A Turkey Day Break

Two weeks ago, 27 shore conference schools started the run towards a state championship, today there are 9 who will get that chance to complete that 3 game run and be crowned champions.

4 teams will have a full 2 weeks to prepare for that game which will take place at various facilities around the state. The other 5 will have to worry about another game on Thanksgiving morning, as they complete their regular season. 2 of those games have big implications as Middletown South will host Middletown North for the A-North title and Red Bank will host Long Branch with the B-North title on the line. Perhaps the best game of the short 8 game Turkey Day schedule will be the Shore (10-0) at Rumson (9-1) game, with both teams playing for state championships 9 days later. Both are ranked in the top 10, and both are coming off state championships last year. Shore has won 18 games in a row, the longest streak in the shore, and that includes a 10-0 win over Rumson last year. Raritan (5-5), with their big upset of Delaware Valley in CJ Group 2 semis play at Holmdel (1-8). Toms River South (4-5) will play Lakewood for the 96th time (South leads the longest running series 54-37-4), while Neptune and Asbury Park play for the 80th time. TRS, Lakewood and Asbury Park all lost in the first round of the state tournament this year.

Our annual Thanksgiving Day game of the week will be Manasquan at Wall at 11am. Join us on News Talk Radio WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310 if you can't make it to the game.

Ocean (8-2), coming off a tough 21-14 loss to Red Bank in the semi-finals of CJ Group 3, will travel to Monmouth Regional (5-4) for their game which completes the season for both schools. The Turkey Day feast actually begins on Wednesday night as Pinelands (2-7) travels to Barnegat (1-7).

As stated up top, the other 4 teams (Jackson, Brick Memorial, Toms River North and St. John Vianney will all continue with their preparation for championship games on December 5th. Tough break for Shore Conference fans, as all 9 teams will play on Saturday at Kean University, Rutgers University, Rowan University and Met Life Stadium. I, among others, were hoping for a Friday or Sunday game so that we could see some of the other teams play. Right now our broadcast schedule is up in the air, but more to follow next week - more on all the championship games in next week's blog. Let's take a quick look at how the 9 got to the championships:

The best game of the week, was our Jersey Mike's Game of the Week - Red Bank (3 seed) at Ocean (2 seed). The Bucs won it 21-14, as they continue a magical run to their first championship since 1975. Sadiq Palmer scored 3 TDs to lead RBR to the win. Red Bank (10-0) came back twice to win it. Palmer, on his way to Syracuse University, scored 2 on the ground and 1 via a Jack Navitsky 33 TD pass. It was the second time the Bucs beat the Big Red this year - they had won 16-6 earlier in the year. In defeat, QB Kenny Pickett (20-29-268 yards) and wide receiver Joey Alderelli (10-180 yds) played great for Ocean. RBR did pick off Pickett 3 times on Friday night - the last was a Jalen Willis interception, which turned the game. Red Bank will meet Rumson in the finals at Rutgers. Rumson (9-1) beat Matawan 24-13 as QB Mike O'Connor and RB Matt Vecchiarelli starred for the Bulldogs. LB Mike Ruane continues to lead a stingy defense.

Middletown South (10-0 and #1 in state) beat Middletown North (7-3) 41-14. RB Cole Rogers (210 yds and 4 TDs) was the man for the Eagles in a game played in front of 4500 people. As a matter of fact, all games involving the top teams were played to capacity crowds around the shore. Fans love high school football. Of course these 2 schools get to do it again on Thursday. This one is for the A-North title. Middletown South will play defending champ Phillipsburg at Met Life Stadium on Dec 5th.

Brick Memorial (9-2) will play Jackson (7-4) in an all A-South matchup. BM beat Jackson 28-7 in the regular season. On Saturday, Jackson looked like a team on a mission as they destroyed Steinert 55-10. After a mid-season slump the Jags seem to have it back together again. The Stangs won 27-7 over Allentown to get to the finals. Jackson and BM have played twice in the playoffs with each team winning once.

TR North (10-1) won 14-0 over #1 seed Lenape to advance to another final. They dominated this game from start to finish, rolling up 371 yards while holding Lanape to just 98 yards and 3 first downs. Tough game for Mariners in the finals, as they play Williamstown (9-2) who beat a pretty good Cherokee team. The 2 will play at Rowan University on the 5th.

Shore (10-0) easily beat Florence 42-0. They must focus on Rumson on Turkey Day before gearing it up to play high scoring Palmyra in CJ 1 final.

SJV (11-0) won the marque game vs RBC 49-6. QB Anthony Brown was brilliant, as usual, leading the Lancers to 486 yards of offense. He threw 2 TDs and ran for another in the romp. The Lancer defense picked off QB Eddie Hahn 4 times. RBC finishes 8-3.

The major upset of the weekend came with Raritan who beat Del Val 42-13. Raritan, the #6 seed, used RB Derek Ernst for 217 yards rushing and 4 TDs. The Rockets (5-5) get unbeaten Lincoln on the 5th. They will play Holmdel on Turkey Day to tune up for the final.

It actually could have been a banner day for the shore as Manalapan lost on the last play of the game to top seed South Brunswick and Keyport blew a big lead and lost 35-34 to Palmyra.

Overall the A-South conference and the A-Central conference have 3 teams each in the finals, while B-North, A-North and B-Central have 1 each.

The Thursday night football show is on Wednesday night this week, due to Thanksgiving. We'll be on from 7-8pm and have Wall coach Dan Curcione in house at Water Street Grill in Toms River. We will broadcast the Wall/Manasquan game on Thursday morning at Wall at 11am.