Nadir Barnwell ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to help lead Piscataway High’s football team to a 47-14 win over South Brunswick on Friday night in the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division.
Cameron Nash ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns for the Chiefs, who used a strong second half to break open a six-point game and improve to 3-1. South Brunswick, which was outscored 27-0 after intermission, suffered its first defeat of the season, falling to 4-1.
“I thought we played pretty well in the first half except we kept shooting ourselves in the foot in different areas,” Piscataway coach Dan Higgins said. “The point was we need to eliminate that (in the second half) and play a little more focused. If we stay on our assignments and eliminate the big plays, we were going to have success in the second half. That’s kind of what the message was to the kids.”
Piscataway’s Tyrell Judson ran for 64 yards on eight carries in the second half after Nash left the game with leg cramps, Jamaal James scored on a 68-yard run and Kevin Butler had a 63-yard interception return for a TD as the Chiefs tallied 20 points in the final 12:26.
“We expect guys to step up when they’re called upon,” Higgins said. “We have no bench players. We truly believe in that, and I think they believe in that. They work hard and if they get their opportunity, it’s their turn. They’ve got to do the very best they can with it.”
Piscataway forced a three-and-out on the Vikings’ first possession and took over on SB’s 44. Completions from Nadir Barnwell to David Claybrook and Kyle LaPorte set up Cameron Nash’s 8-yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 6-0 lead with 9:34 to go in the first quarter.
The Chiefs held South Brunswick on fourth-and-2 from the Piscataway 30 on the ensuing possession and then embarked on an 11-play drive to build a 13-0 advantage. Barnwell, who was 3-for-3 for 28 yards on the march, capped it with a 1-yard run.
South Brunswick got on the board early in the second quarter after withstanding an interception in its own territory. T.J. Perkowski connected with Dontae Strickland on a 77-yard catch-and-run and tossed a 1-yard TD pass to Dion Hooper on fourth down to cut the Vikings’ deficit to 13-7.
Piscataway answered immediately as Nash ran 59 yards for a touchdown on the snap following the ensuing kickoff, making it 20-7 with 7:50 to go in the half.
“That was real big,” Nash said. “I knew we had to bounce back after they scored and take the momentum away from them. I knew I had to make a play.
“We wanted to start fast and finish strong, and we did that.”
But the Vikings weren’t finished in the first half. Aided by a roughing the passer penalty, South Brunswick drove 78 yards in 17 plays, taking seven minutes off the clock. Perkowski hit T.J. Taylor with a 12-yard touchdown pass to get SB within 20-14 at intermission.
Piscataway struck first in the second half, and struck often.
Claybrook, who moments earlier helped the Chiefs with a punt that pinned South Brunswick deep in its own territory, gave Piscataway a 27-14 lead midway through the third quarter with a leaping 17-yard touchdown catch.
Barnwell gave the Chiefs breathing room with a 5-yard touchdown run 26 seconds prior to the end of the third quarter. The run capped a 78-yard drive on which Judson stepped in for the injured Nash and rushed seven times for 61 yards.
Butler’s 63-yard interception return for a touchdown and James’ 68-yard TD run capped the scoring for the Chiefs in the fourth quarter.
“We had a statement to make,” Barnwell said. “We just pushed ourselves and kept fighting, kept going.”