The South Brunswick Vikings have pulled off one of the biggest upsets on Championship Weekend.
Few outside observers gave the second-seed a chance against what many considered the top public school in the state. But three touchdown passes from senior Felix Quinones got the Vikings the win, 18-14 over Manalapan, in the Central Jersey Group 5 Championship Game at Rutgers' High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway Saturday afternoon.
Manalapan scored the first two touchdowns, on a 34-yard run by Naim Mayfield - who had scored a touchdown an average of every four touches heading into the game - then made it 14-0 on a 60-yard punt return for a TD after South Brunswick kicked it almost right to him.
But South Brunswick answered right back. They got a 14-yard touchdown pass from Quinones to Dylan Kriz with 5:51 to go before the half, but the extra point missed to the left. And they added another pass - this time ten yards - to Justin Shorter for a TD, but the two-point conversion failed, leaving the score 14-12 Manalapan going into the locker room.
The teams went back and forth in the second half, trading interceptions, with South Brunswick getting the ball back with just under four minutes to go at their own 8-yard line. They'd end up going 92 yards on 11 plays, capped off by a 17-yard touchdown pass from Quinones - his third of the game - to Jaylan Lawson.
Manalapan still had a chance, getting the ball on its own 29 yard line, and marching all the way to the 29. But what looked like a great TD catch by Naim Mayfield to wrestle back the lead ended with officials calling offensive pass interference. After a South Brunswick time out, Manalapan QB Luke Corcione threw for the end zone again, this time for Symir Blacknall, but the Viking free safety Thomas Joe-Kamara broke up the pass to seal the win.
WCTC's Mike Pavlichko spoke with head coach Joe Goerge after the game:
Postgame reaction from senior QB/CB Felix Quinones:
More reaction from senior receiver/safety Jaylan Lawson: