Perry’s career night helps North Brunswick outlast Old Bridge

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North Brunswick Township High School wide receiver #1 Marquis Perry leads the Raiders out on to the field before its game against Old Bridge on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge. Perry tallied a career-high five touchdowns to help North Brunswick defeat Old Bridge 34-27.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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North Brunswick Township High School wide receiver Jayden Myers takes the handoff in the backfield during a game against Old Bridge on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge. North Brunswick is 2-0 to start the season. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School quarterback Owen Haughney runs for a first down during a game against North Brunswick on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge. Haughney had two touchdowns in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School running back Lawrence Hunter dives ahead for a six-yard gain during a game against North Brunswick on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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North Brunswick Township High School wide receiver #1 Marquis Perry leads the Raiders out on to the field before its game against Old Bridge on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge. Perry tallied a career-high five touchdowns to help North Brunswick defeat Old Bridge 34-27.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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North Brunswick Township High School wide receiver Jayden Myers takes the handoff in the backfield during a game against Old Bridge on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge. North Brunswick is 2-0 to start the season. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School quarterback Owen Haughney runs for a first down during a game against North Brunswick on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge. Haughney had two touchdowns in the contest. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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Old Bridge High School running back Lawrence Hunter dives ahead for a six-yard gain during a game against North Brunswick on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

The Big Central Football contest between North Brunswick Township High School and Old Bridge High School on Sept. 10 in Old Bridge will be one Marquis Perry said he will always remember.

North Brunswick’s senior star showcased his special talents on the gridiron in a standout performance to help the Raiders improve to 2-0 on the season.

Perry tallied a career-high five total touchdowns to lead North Brunswick to a hard-fought 34-27 victory over Old Bridge.

“It’s unbelievable,” Perry said after the game. “It feels great. I couldn’t do it without my teammates and my coaches.”

Perry’s show-stopping performance began from the first play of scrimmage with a 77-yard touchdown reception from junior quarterback Frankie Garbolino to put North Brunswick up 6-0.

His second touchdown came in the second quarter with the Raiders trailing Old Bridge by a point.

Following an interception made in the end zone by senior Jayden Myers that stopped a 16-play Old Bridge drive in the red zone, North Brunswick saw its pursuing drive stall inside its own 35-yard line.

As he went back to punt the ball away on fourth down, Perry remembered how aggressive Old Bridge was on his first punt of the contest in the first quarter and said he knew he could exploit it to keep North Brunswick’s drive alive.

Perry bobbled the snap at first, but was able to gather himself and find a lane to the outside where he broke free up the sideline for a 68-yard touchdown run to give North Brunswick back the lead at 14-7.

The senior struck for another big play on the Raiders’ next offensive possession to make it a 20-7 contest, taking a wide receiver screen pass from Garbolino 80 yards to the house for his third touchdown of the night.

“We have been repping that play all summer,” Perry said. “I caught it and once I saw open daylight, I just took it all the way.”

Old Bridge cut the North Brunswick lead to 20-14 going into halftime when senior quarterback Owen Haughney fired a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Liam Heaney with 34.5 seconds left in the first half.

Haughney tallied two total touchdowns in the contest for Old Bridge.

The Knights received the opening possession of the second half and took full advantage of it, going 73 yards in five plays to tie the game at 20-20.

Perry helped North Brunswick answer Old Bridge’s score on the following possession. The senior made another big play with a 49-yard reception to get the Raiders into the red zone and finished the drive with an eight-yard catch for his fourth touchdown of the night to put North Brunswick back in the lead.

After the blocked extra-point try, North Brunswick’s lead stood at just 26-20 and that proved costly with Old Bridge answering back with another touchdown in the third quarter.

Senior wide receiver Jake McAleavey broke free off the end around for a 44-yard touchdown run, which was followed by a successful extra-point attempt that gave Old Bridge a 27-26 lead over North Brunswick heading into the fourth quarter.

Old Bridge had its sights set on adding to its lead by driving inside the North Brunswick 30-yard line with under 10 minutes to play.

With a chance to get off the field on fourth down and two, the North Brunswick defense stepped up and got the huge stop it needed by forcing a turnover on downs to get its offense the ball back.

“We were opportunistic when we needed to be,” said North Brunswick Coach Michael Cipot. “We made the big plays when we needed to and came out with a victory.”

Perry shot the Raiders back in front on the very next play, taking another wide receiver screen all the way for a touchdown, this one from 73 yards out with 8:53 left to play.

The four touchdown passes to Perry gave Garbolino a total of seven through the first two games of the season.

North Brunswick went on to successfully convert its two-point try to go up 34-27 on Old Bridge.

The Knights looked to answer on their next possession by driving down inside the North Brunswick 30-yard line, but once again the Raiders got the stop they needed on defense.

Junior Zahmir Dahwud came up with an interception off the deflection by teammate William Wilson on fourth down to give North Brunswick the ball back with 3:31 to play.

The Raiders were able to run out the clock from there to earn their second victory of the season and first against Old Bridge since 2007.

“I’m so proud of these kids,” Cipot said. “We have to win close games like this if we want to get to where we want to be at the end of the season. I couldn’t ask enough from these kids. They played their hearts out.

North Brunswick is set to host Sayreville War Memorial High School in its next contest on Sept. 17. Old Bridge (1-1) will travel to play South Brunswick High School the same night.