EDISON. Edison High School football coach Matt Fulham had no doubt that his 2022 team had what it took to become champions.

He knew it before his 2022-23 senior class even entered high school when he saw them play more than four years ago at the youth level for Pop Warner’s Edison Jets.

The amount of talent Fulham has seen in this group and other classes to follow in the coming years has left him feeling excited about what can be in store for the program for the 2022 season.

“I was really excited about the experience we had (the 2022 season),” Fulham said. “We had a good team the last three years. I felt like we had a quality team that just kept getting better and better.”

Fulham’s visions of success in 2022 were accurate. Led by senior defensive end Matt Yask, senior wide receiver Malcolm Stansbury and senior defensive lineman Adekunle Shittu, the Eagles had a fall to remember, winning the program’s first sectional championship in more than 30 years.

“It’s a great feeling to be section champions,” Fulham said. “Our children deserve it. Our coaches deserve it. The (Edison) community deserves it. It was truly an unforgettable season.”

On Nov. 11, Edison won the Central Jersey NJSIAA Group V Championship with a 28-14 win over Lenape High School to bring home the program’s first title since 1991.

It wasn’t an easy road to a sectional championship for the Eagles. Edison struggled early in the season with losses to North Brunswick and Sayreville, dropping it to 2-2 to start the season.

The Eagles battled back to win their next four contests before losing to St. Thomas Aquinas in the regular season finale.

At 6-3 heading into the regular season, the Eagles earned the No. 6 seed in the sectional tournament, with a tough first-round matchup right away against defending state champion Hillsboro.

Before the play-offs began, Fulham told their squad they were there. They just needed to “finish” against the good teams they were going to face in the playoffs.

The Eagles did finish what Fulham aptly said during the sectional tournament, starting with a 10-7 win over Hillsborough in the first round of the tournament.

North Brunswick was next for the Eagles in the semifinals, where some late-game magic advanced Edison to the sectional final.

With less than four minutes to play, Edison stunned North Brunswick, recovering two onside kicks and scoring 16 unanswered points in the final three minutes of regulation for a 33-31 win.

Yasko orchestrated Edison’s comeback, scoring two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground, to cut North Brunswick’s lead to 31-30 with 39 seconds left.

Edison went for the two-point conversion after Jasko’s second touchdown to try and take the lead. It failed, forcing the Eagles to commit an onside kick to get the ball back for a chance to score and win the game.

Recovering two onside kicks seemed unlikely, but not for the Eagles. They got the ball back with 37 seconds left at the North Brunswick 44-yard line on a punt by junior Amer Gibbs.

Jasko then drove the Eagles to the North Brunswick 13-yard line to set up senior Selbin Sabio for the game-winning 30-yard field goal, which the senior connected on to send Edison to the sectional final.

The momentum the Eagles gained from their win over North Brunswick carried over into the sectional final against Lenape, where Edison beat the top-seeded Indians to become the sectional champion.

“It’s been a crazy ride while it’s been going on,” Jasko said. β€œWe won three really tough games against three really good teams. It was a lot of fun.”

Jasko had a stellar sectional tournament under center for the Eagles, rushing for 795 yards and seven touchdowns in three games.

The senior signal-caller finished the 2022 season with 1,900 yards passing, 583 rushing yards and 27 total touchdowns.

“I had a pretty good senior season,” Jasko said. β€œIt was everything I hoped for. I am happy with what we have achieved. I’m happy with how I played this year.”

Sophomore Nyekir Ito led the team in rushing with 1,266 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Stansbury and senior Michael Strachan were Yasko’s top two targets in the passing game at wide receiver.

Stansbury had 51 receptions for 652 yards and four touchdowns. This season, Strachan caught a team-high six touchdown passes and finished with 29 catches for 388 yards.

Defensively, Sabio led the Eagles in total tackles with 148. Both Sabio and Shitu recorded a team-high five sacks on the season.

Edison’s Cinderella postseason streak came to an end in the NJSIAA Group V semifinals against undefeated Toms River North on Nov. 19 at Cherokee High School in Marlton.

Edison couldn’t stop Toms River North junior quarterback Micah Ford, who rushed for 285 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Mariners to a 42-14 victory.

Jasko caught both of Edison’s touchdowns in the loss to Toms River North. The senior connected with Strachan for the team’s first touchdown in the third quarter on a 32-yard pass.

His second touchdown came in the fourth when a quarterback scampered for one yard.

The 2022 campaign ended in defeat, but the Eagles were by no means leaving the field during the semi-finals feeling frustrated with what they had achieved this season.

“We had a great season,” Jasko said. β€œIt was a great experience (winning the sectional championship) with my friends and teammates that I grew up with. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

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