BCG Game Preview—Union @ North Brunswick—October 15, 2021

No. 4 Farmers Visit No. 5 Raiders in BCC Division 5 Crossover Clash

NORTH BRUNSWICK, NJ—On Friday night, Big Central Gridiron will be heading down to Steve Libro Field on the campus of North Brunswick High School, where the fifth ranked Raiders in the latest BCG Top 10 will be hosting fourth ranked Union in a huge BCC Division 5 Crossover Clash.  Both teams come in with a loss with Union (5-1) losing to Millville (31-28) at the Battle at the Beach in Week 0, and North Brunswick (5-1) losing at home to Sayreville (35-22) in Week 3. 

Both programs have a lot of tremendous athletes with North Brunswick having the likes of Frankie Garbolino, Marquis Perry, Jared Tynes, Jayden Myers, Tamir Jenkins, Willie Wilson, and Brandon Harrison while Union counters with the likes of Davison Igbinosun, Jaden Stewart, Ashan Harris, Kendall Bournes, Louikenzy Jules, Matt Nazaire, and Omar Ibrahim.  Three of North Brunswick’s players:  Garbolino, Perry, and Harrison also play basketball while Garbolino plays baseball and Perry participates in Spring Track.

Coming into tonight’s game, Union has scored 199 total points, or a little more than 33 points per game while giving up 88 points, or just under 15 points per game.  Meanwhile, North Brunswick has scored 189 total points, or 31.5 points per game, while yielding 104 points, or an average of 17.3 points per contest.  Union leads Division 5A with a league record of 3-0 and is 5-0 in BCC play while North Brunswick is 2nd in Division 5D behind Sayreville at 3-1 in league and is 5-1 in conference.

North Brunswick has yet to play any school outside of Middlesex County this season while Union has already played St. Joseph’s in Week 1, and defeated the Falcons, 40-21 in Metuchen.  Both teams have one league game remaining with North Brunswick hosting Joes at Libro Field next Friday night while Union finishes out its Division 5A schedule by hosting Watchung Hills next week at Harry Cooke Jr. Memorial Field.  Each team is ranked high in the Big Central Conference Strength Index ratings with Union is 3rd at 82.19 while North Brunswick is 12th at 74.21.

Both teams are going to qualify for the playoffs in their respective super sections.  Currently, North Brunswick is seeded 6th with 16.67 power points, and an OSI of 56.53 for a UPR of 5.6.  Ironically, the Raiders are seeded behind Old Bridge, which is seeded 5th despite North Brunswick’s 34-27 victory over the Knights at Demarco Stadium on Lombardi Field in Week 2.  The Raiders are also seeded behind Hillsborough (4th seed), and those two teams are scheduled to play each other in Hillsborough on October 29th.

On the other hand, Union is presently seeded 2nd in North Group 5 super section behind East Orange Campus with 20.00 power points and an OSI of 59.4 for a UPR of 1.6.  If they and Bridgewater-Raritan (seeded 7th) hold their current seeds, they could play each other in the opening round of the playoffs, or perhaps the semifinal round depending how the super sections are seeded in North 1 and North 2.  The Farmers defeated Bridgewater-Raritan 49-21 in Union last week.

Prior to this game, these two schools have never played each other.  Keep in mind though that Union has always been a Group 4 or Group 5 school if you go back to the days of legendary head coach Lou Rettino.  North Brunswick is a relatively newer school that came into existence in the mid to late 1970s, and was Group 3 as recently as the early to mid 2000s.  The Raiders have played the likes of Cranford (lost 43-19 in 2020), Elizabeth (won 43-7 in 2020), Westfield (won 38-21 in 2019), Linden (won 15-13 in 2019) from Union County over the past two seasons, and has gone 3-1.

Leading the way for North Brunswick is Garbolino, a junior QB, who has completed 79 of 125 passes for almost 1,100 yards and 16 TDs while only throwing 3 interceptions.  Garbolino has also rushed 50 times for 211 yards, and another TD.  Garbolino is mostly known for his arm, but he can also beat you with his legs, and he is not afraid to take contact in order to get that first down, or score, like he proved against South Brunswick late last season.

Perry, a senior defensive back and tight end, who also performs the punting duties, leads the team in both total rushing and receiving.  So far this season, Perry has rushed 34 times for 305 yards and 4 TDs while also hauling in 31 receptions for 588 yards, and 9 TDs.  He is averaging 13.7 yards per touch this season.  Perry has also returned a kickoff for 70 yards and another TD to total 14 TDs.  Perry also has 21 total tackles on defense while also scoring a two point conversion.

Jared Tynes is 2nd in rushing on North Brunswick with 36 carries for 212 yards, and a TD while also catching 8 passes for 64 yards and another score.  In addition to scoring a two point conversion, Tynes ranks 3rd on the team in total tackles with 40 including 16 solos, 9.5 for loss, and half a sack.  Jayden Myers is 2nd on the team in receiving with 26 catches for 312 yards and 6 TDs while rushing 8 times for 57 yards and another score.  Amari Maclin leads the Raiders in total tackles with 55 including 18 solos, 5 for loss and one sack.

Harrison has 44 total tackles including 14 solos, 5 for loss, and a sack while Tamir Jenkins has 38 total tackles including 11 solos along with 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, one fumble returned for a TD, and an interception.  Denzel Bonsu does the placekicking chores for the Raiders in addition to helping out at running back and on defense at linebacker.  Bonsu has connected on 12 of 16 extra point attempts.  Perry is the all time leader in career receptions at North Brunswick while Garbolino leads the team in two point scores with 3.

Meanwhile is led by Igbinosun, who has done it all for the Farmers on both sides of the football as well as special teams.  Igbinosun has rushed 46 times for 501 yards and 6 TDs, caught 16 passes for 362 yards, and 4 TDs, made 49 total tackles including 28 solos along with a fumble recovery and two interceptions.  Igbinosun also has a punt return for a touchdown.

Senior QB Jaden Stewart directs the offense at QB.  So far this season, Stewart has completed, 43 of 62 passes for 881 yards and 8 TDs while throwing only one interception.  Stewart has also rushed 38 times for 333 yards, and 3 more scores.  Harris is also a big player in the Farmers rush game with 68 carries for 457 yards and 3 TDs while also receiving 3 passes for 94 yards and two more scores.  Jules ranks 2nd on the team in receiving with 14 receptions for 220 yards and a score.  Jules has also rushed 8 times for 42 yards and another TD.

Nazaire, who opened the season with an 85 yard kickoff return versus Millville in the Battle at the Beach on August 28th, just returned to action, and has 4 catches for 93 yards and a TD while Ibrahim has 6 receptions for 88 yards along with 24 total tackles.  Bournes, who scored a TD versus Millville, has rushed 15 times for 96 yards and 2 TDs.  Harris leads the team in tackles with 55 including 33 solos and 3 for loss.  Jules ranks 3rd in total tackles with 37 including 27 solos.

Wesley Ciceron leads the Farmers in sacks with 5 while compiling 24 total tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.  Senior Tyler Malik Ismail has 28 total tackles including 16 solos, and 5 for loss.  Stewart has the team’s only two point conversion while Ramsey Lafond has made 19 of 22 extra points this season to date.  This should be a real barnburner, and Union has already been involved in one like that this season versus Millville in Ocean City, which BCG believes has been the best game of the year to date.

Prediction:  Union wins 35-31.