Vin Gargano’s scoring strike to Aaron Ford and Ed Mish’s subsequent PAT with 25 seconds remaining lifted the Old Bridge High School football team to a 21-20 upset of Piscataway Friday night.
The victory was the biggest for the Knights since they last beat the Chiefs in 2006.
Piscataway won the previous five meetings between the schools, averaging 45 points per game and pitching two shutouts.
“I think our players deserve a lot of credit for bouncing back,” Old Bridge coach Anthony Lanzafama said, referring to a 35-0 season-opening loss to Sayreville, ranked No. 1 in the Home News Tribune Top 10.
“Consistency” was the theme in practice leading up to the Piscataway game.
The Knights, who committed five turnovers in the opener, coughed the ball up just once but nearly lost a fumble on the play before the winning touchdown.
On second-and-goal from the 5 with 40 seconds remaining, Ford, who finished with 113 yards on 12 carries, took a handoff but was immediately greeted by a Piscataway defender.
“The kid came in unblocked,” Lanzafama explained. “We just kind of took our eyes off the ball because we didn’t expect him to be there so quickly. We fumble and (the ball) goes down among four or five Piscataway jerseys. Somehow it kind of squirts out to (offensive lineman) Denis Kilduff. We are miraculously able to come up with it.”
After using a final time out, Gargano called two plays in the huddle. On third-and-goal from the 6, he rolled to his right and threw across his body, hitting Ford two yards deep in the end zone.
Gargano converted all three of his pass attempts on the winning drive, which began as a two-minute drill at the Old Bridge 40 yard line.
“During practice all week, I think the kids believed we could beat Piscataway,” said Lanzafama, whose Knights were outgained 306 to 255 in total yardage.
The Chiefs, playing again without injured starting signal caller Nadir Barnwell, were content to run the ball, netting 279 yards on the ground.
Backup quarterback Keith Bates, who completed 6 of 12 passes for 192 yards and four touchdowns in a season-opening win over Edison, was 3 of 9 for 27 yards.
Touchdown or nothing
Carteret has yet to punt this season, but the Ramblers have sure given rookie placekicker Leandro Lamache a workout.
He has booted 14 of 14 PATS as Carteret won its first two games by identical 49-17 scores.
Excluding three turnovers and a missed field goal, every other Carteret possession this year has culminated with a touchdown.
In Friday’s win over Raritan, quarterback Tyler Rodriguez completed his first five passes including two for touchdowns. He finished 9 of 13 for 150 yards and four scores.
Dan SanFilippo had another impact game on defense, recording seven tackles, blocking a punt and recovering a fumble.
Safety Brandon Gilder had two pass breakups and an interception.
North Brunswick sophomore running back LaShawn Boyd missed Friday night’s 49-7 loss to Colts Neck with an injury. He is questionable for Friday’s game against East Brunswick.
With Boyd, the only freshman in school history to rush for more than 1,000 yards, sidelined, Colts Neck turned its attention to quarterback Tim Parson.
Parson completed 11 of 16 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns in a season-opening loss to Monroe.
Against Colts Neck, he was sacked twice and limited to eight yards on 4 of 8 passing.
Colts Neck, which ran the ball in its season opener, took to the air against the Raiders, with gifted quarterback Mike Campbell completing his first eight passes.
The Raiders were outgained 393 to 133 in total offense.
Defense never rests
Undefeated Sayreville and Woodbridge have yet to surrender a point.
The Bombers defeated Old Bridge and East Brunswick by a combined 76-0 score. Woodbridge outscored Perth Amboy and New Brunswick 51-0.
Woodbridge faces a tough defensive task Friday, facing Monroe’s no-huddle offense, which is averaging 400 yards and 38 points per game.
Monroe took more than 80 offensive snaps in Friday’s 35-32 loss at South Brunswick.
Downtown Corey Brown
Spotswood wideout Corey Brown caught 12 passes for 189 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday’s 48-35 loss to Keansburg.
The teams combined for 962 yards from scrimmage. Spotswood was outgained 580 to 382 in total offense.
In the trenches
Spotswood and Dunellen faced Shore Conference opponents with sizable and talented offensive lines during the weekend.
The Chargers yielded 431 yards on the ground against Keansburg. Dunellen gave up 433 rushing yards in a 41-8 setback to Point Pleasant Beach.
Losing war with the Shore
GMC schools own a 3-7 record against the Shore Conference, having been outscored 263-86 or by an average of 25.3 points in those defeats.
Waving the yellow flag
South Brunswick and Monroe were flagged a combined 25 times for 225 penalty yards Friday night. The Falcons committed 17 penalties for 160 yards.
Stat of the week
Metuchen and South River combined for 13 turnovers in the Rams’ 17-12 win on Saturday.