It could have been an early night for the third-seeded North Brunswick Raiders.
But head coach Mike Cipot had talked to his team during the week about playing from behind. Certainly not hoping for it, but preparing for that eventuality with a group of players who – if they’ve ever been in the playoffs at all – maybe saw time as sophomores in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out the NJSIAA playoffs last season.
Whatever the discussion, it paid off. After two touchdown connections from Frankie Garbolino to Marquis Perry in the first quarter to erase a 14-0 deficit, the Raiders survived a back-and-fourth final quarter to beat 6th-seed Eastern at home 39-30 Friday night in the Central Group 5 first round.
Perry and Garbolino also each had a touchdown run, while Brandon Harrison had a 20-yard pick six for a score.
North Brunswick next will travel to second-seed Cherokee in Marlton for a second-round game. They beat 7-seed Egg Harbor Township Friday night 38-37.
Click below to hear North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot talk about the Raiders’ come-from-behind victory over Eastern: