the match to overtime. Marlboro scored with just five minutes remaining in the second overtime to end the Raiders’ season.

In girls’ soccer, ninth-seeded South Brunswick was eliminated in the opening round of Central Jersey, Group IV play by eighth-seeded Princeton High School, 4-1. Cathlene Kaseta scored the lone goal for the Lady Vikings, who ended the year with a 10-7-1 mark.

Girls’ volleyball

Williamstown High School (seeded 14th) downed 19th-seeded South Brunswick in a Group IV opening-round match, 2-0 (27-29, 18-25). Kelly Matuszewski led the Lady Vikings with four kills, a block and a dig, and Jaime Klemas added five kills.

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