Tag: Mike Cipot

North Brunswick still has plenty of talent in search for elusive title

The Raiders have had household names and role players since Mike Cipot took over as head coach in 2017. They have never had a losing season. But this is the year they hope they can add one more thing to the list of successes North Brunswick football has had for the past six years: a championship.

Sure, some significant pieces may be gone, like three-year starting quarterback Frankie Garbolino, defensive back Zamir Dahud and speedster receiver Alani Ajigbotosho.

But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. There’s another Garbolino – Jack – who remains. The junior linebacker/wide receiver is back, along with transfer Samaad Hicks who comes in from neighboring New Brunswick.

Their biggest challenge in the division may be Sayreville, which by all accounts this preseason has looked very good, followed by Edison, which is in a similar situation to North Brunswick, losing a veteran QB and some other key skill players.

But the constant in North Brunswick is head coach Mike Cipot, who seemingly continues to churn out solid seasons, despite question marks after graduation losses.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Raiders’ head coach Mike Cipot, along with players Jack Garbolino, Samaad Hicks, and Payton Wieczerzak:

North Brunswick tops Hunterdon Central in a shootout, will face another Big Central team in CJ5 semis

If North Brunswick is going to get another crack at that elusive championship for its most successful head coach ever, the road will go through the Big Central.

The 2nd-seeded Raiders will face Edison – which they already beat this year – in the Central Jersey Group 5 semifinals next week after beating 7-seed Hunterdon Central 45-31 Friday night in the playoffs’ opening round. The 6th-seeded Eagles knocked off defending CJ5 champion and 3rd-seed Hillsborough on the road Friday night in another first-round game, 10-7.

A win puts North Brunswick in the title game for the second year in a row, and the third time in five playoff seasons. (There were no playoffs in 2020.)

The Red Devils’ fell to 4-6 with the loss, which came in their first playoff appearance since 2016, and first under head coach Casey Ransone.

North Brunswick – which suffered its first loss of the season last week to Cranford – was leading by just a touchdown with a few minutes to go when Willie Wilson sealed the deal with a pick-six to put the Raiders up two scores in a game that saw see-saws in momentum and went back and forth all night.

Next week’s game between the Raiders (8-1) and Eagles (7-3) will be in North Brunswick, with kickoff set for 7:00 pm.

Click below for postgame reaction from North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot:

No. 1 North Brunswick pulls one out in a wacky game at No. 9 Edison

North Brunswick Mike Cipot has said over the last several years – in which all three meetings with Edison have been on the road – that it’s a game like no other, a rivalry like Red Sox-Yankees, in his eyes.

Wild things happen, and it was the same Friday night.

With two of their biggest players out due to injury – quarterback Matt Yascko and wide receiver/defensive back Malcolm Stansbury – Edison gave it all they had. But it was North Brunswick that came out with a 13-10 victory on the Boulevard of the Eagles, to improve to 2-0.

It was Edison’s first loss of the year, as the Eagles drop to 2-1.

Senior quarterback Frankie Garbolino threw two TD passes in the game, including one to his younger brother, Jack. But it was another catch Jack Garbolino had that may have been even more critical – a late-game interception to help stave off Edison and seal the win.

Click below for postgame reaction from North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot and linebacker/runningback Tamir Jenkins:

Cipot will try to guide North Brunswick through lofty expectations for 2022

The Raiders’ last truly successful season had been six years prior, going 8-3 in 2010. After a 5-5 season in 2011, North Brunswick embarked an a rough stretch: five seasons with a combined record of 8-42, as Mike Cipot took over as the new head coach at his alma mater.

The 2017 season, his first, was a nice start at 6-4, but in 2018 the quick turnaround was nearly complete. The Raiders made it to the Central Jersey Group 5 final, losing 6-0 in an all-time classic title game at Sayreville, the first year title games moved back to the home fields of higher seeds.

The Cipot tenure has been quite the success, as the Raiders reached another title game last fall, falling to Hillsborough in the South 5 sectional final.

So while his teams have gone 40-13 in his four seasons with four title game berths in five years, there’s still some unfinished business lingering. With veteran QB Frankie Garbolino returning, Zahmir Dahwud looking to move into one of the top receiver roles, and Jared Tynes disrupting opposing QBs, the pieces are in place for 2022.

North Brunswick players prep for the 2022 season in mid-August. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

And while Sayreville was ranked No. 1 in the Central Jersey Sports Radio preseason top ten, the Raiders earned the top spot in CJSR’s Big Central Media Poll. They’ll meet September 23rd in North Brunswick, by the way, in a critical National Silver Division game. Should make for a fun season.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick football coach Mike Cipot:

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 13: The Championship Weekend 2021

It’s time to crown some champions!

On Episode 13 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland, we’ve got complete previews of the three conference teams vying for championships this weekend.

Mike Pavlichko is joined by Dom Savino for quick look back at the semifinals, then we go through both games with the players and coaches involved.

First, it’s a look at our Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Autoland, as the North 2, Group 3 title game features top-seed and undefeated Cranford (10-0) taking on Sparta (8-3). Mike Pavlichko talks with Cranford head coach Erik Rosnemeier and runningback Colin Murray, as well as Sparta head coach Frank Marchiano.

Then, Mike takes a look at the Central Jersey Group 5 title tilt, featuring top-seed and undefeated Hillsborough (11-0) entertaining third-seed North Brunswick (8-3). Mike Pavlichko stopped by each team’s practice this week to catch up with Hillsborough head coach Kevin Carty, Jr., and defensive end/tight end Will Dixon, as well as North Brunswick head coach Miek Cipot and top runningback Marquis Perry.

Mike and Dom close it out with a closer analysis of both matchups.

Listen to Cranford take on Sparta in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland with an extended pregame starting at 6:30, followed by kickoff at 7 with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe, while Tim Catalfamo provides live updates from the Hillsborough-North Brunswick game. Click here to listen live, and for free.

Postgame reaction will follow from both contests later Friday night on cjsportsradio.com.

North Brunswick used Hillsborough loss as springboard into postseason; now they hope to turn the tables

After a 41-0 loss in Week 9 of the regular season, The North Brunswick Raiders got together, and talked about what needed to change.

Sure, they had wins against Old Bridge, Edison and St. Joseph-Metuchen. But they also had a 13-point loss to Sayreville, and were outscored in losses to Union and Hillsborough by a combined 83-0.

The up-and-down season, despite a 6-3 record and the third seed in Central Jersey Group 5, wasn’t enough.

Since that meeting three weeks ago, North Brunswick has won two straight against solid South Jersey competition in the playoffs, falling behind by two touchdowns in both games, but rallying back both times, against Eastern and Cherokee.

That has North Brunswick (8-3) feeling things will be different this Friday night at 7 pm, when they return to Noonan Field to face top-seed Hillsborough (11-1) in the Central Jersey Group 5 title game.

The Raiders (of Middlesex County) are seeking their first state title ever; they’re 0-2 in the title game all-time, having lost to South River in the 1979 Central Jersey Group 2 final, then to Sayreville in the 2018 Central Jersey Group 5 championship game.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot and runningback/safety Marquis Perry before practice on this week:

Marquis Perry

Mike Cipot

Just like they drew it up: Raiders rally from 14-0 deficit to advance to Central 5 championship game

North Brunswick will play in its second sectional title game in the three playoff years, after a rousing come-from-behind victory Friday night.

The third-seeded Raiders fell behind 14-0 at second-seed Cherokee in a Central Jersey Group 5 semifinal game, but came back to tie it at 14 heading into the locker room. Then, the Raiders scored the next two touchdowns to go ahead 26-14 and never looked back.

The win puts North Brunswick in the CJ5 title tilt next Friday night in Hillsborough, where they’ll face the top-seeded Raiders for the second time in just four weeks. Hillsborough blew past 5th-seed Williamstown Friday night 49-14, and beat North Brunswick back on October 29th at Noonan Field in a driving rain storm 41-0.

But head coach Mike Cipot thinks his team is not the same one that got shut out by the Raiders, in a game North Brunswick used as a jumping off point to get to where they are now.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot about his team’s comeback win over Cherokee, and their chances against Hillsborough:

North Brunswick rallies, then wins see-saw fourth quarter battles to survive and advance

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:

No. 5 North Brunswick visits Edison with two-game win streak, and steadily improving

With a 4-1 football team in tow, North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot believes his squad is in a good place.

They’ve been improving since a 35-22 Week Three loss to Sayreville, Cipot believes, and he’s happy with the improvement he’s seen in his team since then.

That was capped off with a win where the Raiders did all the right things last week in a 35-7 win over Piscataway.

LISTEN: Loaded North Brunswick aiming high behind Garbolino and Co.

So, North Brunswick looks to keep it going this week when they visit Edison’s Matthew Drwal Field for a big rivalry game against the Eagles in the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.


Kickoff is 7 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe on the call; click here to listen live.

North Brunswick won a dramatic game last year at Edison.


With the Eagles driving late in the game down 21-20, North Brunswick D-back Jelani Devonish-Wynter was playing tight coverage on receiver Malcolm Stansbury. The two went up for a 50-50 ball in the left corner of the end zone, and after they both went to the ground, Stansbury and came out with the ball.

MORE AUDIO: Devonish-Wynter’s end zone heroics help No. 9 North Brunswick edge out Edison

The play was ruled an interception, and North Brunswick hung on to win.

Click here to listen to North Brunswick coach Mike Cipot talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe about the Raiders’ season and Friday night’s rivalry game at Edison:

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 7: The Midway Point

Half the regular season is in the books in high school football across New Jersey, and we talk about it on Episode 7 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland!

Mike Pavlichko starts the show with a look at the playoff standings – interrupted by a mild rant on the state’s multiplier formula for power points.

Then, it’s a look at the Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week, South Brunswick’s Khiri Summers, who had three receiving touchdowns on offense, and two interceptions on defense, against Monroe.

Mike and Dom Savino wrap it up with a look at the Week 6 slate, including some playoff implications.