PARLIN, NJ—The Sayreville Bombers (3-0) are equipped with arguably the most balanced offensive attack in the Greater Middlesex Conference.
Against the New Brunswick Zebras (0-3), Sayreville scored a total of eight times, consisting of four rushing and three passing touchdowns, and one 83-yard kick-return.
After being asked whether he prefers to run or pass the ball, Sayreville head coach Chris Beagan responded, "Well, pick your poison."
"We feel like we have some explosive players and we have a quarterback that can deliver the ball and make those things possible. So we feel like we can feed on what a team's giving us and we can take it."
The Zebras started off strong and were right there with the Bombers at first, but they simply had too many weapons to attack with.
With two rushing touchdowns and one receiving, running back Michael Liberti pounded the football for 147 yards on 27 carries behind offensive linemen Michael Porcaro, Tristan Behr, Damian Lupo, Bryan Capric, Gus Delvalle and Christian Platon.
"You don't go anywhere without a front on either side of the ball in the trenches," said Beagan. "You have to be dominant in those positions."
Quarterback Jayson DeMild went 5/11 passing for 136 yards, with three of his completions being touchdown passes to different teammates on their first catch of the game.
A nifty quarterback, he also avoided about five sacks from New Brunswick defensive end German Pimentel.
"We have playmakers and we like to spread it around and get as many touches. That's balance for us if we can get touches to all our skill players, we feel like it's balanced," Coach Beagan said. "Whether it's passes or it happens to all be in the run game, either way it's the way we try to run our offense."
The Bombers started their opening drive on the Zebra 34-yard line after Liberti's solid 46-yard kick-return.
After picking up five free yards on the first play by using a clever hard count to draw the Zebras offside, the Bombers quickly struck first blood in six plays, finishing with a 13-yard touchdown pass from DeMild to 6'7'' receiver Jahsim Floyd, using 2:25 of clock.
This came after establishing the run game with Liberti, followed by a fourth and one conversion by fellow running back JaQuae Roberts.
Once the Zebras stopped the run, the Bombers went to the air, repeating this strategy like clockwork and prevailing throughout the night.
The Zebras answered on their opening drive with a ten-yard rush from running back Dylan Johnson. This completed a 65-yard drive with completions from quarterback Jah'Bree Seawright-Jeffery to Kyell Lewis and Curtis Revan.
On their second drive, the Bombers were forced to punt on a three and out after German Pimentel bolted off the edge to sack DeMild, an eight yard loss to force a fourth and fifteen.
On fourth down, the Bombers delivered a high, short, and ugly punt which happened to bounce off a Zebras defender running back to block.
The ball was recovered by Zuriel Wright, and the Bombers took advantage of the short 26-yard field. Liberti scored on a 14-yard pass, putting the Bombers up 14-7.
Seawright-Jeffery responded, going deep straight down the field looking for a wide open Pimentel, only to overthrow him by about a yard in a beautiful opportunity missed by the Zebras.
After a 35-yard field goal attempt from Jeffrey Garcia was unsuccessful, the Bombers connected with Floyd once again for a 57-yard slant.
Liberti then bounced left to the outside and untouched for another score, increasing the Bombers' lead to 21-7.
Floyd had 70 yards receiving on two catches and secured the lone sack on Jah'bree Jeffrey.
Seawright-Jeffery would respond by connecting with wide-receiver Kadas Reams, who broke a tackle and then hit the jets into the open field for the game's longest touchdown of 88 yards. Bombers 21-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Elijah Clark made a quick juke and then blew past everyone. Returning it to the house for another quick score, the Bombers were now ahead 27-14.
Forcing a three and out, the Bombers continued their attack by looking to the air on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Wille, converting on a third and nine. Bombers 33-14.
The Zebras faced another three and out, but Pimentel was able to recover a fumble on the punt return, forced by Lewis. The Zebras might not have had enough time to score, but they prevented Sayreville from extending their lead before the end of the half.
After halftime, the Zebras came out fired up.
Seawright-Jeffery connected with Zihar James for a 28-yard pass to convert on a third and eleven. After an 11-yard pass, Johnson cut a run to the left and sprinted for a 33-yard touchdown. Bombers 33-21.
Roberts would next plunge on a one yard run back into the end zone, putting the Bombers up by a score of 40-21.
New Brunswick would force Sayreville to punt on their next three drives, but also punted twice and an interception from Ciyro McMoore.
With the clock against them, Reams broke loose once again and juked a few defenders on his way before scoring a 36-yard touchdown, shortening the Bombers lead to 40-28.
He finished with 90 yards receiving and 59 yards rushing on four carries, continuing to step it up this season.
The game ended with a 42-yard score from Liberti and a 3-yard rush from Roberts, who finished with 36 yards on and two touchdowns on six carries. The final score was Bombers 54, Zebras 28.
Seawright-Jeffery finished with 197 yards passing on 11/21 attempts with an interception, despite being flushed out of the pocket on nearly every pass attempt.
Defensive End Bryce Christian was a large contributor in keeping the pressure on Seawright-Jeffery, as he fired hard off the ball each and every play. He could be found pursuing the ball and assisting on numerous tackles.
Pimentel, Revan, Dayvon Davis-Staten, and Jordan Harris (who had a sack) applied pressure inside and made DeMild work hard for his passes. The defense also exposed Sayreville's weakness when it came to punting.
Involving more receivers for the Zebras proved to make an impact. Kadas Reams and German Pimentel are the main targets, while Lewis had three catches, including a one-handed grab.
Zihar James impressed with a catch between two defenders, while Curtis Revan chipped in with another two catches of his own.
If the Zebras can keep defenses guessing like Sayreville did, it will be highly beneficial for them moving forward.
But ultimately, throughout the night, the Bombers constantly had great field position, executed on offense, and finished their drives.
The Zebras continued to run the ball against a 3-4 defense, using the small, speedy, and tough Johnson.
Still adjusting to the highly-competitive Red Division, the Zebras continue to shoot themselves in the foot with silly turnovers and penalties which be prevented. For the second week in a row, the Zebras lost the ball on a kick-return.
Teams in this division know what they are capable of and understand the potential threats they posses. If they continue to balance their offense, make big plays, and continue their bend don't break defense, they can be a dangerous team.
The Zebras return to action in a non-conference matchup September 30 at 7 p.m. on the road against Monroe.