NORTH BRUNSWICK – North Brunswick found its new running back in Thursday’s 19-0 victory over South Brunswick: quarterback Frankie Garbolino.
Well, not quite. The senior who broke the show’s all-time single season pass records in each of the past two years is sure to release a lot this fall.
Just on Thursday, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound running back was needed to run, so he took off with five runs in double figures as the Raiders cruised to a methodical 19-0 victory in the annual rivalry game.
Garbolino rushed for a game-high 104 yards on 14 carries and had a 2-yard TD. Consider this: All of last season he rushed for 222 yards on 89 carries with three TDs.
For his part, Garbolino – who threw for 1,855 yards in 2021 – was happy when talking about the defensive performance.
“It would put them up against any defense in the county,” he said. “Those guys are amazing. They work their tails every day. … What they do out there is crazy. It just makes my life so much easier, knowing that it’s okay, if we flip the ball, here we go. We’re going to get it back and we’re going to score.”
On Thursday, Zahmir Dawud added two touchdowns in the second half as the Raiders opened up their 6-0 halftime lead. Dawud took a short pass from Garbolino and ran into the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. He also added a 3-yard TD run.
What does it mean
North Brunswick now leads the series 27-19-1 and posed for pictures with the Mike Elko Memorial Trophy given to the winner of each season. It was a strong start for the Raiders, who showed courage at times, including a 13-play, 78-yard drive over 6 minutes that lasted into the fourth quarter and ended in a TD.
South Brunswick also showed some good things with the return of Joe George as head coach. He managed the Vikings from 2012 to 2018 and won three sectional titles.
In a low-scoring game, surely there was some defensive highlight.
In the first quarter, South Brunswick went from their own 22-yard line to North Brunswick’s 31-yard line on the team’s best drive of the game. On third-and-5, Alani Ajigbotosho and Dawud broke up a pass attempt. On fourth down, the Vikings’ pass went high and North Brunswick got the ball on opportunities.
Meanwhile, South Brunswick generated a turnover late in the first quarter as North Brunswick drove into their territory. On a third-and-one, Asonye Chisom crossed the line and wrapped up Garbolino, who fumbled the ball wide instead of taking the sack. The ball went left and Jacob Brokaw dove for the interception at the South Brunswick 17-yard line.
Shutouts aren’t easy, but North Brunswick pressured the Vikings throughout the game. Defensive ends Isaiah Barnes and Amanuell Gray and linebackers Justin Batts (fumble recovery), Tamir Jenkins, Isaiah Thomas and Willie Wilson, among others, had big nights.
Garbolino also had an efficient passing night, going 12-of-17 for 125 yards and throwing to five different receivers in Dawud, Aligbotosho, Batts, Jack Garbolino and Demba Conleh.
they said it
North Brunswick coach Mike Cipot on Garbolino’s great night of racing: “I loved how we played physically. We are not always going to air the ball and that just shows a bit of balance in our team”.
Garbolino on his big night of racing: “It just happened. He knew he would run the ball a little bit. We did a couple of designed races so that was fun. Once I started running, it seemed to click, so I just took off with it.”
Cipot on the team’s defense: “It’s impressive, but it’s also because of the preparation we’ve done all summer. Again, my defensive staff did a great job of preparing these guys for anything because we didn’t think they were going to come out and being very vanilla and they didn’t show that. They came out in different formations, but our guys are a smart bunch. They’re tough and they’re veterans, but they’re very smart and I think that’s the difference.”
South Brunswick coach Joe George, “Obviously we didn’t have much on offense. They did a good job. We hang in there for a bit, and again, it’s all part of the process right now. It’s going to take a bit, but I’m sure we saw some good stuff. I’m sure we’ll film and watch a few more things and there will be a lot of corrections.”
North Brunswick travels to Edison next Friday, while South Brunswick hosts Old Bridge.