The Piscataway Chiefs are state champs once again. In the finals for the first time since 2012, the Chiefs won their first trophy since 2011 with a dominating 34-13 win over Manalapan at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway. It's the 6th state title for head coach Dan Higgins, in his 14th season.
En route to the Central Jersey Group 5 title, the Chiefs avenged a regular season loss to Old Bridge in the semis. They beat Manalapan in the finals after losing to the Braves in the regular season as well. Those were Piscataway's only two losses, finishing 10-2.
Piscataway dominated from the outset, taking a 14-0 halftime lead on first half touchdown runs of 4 and 5 yards by senior Elijah Barnwell. He capped his high school career - in which he started in all four seasons - with three scores. He finishes as the Chiefs all-time leader in carries (with 792), rushing yards (5,730), rushing TDs (71), overall TDs (78) and points scored (472).
The Chiefs went up 20-0 on a 10 yard run by Nahjir Woods to start the third quarter, then Manalpan had its only good drive of the game. Braves runingback Naim Mayfield finally got going after being held in check in the first half. But it would be Manalapan's only score of any import, as Piscataway added two more scores before Mayfield hit paydirt as time expired.
Nick Recine recovered a blocked punt in the end zone late in the 4th quarter for a defensive score.