The Scorpions made the most of Head Coach Larry Brock’s return to his alma mater as North Brunswick utilized its team speed and adjustments over the bye week in a 37-16 win over cross-county rival South Brunswick on Friday night.
Big plays by Jayhlen Washington proved to be the difference maker, while Tiger Bryant found the end zone three times for a Scorpions’ offense that churned 339 rushing yards and one score through the air.
“Jayhlen is a player,” said Brock. “You know he’s a state track champion and I continue to tell him if he plays physical and runs the ball hard nobody can stop him. He’s a player. During the pregame I was looking around and really getting the feel for what it was like when I went here and seeing some of the same faces, but I’m a Scorpion now and real proud of the way our guys played tonight.”
While both teams turned the ball over twice in the opening 24 minutes, it was the North Brunswick defense that stepped up early in the game. The Scorpions allowed just two points on a safety as a bad snap during a punt situation backed up in their own end zone and gave South Brunswick its only points of the first half. North Brunswick held the Cougars at bay on three possessions that began inside Scorpion territory, while JC Smith and Tyrone Watson each picked up a fumble recovery.
North Brunswick also kept standout Josh Carter in check, holding the sophomore running back to just 54 yards on the ground.
“We’ve made some changes on the defensive side of the ball from the jamboree until now and our line did a great job controlling the line of scrimmage tonight,” Brock added. “We’re just trying to get this thing rolling and want to win every game. South Brunswick or not, it was cool to stand up looking at it in a different way, but it’s sure a whole lot better leaving here with a win.”
The Scorpions used a nine play, 80-yard drive on its second possession to get on the board. After eight straight runs to get the ball inside the Cougars 10-yard line, Bryant hit Latrell Hill on a wide receiver screen and the six-foot, three-inch senior scampered in from eight yards out.
After a turnover on downs with 7:06 to go in the first half, North Brunswick took over on its own 32-yard line and it was all Washington on the second scoring drive. The speedster took the opening handoff 29 yards into South Brunswick territory and scored three plays later to make it 15-0. Washington accounted for 46 of the 68 yards on the possession and finished with over 200 all-purpose yards, including an 85 yard kickoff return later in the game.
The Cougars received the opening kick to start the third quarter, but went three and out as Bryant capped a 78-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run to make it 23-2 before South Brunswick got the offense moving.
“South Brunswick is getting there,” said Brock. “Coach Finn and his staff have done a great job. They’re big up front and a couple of breaks in their favor could have made this game a lot different.”
Robert Watkins hit Raymond Bowens on a 52-yard touchdown reception with 5:36 to go in the third quarter to pull the Cougars within striking distance. Bowens finished with three catches for 104 yards and one score, but Washington took the ensuing kickoff into the end zone before Watkins added a 16-yard touchdown run late in the frame.
Watkins finished his night completing 6-of-16 pass attempts, while Bryant went 5-for-8 in the air for 83 yards to lead the North Brunswick attack. Scorpions’ wide out Shaquan Graham also finished with three receptions for 59 yards.
After South Brunswick made it a two-score game with 1:07 to go in the third, Bryant finished the scoring with an 11 yard touchdown run, his third of the night, to put the game out of reach early in the final period.
“If we don’t turn the ball over, just like against Marlboro County, we have a comfortable lead at halftime,” Brock said. “We have to do a better job taking care of the ball. That’s some issues we have. We have some injuries right now and hope to get a few players back before conference play. Our entire coaching staff did a great job tonight and the players made it work.”
North Brunswick moved to 2-2 in non-conference play heading into a home contest against West Brunswick. The Cougars fell to 2-3 heading into a two-game road swing beginning with a trip to Fairmont on Friday, September 18.
N. Brunswick- Tiger Bryant, eight yard pass to Latrell Hill, (PAT, Mike Rivers) 3:26
N. Brunswick- Jayhlen Washington, 8 yard run, (2-point conversion) 5:10
S. Brunswick- safety
N. Brunswick- Tiger Bryant, one yard run, (2-point conversion) 7:05
S. Brunswick- Robert Watkins, 52 yard pass to Raymond Bowens, (PAT, Hunter Hemphill) 5:36
N. Brunswick- Jayhlen Washington, 85 yard kick return, (PAT, Rivers) 5:20
S. Brunswick- Robert Watkins, 16 yard run, (PAT, Hemphill) 1:07
Brunswick- Tiger Bryant, 11 yard run, (PAT, Rivers) 11:50