Matawan runs past Barnegat to clinch first division title since 2010
ABERDEEN -- One of the Shore Conference's most successful football programs finally has another championship to add to its collection.
Sophomore running back Colin Palumbo ran for 155 yards and three touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Am'ir Martinez ran for 90 yards and a touchdown as Matawan rolled to a 27-12 victory over Barnegat to clinch the Liberty Division title on Friday night at Barry Rizzo Stadium.
The division title is the first for Matawan since going 11-1 and winning the Class A Central division title in 2010. Matawan was 12th in the South Group 3 United Power Rankings heading into the game and the victory likely locked up a playoff spot, which will be the Huskies' first playoff appearance since 2015. The top 16 teams in each super section qualify for the NJSIAA playoffs.
Palumbo had touchdown runs of 37, 25, and 27 yards and Martinez scored on a 7-yard run. Matawan led 7-0 at halftime before scoring twice in the third quarter and again in the fourth quarter. Senior linebacker Joe Bodin had two tackles for loss, junior defensive back Cameron Cooper had a sack, and Palumbo recovered a fumble to help lead the defensive effort.
A 37-yard touchdown run by Palumbo started the scoring in the second quarter and Matawan took a 7-0 lead into halftime. The Huskies opened the third quarter with a scoring drive and pushed their lead to 14-0 on Martinez's touchdown run. Following Palumbo's fumble recovery, the lead grew to 21-0 he broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run.
Barnegat got on the board when Alan Nelson recovered a fumble on a backward pass by Matawan and senior running back JoJo Bivins scored on a 19-yard run on the next play. Later in the second half, Bivins ripped off a 62-yard touchdown run to pull Barnegat to within 21-12, but Matawan tacked on another touchdown on Palumbo's 27-yard run to put the game away.
Bivins ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns to lead Barnegat.
Scroll down for the box score and video highlights
Matawan 27, Barnegat 12
Barnegat (3-5, 3-2)
Matawan (6-2, 5-0)
M — Colin Palumbo 37-yard run (Jake Zibbell kick)
M — Am’ir Martinez 7-yard run (Jake Zibbell kick)
M — Colin Palumbo 25-yard run (Jake Zibbell kick)
B — JoJo Bivins 19-yard run (kick blocked)
B — JoJo Bivins 62-yard run (kick failed)
M — Colin Palumbo 27-yard run (kick blocked)
RUSHING — B: JoJo Bivins 17-149, Johnnel Johnson 1-(-3), Mattheu Worthy 3-(-9); M: Colin Palumbo 24-155, Am’ir Martinez 17-90, Welman Crooms 5-20, Cameron Cooper 4-16.
PASSING — B: Mattheu Worthy 2-5-0 11, Jake Harrashinski 4-5-0 19, Stephen Griffin 1-1-0 (-3); M: Am’ir Martinez 5-7-0 36.
RECEIVING — B: JoJo Bivins 2-9, Johnnel Johnson 1-8, Stephen Griffin 1-13, Cole Toddings 2-0, Mattheu Worthy 1-(-3).