The second time wasn't the charm for Old Bridge Friday night, as the South Brunswick High School football team ground out a tough 14-7 victory while making history in the process.
The Vikings are headed to a sectional championship for the first time in SBHS history against undefeated top seed Manalapan next weekend.
Once again for the Vikings it was the Dahrae Ford show against Old Bridge. After scoring four touchdowns in the first meeting, Ford put up 140 rushing yards and a touchdown to lead the way for South Brunswick. Quarterback T.J. Perkowski completed 8 of 10 passes for 155 yards.
SBHS came out of halftime with a 7-0 lead after Ford's touchdown, but Old Bridge was able to tie the score early in the fourth quarter. After a 50-yard Ford run, Dion Hooper finished the drive to put the Vikings up for good.
SBHS (9-2) also went down to the wire in the first matchup between the two teams, as the Vikings triumphed in a nailbiter 27-21 on Sept. 21 to improve to 3-0.
The Vikings are expected to play Manalapan at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, the home field of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. For Perkowski, who signed a letter of intent to play collegiate baseball for Rutgers, getting to play in the finals at his future college would be a dream, he said earlier this week.
"It would mean everything to me to play there," Perkowski said. "The only reason I played football this year was to get another shot at a state championship. To be able to get to that game at Rutgers and to be able to play on that field would be an amazing feeling."