The Piscataway football program has done a lot over the years. One thing it hadn’t done was win 13 games, simply because the maximum it could play was 12 before this year.
Add another check mark to the Piscataway bucket list.
The Chiefs became the first area team from Middlesex or Somerset Counties to win 13 games when they beat Ridgewood in the North Jersey Group 5 Bowl Game at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands Saturday.
Despite Juwon Jackson suffering a lower leg injury that limited him in the second half and forced him to be carried off the field by his teammates late in the 4th quarter, Piscataway won a bowl title in the first year of the games, seen as a precursor to eventually playing all the way down to group champions.
The Chiefs got on the board with the first two scores. After Ridgewood went 3-and-out to start the game, the Chiefs converted on their first field goal attempt of the season, a 34-yard try by Robert Konya with 5:41 to go in the first quarter. Then, Lord Jones added a 29-yard TD run on a direct snap with 1:02 to go in the period on a direct snap.
But Ridgewood came right back with the next two touchdowns – a 1-yard run by Gabe Santiago (with a missed PAT) and a 26-yard run by Dan Cardew – to go ahead 13-10.
But with 1:13 to go before the half, the Chiefs took the lead for good. With the ball on the 11 yard line, Nasir Best rumbled to the 5 but had the ball stripped by a Maroons defender. The ball bounced to the turf, and was picked up by a surprised Jordin Martell. The offensive tackle picked up the ball and waltzed two yards into the end zone to give the Chiefs a 17-13 lead with the extra point, a margin they would take into the second half.
Getting the ball after halftime, Piscataway ran 8:27 off the clock on a long drive, marching 80 yards in 17 plays, capping it off with a 5-yard touchdown run by Nasir Best. That might have been the nail in the coffin for Ridgewood.
Best would score another touchdown – of two yards – with just under 10 minutes to go, making moot a Maroons’ score with 5:28 to go.