EDISON – There has been no slowing down the South Brunswick High School football team’s offense through the first two games of the 2020 season.
The Vikings scored 45 points in its season opening victory over Perth Amboy and crossed over the 40-point mark in their victory on Oct. 9 against Edison’s John P. Stevens High School.
A three touchdown performance from both sophomore quarterback Vincent Jairdullo and senior running back Majid Howard-Baker led South Brunswick to a 42-0 victory over the Hawks to improve to 2-0 on the season.
The terrific start to the season has been very fun to watch for South Brunswick Coach John Viotto, who would tell you back in June that a season this fall probably wouldn’t be happening because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have a great senior core with a lot of great sophomore and junior skill players that are leading us,” Viotto said. “Our kids have been doing a great job following all the protocols. They have been smart on and off the field. I’ve been really happy with all of that stuff.”
South Brunswick jumped on the board in the final minute of the first quarter after a tough defensive stand at its own 24-yard line to stop J.P. Stevens’ opening drive.
Jairdullo then drove the Vikings right down the field, converting a big fourth down on a 6-yard swing pass to wide receiver Brian Rawls to keep the chains moving to the J.P. Stevens’ 13-yard line.
Two plays later, Jairdullo found the end zone, diving in from one yard out to give South Brunswick a 7-0 lead with 19.6 seconds left in the first quarter.
The sophomore quarterback added his first passing touchdown of the night later on in the first half with a 15-yard fade pass to senior tight end Jared Lauri.
Jairdullo has seven total touchdowns through the first two games of the season, but knows more needs to be done going forward to keep the team’s early success going.
“It goes to all the hard we put in during the offseason,” Jairdullo said. “We’re not satisfied though. It’s only Week 2. We have to keep getting better from here.”
Howard-Baker had a stellar second quarter for the Vikings.
The senior tailback extended the South Brunswick lead to 14-0 on the following possession after Jairdullo’s rushing touchdown, scampering to the end zone on a third and three for a 25-yard touchdown run.
With just a little more than a minute left in the first half and the Vikings up 21-0, Howard-Baker crossed off a career milestone with his first punt return for a touchdown.
The senior picked up the ball around his own 15-yard line and reversed field, streaking up the left sideline where he picked a cavalry of blocks from his teammates to cruise into the end zone to put the Vikings up 28-0 going into halftime.
Both Jairdullo and Howard-Baker recorded their third touchdowns of the night on the first possession of the second half.
Jairdullo hit Howard-Baker with a pass out of the backfield, and the senior tailback did the rest with a 38-yard sprint to the end zone, giving him a receiving touchdown to add to his rushing score and punt return for six.
TOUCHDOWN #3 for both Vincent Jairdullo & Majid Howard-Baker. 38-yard TD pass from Jairdullo to Howard-Baker. PAT is GOOD! 35-0, @GoSBVikings. CC: @central_jersey @CoachViotto @SBHSFLEET #NJFootball 🏈 pic.twitter.com/mzNNwkAzgf
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 9, 2020
“I have a mindset of playing my hardest every game since it’s my last year as a South Brunswick Viking,” Howard-Baker said. “My team motivates me to push myself harder every day. It feels great to help my team out as much as I can.”
Senior Justin Lawson ended the scoring affair for the Vikings with a 26-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
2nd straight game of over 40 points for South Brunswick! Justin Lawson gets in on the scoring action with a 26-yard TD run. @GoSBVikings up 42-0. CC: @central_jersey @CoachViotto @SBHSFLEET #NJFootball 🏈 pic.twitter.com/GUckadazwK
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 9, 2020
In the shutout victory, Lauri, senior Ahmad Alkilani and sophomore Khiri Summers each had a sack for the South Brunswick defense.
Viotto is really happy to see his senior players make an impact on the field to start the season and glad they’re getting the opportunity to do so.
“This means the world to them,” Viotto said of his senior players. “ They’re excited every day to be out there on the field. For some of them, this might be their last chance to play football, especially the last chance to play with their teammates.”
South Brunswick will see a step up in competition the next two weeks with games against East Brunswick on Oct. 16 and Monroe on Oct. 23.
Viotto is excited to see his team let it loose against both schools in the upcoming weeks and see how his squad fares, especially on offense.
Thinking that their season might be taken away from them just a couple months ago, Viotto can see that the great start to the season and being back on the field has been a great relief to his players.
From the smiles he sees on his athletes’ faces under their masks to the excitement his players bring onto the field, the second-year coach can tell how important it is to his guys to be able to play football this fall.
“The kids are so happy to be here,” Viotto said. “Even with masks on, you can tell they’re smiling and having fun with their friends. It’s very important to their mental health. Being out here with their teammates is the most important thing to them right now.”