Scanning The High School Football Scene: Championship Weekend
Shore Saturday is what it should be called, because 10 teams will play for a chance at a State Championship. I know it’s only a sectional title, but try telling that to any of the over 500 Shore kids playing, and you’ll get a pretty good argument. The jackets will read Football State Champions – 2016, the rings will read State Champs, and the stories at the 10, 20 or 50th reunion will flow like they won the “Super Bowl”. Any way you look at it, it’s the pinnacle of high school football in New Jersey, so enjoy them.
There were games played last weekend, 8 to be exact. Of the 8, six were played on Turkey Day, but more and more teams are getting away from those games. Lakewood (7-3) came back against Toms River South (2-8) and won the longest continuous football rivalry game in the Shore Conference (97 games) by a 28-24 final. Zyheir Jones (4 TDs) completed his career in style, scoring the final TD with 5.8 seconds left and completing the comeback to win it.
Wall (9-2) tuned up for their championship game (at Rowan University/11am Sat.) with a very impressive 21-3 victory over Manasquan (9-2). Sean Larkin (177 TDs./3TDs) led the Knights, who with the win prevented Squan from getting a piece of the B-North title, with Middletown South losing to Middletown North. Middletown South, despite losing, wins the title outright. Manasquan will also get to play again, in the CJ Group 2 final at Kean University on Saturday. Larkin, by the way, will join us live at the River Rock in Brick, on this weeks’ Coaches Corner beginning at 7PM. Also joining us will be the Knights leader on defense, Kyle Dallicardillo. The Knights held the power running Warriors to 90 yds of offense.
It was an Impressive win by Middletown North (9-2) over Middletown South (7-4) with a 24-6 final. QB Donald Glenn threw for 326 yards and 3 TDs to lead the Lions. Glenn will also be our guest this week on Thursday Night at 7PM. The Lions play on and look for a championship against Sayreville. They are hungry, but so is Sayreville, who just 2 years ago had their season suspended in week 3, by a hazing incident. 2 years later, they are in a final and it should be a great game.
Rumson (8-3) was outplayed by Shore (7-4) on Wednesday Night and lost 14-7. Rumson will play again on Saturday in CJ Group 3 at Rutgers University against South Plainfield at 7PM. Shore, playing many underclassmen, will make some noise next year. Rumson looks for their 4th State title in a row, tying only Middletown South and Manasquan, who have done that.
Also winning were Neptune over finals-bound Asbury Park (21-20). Pinelands led most of the way, but Barnegat came back and won 29-28. Raritan beat Holmdel 44-14 and Long Branch beat Red Bank 27-0 to complete the Turkey Day feast.
You will get plenty of pre-game coverage this week of the 9 championship games. The Shore Sports Network will cover 2 games live at Rowan University: Wall/Delsea at 11AM and Toms River North/Millville at 6PM. North (11-0) looks to complete a record breaking year with their 7th championship. North is a perfect 6 for 6 in championship games including last year, and look for them to make it 7 for 7. On turf and a nice night forecast is bad news for Millville. Wall hasn’t won since 2002 and face a Delsea team looking for their 4th title in a row. In order for Wall to win, they must run the football. Delsea knows that, so expect this one to be won in the pits.
Mater Dei Prep (11-0) looks to complete a perfect season at Kean University at 1PM. They face Holy Spirit, who they should handle convincingly. If and when they do,
it will be their first championship, ever. It’s quite a story being written in Middletown, and it’s only the beginning.
Manalapan (11-0) looks to complete a perfect year and win their second championship ever. They are 1-5 in title games, but are favored here against a team they have already beaten this year: Piscataway. The Braves can do it on the ground (Naim Mayfield), and in the air (Luke Corcione), and the scary part is both are juniors and will return next year.
Brick (8-3) is an intriguing team. They are not a flashy, up and down team, but they play great defense, which keeps them in all games. They get an Allentown team (9-2) that has never won a State title, while Brick has won 7 of them. The Redbirds offense is strong. They have scored 143 points in their last 3 games, and average over 40 a game. Lenny Zdanowicz has done a fantastic job in his 2 years: 8-2 last year and 8-3 so far this year. Enough said, I’ll take experience over the inexperienced team. If Brick wins a close one at Rutgers, the bus ride home will be epic and they will celebrate title # 8 with Warren Wolf Sr in attendance. I have a feeling WW addresses the team prior to the 4PM start.
We are guaranteed 1 championship as Keyport (10-1) plays Asbury Park (7-4) in the CJ Group 1 championship at Kean at 4PM on Saturday. This is a rematch of a week 2 game when Keyport beat AP 14-7. Throw that one out, as AP has speed to burn and look for their 7th title, while Keyport looks for their 7th. Not bad for 2 small schools. Throw in Shore’s 7 championships and you can see we have dominated this bracket with 19 championships.
Well there you have it, a full weekend of championship football and we at the Shore Sports Network will cover every game. So if you can’t attend a site, check our website or listen to us live and we’ll have updates and final scores from every game until 8PM Saturday night, live on the air on 1160 & 1310 AM. After that, follow us on Twitter and on our site.
Thursday night on Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner at the River Rock Restaurant & Marina Bar, we will have Sean Larkin and Kyle Dallicardillo from Wall, HC Ed Gurrieri of Manalapan and Middletown North assistant coach and Defensive Coordinator Geoff Massimini, along with star QB Donald Glenn. Join us 7-8PM at River Rock in Brick.
Listen as we broadcast live from Rowan University on Saturday for a Wall/Delsea SJ group 3 game at 11AM and also a S J group 5 game between TR North/Millville at 6PM. Listen at 1160 or 1310AM.