It was nothing but roses during homecoming night for the South Brunswick High School football team on Oct. 7 in Monmouth Junction.
Behind a dominating defensive performance that saw two interceptions be returned for a touchdown, the Vikings roared to a 47-6 victory over John P. Stevens High School of Edison to win their third straight contest and improve to 4-2 on the season.
“We’re starting to round into form,” said South Brunswick Coach John Viotto after the victory over J.P. Stevens. “The way the kids have come out the last couple of weeks has been really impressive. They’re working hard and having fun and playing some physical football. I’m really proud of seeing those things.”
Senior Omar Abdelaziz set the tone for South Brunswick’s night on the gridiron, and also a special night for himself.
On the very first play from scrimmage, Abdelaziz read J.P. Stevens’ quarterback Badr Alasmar, intercepting the quick screen and pass and returning it to the house for a 17-yard touchdown to put South Brunswick up 7-0.
It was Abdelaziz’s first touchdown of the season and the night got even better for the senior during halftime when the homecoming court was announced.
Abdelaziz was named homecoming king alongside classmate Riley Jarvis, who was named homecoming queen.
“It’s going to be a night I get to tell my future kids someday,” Abdelaziz said. “It’s something that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life. Probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever lived through.”
The fun was just beginning for the Vikings, who took a 14-0 lead moments later as junior Jacob Brokaw took the option pitch from quarterback Vincent Jairdullo to the end zone for a 30-yard touchdown.
Brokaw now has a team-leading three rushing touchdowns on the season.
Senior star Brian Rawls Jr. added to the South Brunswick lead with 2:01 to play in the first quarter, rushing in for a touchdown from four yards out on a jet sweep to make it 21-0.
Rawls added another touchdown to his line on defense during the second half by racking up the second pick-six of the night by the South Brunswick defense.
Standing a few yards by midfield, Rawls was able to tip the pass by Alasmar into his hands and then run all the way down the sideline for a 47-yard touchdown.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Brian Rawls Jr (@BrianRawlsJr_) had a game-high 2 TDs (1 Rush, 1 Pick-6) to help South Brunswick (@VikingsSouth) roll to a 47-6 victory over J.P. Stevens. Rawls has 10 TDs this season. CC: @central_jersey @GoSBVikings @CoachViotto @SBHSFLEET #NJFootball 🏈 pic.twitter.com/AyVTU8uHJX
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 8, 2021
“I thought I tipped it down and then it just bounced back into my hands,” Rawls said of his interception. “I was so grateful. I saw the lane and I was glad that my teammates blocked for me so I could get in.”
The senior defensive back has returned two of his three interceptions this season for a touchdown.
Rawls has six total touchdowns on the season.
South Brunswick tallied the first 24 points of the contest with senior placekicker Jai Patel banging home a 41-yard field goal attempt with 5:37 to go in the second quarter to make it 24-0.
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 7, 2021
Patel knocked in a 38-yard attempt on South Brunswick’s first drive of the second half.
J.P. Stevens would crack the scoreboard with 1:07 to play in the first half.
Following an interception by junior Yug Shah, J.P. Stevens would capitalize on the turnover with Clarance Dixsoin running in for a 27-yard touchdown to cut the South Brunswick lead to 24-6.
Jairdullo shook off the interception on the following drive by hooking up with wide receiver Damarion Potts to help South Brunswick answer back before halftime.
Potts was able to tip and corral a pass from Jairdullo with one hand for a 42-yard touchdown with 10 seconds left in the first half to give South Brunswick a 31-6 halftime lead.
Jairdullo has 10 touchdown passes on the season for the Vikings. Potts now has two touchdown receptions this fall. Junior star Khiri Summers leads the Vikings with six touchdown receptions this season and also has three interceptions.
“We battle each other every day in practice,” Rawls said. “We all have the same goal of winning a state championship. We want to combine all our skills and help the team win.”
Sophomore quarterback Braden Paulmenn capped off the South Brunswick homecoming victory with a 12-yard touchdown run with 4:25 left in the contest.
TOUCHDOWN @VikingsSouth! Braden Paulmenn dashes up the middle on the QB keeper for 6 to put South Brunswick up 47-6 with 4:25 to play. CC: @central_jersey @GoSBVikings #NJFootball 🏈 pic.twitter.com/8nuiu6jWiH
— Steven Bassin (@SBassin_Sports) October 8, 2021
South Brunswick roared to a 45-20 victory over Monroe last weekend on Senior Night.
Viotto said it’s “awesome” seeing his players get to enjoy the thrills of winning games on Senior Night and during homecoming.
“We coach for the kids because we want to see them do great things and have fun,” Viotto said. “Very proud of the kids and the effort they have put forward.”
South Brunswick (4-2) will now gear up for a tough three-game stretch to finish the regular season against the likes of Sayreville, East Brunswick and Bridgewater-Raritan.
Viotto knows this upcoming stretch will not just determine his team’s fate for the state playoffs, but also show his squad where the South Brunswick football program truly ranks amongst the top-tier teams in the Big Central Football Conference.
“We have to come to practice ready to work,” Viotto said. “We have to be ready to answer the bell.”
South Brunswick was set to travel to play Sayreville on Oct. 15.