NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—On a chilly and windy Friday night, running the football appeared to be the best way to move the chains.
The New Brunswick Zebras (3-5) football team worked their offensive line to fight through adversity and come out with a much-needed win against the Howell Rebels (4-4), after trailing 20-19 in the third quarter.
The win puts the Zebras in playoff contention, though they still need the Edison Eagles to lose to the Piscataway Chiefs this week. Edison will make the playoffs if they beat Piscataway.
Both New Brunswick and Howell had limited success through the air due to the weather circumstances, leaving it to the run game in order to move the chains.
Dylan Johnson would turn in an outstanding performance, breaking free for long touchdowns of 75,85 and 77 yards, all scored in the first.
The agile running back was not easy to get a hold of, and once in open space no one came close to catching him.
He finished with 291 rushing yards on 20 carries for three touchdowns.
"I mean, the line did what they had to do, so I just had to execute," said Johnson. "I mean, we haven't been executing that well lately and I know this game mattered like any other game. This was like a playoff game for us, we had to push through and fight to come out with this win."
"I did it for my grandmother, definitely. She had passed away from cancer around this time last year so I just had to play for her."
The offensive line consists of center Andy Suarez, guards Roman Aparicio and Keshon Davila, tackles Arturo Omedo and Ramiro Osuna, along with tight end Curtis Revan.
The defense played a key in the win as well, making critical stops throughout the night whenever the Rebels neared the end zone.
Kadas Reams jumped a route to intercept Edwin Morales III, while German Pimentel and Curtis Revan had 12 and ten tackles respectively.
Pimentel and Revan chipped on offense as well, receiving 70 and 40 yards respectively.
The Zebras went into halftime up 19-0 with their solid performance; however, Howell would score three unanswered touchdowns and take the lead 20-19 midway through third quarter.
Quarterback Morales III connect with Nasiem Brantley for touchdown passes of 23 and 40 yards.
Morales III finished 11-of-25 with 226 yards passing and one interception.
Running back Nick Chambers was hard to contain, rushing 123 yards and contributing a 24-yard touchdown.
The Rebels caught the Zebras off guard by recovering an onside kick after their first touchdown and utilizing the air attack.
"At first we came out flat in the second half or whatever, but we had to pick it up, you know fight through adversity, you know and get back on track...we got to do a better job next week," said Seawright-Jeffery.
After the Zebras weathered the storm, they gathered themselves.
Seawright-Jeffery looked like a true captain on the field on Friday night, the quarterback knew when to run the ball for extra yards, when to throw it away, and when to pass it through the air.
The quarterback threw no interceptions on the windy night.
Reams caught four passes for 45 yards receiving, including a 10-yard touchdown pass he hauled in after it was tipped by a Rebel defender.
Seawright-Jeffery's decision making ability lead the Zebras in the second half, knowing when to keep the ball and run, and when to air it out. The use of the clock and consistency of first downs kept the Rebels off the scoreboard in the fourth quarter.
He would later get behind his offensive line to plunge into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown late in the game. He finished 12-of-24 for 175 yards passing and 39 yards rushing.
"I just want to thank the line. The line really held it down for us tonight. They were the reason we came up with the win," said Johnson.
The Zebras will finish their regular season on the road against the East Brunswick Bears (1-6) on Friday, November 4 at 7 p.m.