Following his team's 35-7 win over JP Stevens on Homecoming, South Brunswick High football coach Joe Goerge started walking off the field and through an excited group of fans.
Congratulations filled the air.
"Great game, coach."
"Great job, coach."
Goerge waved and smiled, but it took a group of male students to stop the coach in his tracks.
On a very cold night, the students had their shirts off and the school name painted on their collective chests. Seeing this, Goerge circled back and gave them all a high-five.
"You guys are crazy," Goerge laughed.
Life was good at South Brunswick.
"This is the atmosphere I wanted," Goerge said. "I wanted the expectations. I wanted people to be excited. This is it."
It was different than just the previous week. The 5-1 Vikings were coming off a 47-14 loss at Piscataway.
To compound South Brunswick's problems, JP Stevens scored on its first possession.
"This was a challenge game," Goerge said. "We had to see how the team would react after last week. Adding to the challenge was the fact JP Stevens scored on its first possession. The guys responded."
South Brunswick's defense responded by not allowing another point in the game.
"We wanted to come out and put last week behind us," South Brunswick quarterback TJ Perkowski said. "We had a great week of practice and it showed."
Not only did the defense respond, so did the offense and special teams.
South Brunswick tied the game on its first possession. It went 65 yards on 10 plays. Dahrae Ford completed the drive when scored on a 3-yard run.
The Vikings managed to score four of the first five times they touched the ball. The lone exception was when SBHS took over on downs deep in its own territory near the end of the half and just elected to run out the clock.
South Brunswick took the lead with an eight-play, 60-yard drive in the second quarter. That drive was capped by an 8-yard touchdown run by Dion Hooper.
After long drives for their first two touchdowns, South Brunswick struck quickly for their next score. In fact, SBHS never even put their offense on the field.
With JP Stevens at its own 31, Brian Lee blocked a punt and TJ Taylor picked up the ball and ran it for a score.
"I didn't see the ball at first," Taylor noted. "I heard it (the block). I then looked around and saw the ball. I picked it up, got a couple of blocks and took it for a score. It was great."
Taylor also scored South Brunswick's next touchdown on the opening possession of the second half. Taylor caught a 44-yard pass from Perkowski for the score.
"It was man-to-man," Taylor noted. "We had to take advantage of the coverage."
Perkowski finished off the scoring with a 31-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
An interception by Scott Dunleavy made sure the scoring stayed finished for JP Stevens as well.
This, of course, set up the victory walk for Goerge and his players through an excited Homecoming crowd.
"Look at this place on a Friday night," Goerge said. "There is nothing like it."
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