Roadtrip!: Piscataway leaves it late in win over Sayreville

Nah Jir Woods interception in the final minute set up the winning TD for Piscataway, which beat Sayreville, 12-6, on Friday night in's annual Roadtrip Game.

SAYREVILLE – Because there was no ‘must see’ game on the Friday night football slate in North Jersey, it seemed like a good time to head south to get a peek at two powerhouse public high schools in the central part of the state. The road trip led to Sayreville (North 2, Group 4) where the hometown Bombers hosted the Piscataway Chiefs (North 2, Group 5), teams that have combined for a collective 6-1 record through the first month of the season.

Points were hard to come as both defenses stiffened in their respective zone defense, but Piscataway found a way to come from behind and sneak past Sayreville, 12-6, on Friday night at Sayreville War Memorial High School.

Piscataway was able to move the ball early only to see its drives end in a bevy of turnovers. On their opening drive the Chiefs got inside the 10 before Sayreville defensive lineman Savon Kirksey blitzed through the line for a jarring tackle that caused a fumble at the Sayreville 9. Early second quarter Sayreville drove deep into Chiefs only to be denied on a fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs’ 14 with 10:31 left in the in second quarter.

With a short field to travel midway through the second quarter Sayreville got a short field to work with and was able to reach the red zone, but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Nick Mileski, who gave the Bombers a 3-0.

The Chiefs were given a golden opportunity when a punt bounced off the Sayreville return man to set the Piscataway up just 15 yards from endzone, but that golden opportunity went by the boards when, on first-and-goal at Sayreville 4 with 35 seconds left in the half, Jacari Carter intercepted a Joseph Hatcher pass in the end zone. That preserved Sayreville’s 3-0 lead heading into the halftime break.

Isaiah Colon after catching a 40-yard TD pass for Piscataway's first points.

The third quarter was more of the same as Sayreville missed a 20-yard field goal, and Piscataway could not convert another scoring chance when Sayreville’s Elijah Clark picked off a pass at his own goal line. Piscataway was also thwarted on another deep drive, but was stopped for a one yard gain on a fourth-and-3 from the Bomber’s 8 late in the third quarter.

It was not until the fourth quarter that the Chiefs were able to get on the scoreboard. After a short punt they started inside Bombers territory on the 49 with eight minutes remaining in the game. Hatcher found a wide open Isaiah Colon for a 40-yard touchdown pass after defender had fallen down on the play. Piscataway (4-0) missed the extra point, but, after coming up empty on its first four trips inside the 10, it
took the lead for the first time at 6-3 with 6:40 to play in the game.

Sayreville (3-2) took the ensuing kickoff and drove down the field into the red zone again only to have the Chiefs rise up again inside the five yard line. The Bombers had to settle for another field goal attempt and Mileski connected to tie the score at 6.

The play of the game happened on the next Bombers’ drive when Piscataway safety Nah Jir Woods stepped in front of a receiver on the Bombers 41 and returned it to the 13 with 52 seconds left.

“I’m proud of our guys, I knew it was going to be a fight..I thank my my guy- Nah Joe Woods for his interception”, Piscataway offensive tackle Kaleb Harris said.

The Chiefs finally scored from the red zone on a Juwon Jackson’s 9-yard run and that served as the game-winning touchdown run inside the final minute. 

“Amazing we came together at the end for the “W”, said Jackson, Piscataway’s junior running back. “Big time rivalry. Our line does a heck of a job. We needed to overcome some of our mistakes.”

Piscataway again missed the extra point and the Chiefs took over for a final chance to tie or go ahead with under minute left in the game, but Piscataway put an end to the suspense with another interception to seal the win.

"It’s the annual Piscataway and Sayreville show down and we kept fighting back,” said Piscataway coach Dan Higgins. “I'm proud our our team, despite turnovers and penalties, we played four quarters," 

NOTES: This was annual road trip to see other New Jersey football powers. This year it took us to Sayreville (GSP Exit 124), rock & roll legend Jon Bon Jovi's high school. Previous years our travels took us to Middletown, Elizabeth, Bridgewater and Easton, Pa.