Highlanders do it with defense: Governor Livingston stymies South Plainfield, 25-6

Governor Livingston QB Lucciano Santamaria converts on fourth down to set up a Highlander touchdown in the first half of their game at South Plainfield’s Frank Jost Field on September 28, 2023. (Photo: Marcus Borden)

Governor Livingston entered Week 5 play Thursday night in 16th place in the North Group 3 playoff chase, despite being 4-1.

All they can do is win games at this point, and so far, just about all they have been doing is winning games.

The Highlanders made it their fifth in a row with a 25-6 win at South Plainfield’s Frank Jost Field Thursday night, pulling away in the second half and blanking the Tigers after halftime.

Quarterback Ryan Balent found Patrick Smith four minutes into the game on a 15-yard touchdown pass, and after a failed two-point pass, they led 6-0.

That was all they would muster the rest of the game. GL scored 25 unanswered, starting with the equalizer, a one-yard run by Jack Dally after quarterback Lucciano Santamaria – a fellow junior – set him up with a huge run on fourth down to get near the goal line. The extra point made it 7-6 with 2:39 to go in the quarter.

After a scoreless second, Governor Livingston ratcheted up the defense, and got some insurance. A Mason Barker field goal made it 10-6. A touchdown pass to Matthew Shaffer made it 17-6. A safety made it 19-6, and Owen Chait capped it off with one last touchdown.

The win gives the Highlanders their best start since 2006, when they started 8-1, but dropped their final two games, losing to Raritan in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals. It’s also their first five-game win streak since then, a year they started 1-1 but won their next seven games through the first round of the playoffs.

South Plainfield fell to 3-3.

Click below for postgame reaction with Marcus Borden from Frank Jost Field, presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

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