We start Week 4 with what could be the game of the year to this date: Jackson Memorial visits Brick in a battle of unbeaten teams. Both teams enter 3-0 and the lead in Class A South will go to the winner. While there are other challengers (Brick Memorial and TR North) to that title, this one will go a long way in determining the winner. Jackson will visit North next week and entertain Brick Memorial a week later, so this (weeks 4, 5 & 6) is the meat of their schedule. They also have a huge game at Red Bank Catholic on Nov. 6th. This is without a doubt one of the toughest schedules of any team in the Shore. Brick has played great defense in their 3-0 start. They have out scored their 3 opponents 99-6 and have back to back shutouts going into this game. The defense will be tested by Jackson's big time offense. RBs Mike Gawlik and Vinny Lee lead an offense that has put up 124 points in their 3 wins. As I said in pre-season, if new junior QB Dan Barker plays to his ability and can direct the Jag offense half as well as graduated QB Joe DeMaio, the 2015 version could be better than 2014, a team that won a State Championship. Baker certainly has stepped up and played well, but he will be tested this week by Brick's very good defense. Looks like a great one on paper and we will be there to cover it live for you on News Talk Radio WOBM-AM 1160 and 1310, as it is our Game of the Week.
The Brick Memorial high powered offense has scored 100 points in their last 2 games and appear to be gaining more confidence as the season progresses. They shut out Lacey 48-0 on Saturday afternoon and next up is a road game at winless TR East (0-3).
Middletown South (3-0) continues to be our #1 team with another romp (49-14) over Marlboro. It seems like James McCarthy, Cole Rogers and Mike Mosquera take turns leading the Eagles on offense - there are many weapons on this team. Defensive coordinator Al Bigos job this week is to stop the air attack of the Corey Davies-led Freehold Twp. Patriots, who won their first game (21-14 over Howell) and seem to get better each week. Lots of "nickel " packages this week.
I'm very impressed with St. John Vianney (3-0) and their Boston College bound senior QB Anthony Brown. The Lancers won easily over Central (49-6) with Brown running and throwing for 5 TDs. He is outstanding and also has many weapons to get the ball to. Transfer RB Chris Chukwuneke has added a running game to the air attack of Brown. SJV line up with book-end 6'6" receivers left and right in Mike Stapert and Marcque Ellington and put Khalil Haskins in the slot which creates a nightmare for defenses. They also have junior Micah Clark (6'5"-260 lb.) up front, who is a man among boys - he already has 25 colleges after him. It'll be a big test this week as maybe the #1 offense meets perhaps the best defense in the shore when Rumson (2-0) comes calling. It'll be a very interesting game.
The civil war was played out Friday as TR South visited an angry TR North. It's hard to believe that these 2 schools have played 44 times. North had won 12 of the previous 13 games and you can now make it 13 of 14, as North put up 55 points and defeated the Indians 55-20, but South still leads the rivalry 24-19-1. It was a nice rebound game for the Mariners after the 52-20 loss to Brick Memorial last week. North now has 2 weeks to get ready for Jackson, but first must get by a winless Marlboro team this week. The Indians (2-1) must protect the ball a little better as turnovers have cost them this year. They come back with Lacey (0-3).
Shore (3-0) continues to roll through their schedule led by RB Doug Goldsmith and a stingy defense (16 pts allowed). Maybe Mater Dei, Point Beach or Asbury Park challenge the Blue Devils down the line, but I don't see it, and it looks like another possible Central Group 1 championship - they have won 6 of them already.
Manalapan (3-0) has developed a 3 headed running game in Marcus Salias, Naim Mayfield and Chris Maksimik. After a little scare last week, they won 47-27 this week over a pretty good Sayreville team. The Braves have Mid South and RBC on schedule later in the season, which will define their season.
It's been 9 years since Red Bank (3-0) started the season with 3 wins. They have done it with an excellent defense and an opportunistic offense. This week they held a powerful Ocean team to 6 points while shutting down Ocean's RB Tyler Thompson and holding him to 64 yds. Chris Outterbridge and Sadig Palmer are their leaders and QB Jack Navitsky has played very well on offense. Outterbridge picked up a fumble and returned it 28 yds for a TD in the big win over Ocean. Up next is Neptune (0-3).
Congrats to Wall (1-2) for a nice win over Long Branch. Wall lost their QB Matt Cluley in week 1 and new QB Shane Richey has taken over and played well in the 24-14 win over Long Branch. Next up is RBC for the Knights.
Point Boro is off to a 3-0 start with a hard fought 14-6 win over Bishop Ahr. Defense won this one, as it has in all of the Panther wins. They have given up only 13 points in their 3-0 start. Offensively it was key TDs by Nate Husak and Devin Connelly which provided all the points Boro would need. Look for Boro to make it 4-0 this week as they get winless Manchester at home.
Lakewood (3-0) is another B-South unbeaten (Jackson Liberty and Point Boro are others). The Piners beat Manchester 20-13 in come from behind fashion. LJ Clark has the Piners believing they are as good as anybody in the conference and up next is one of those co- leaders Jackson Liberty.
The other major win of the weekend was put up by Raritan (2-0) who beat Matawan 40-3. The Rockets broke open a 10 pt halftime lead to win easily. Now the Rockets face the gauntlet with Freehold, Red Bank, SJV, Point Boro and Rumson in the next 5 weeks - a combined 13-1 record. We will see how good the Rockets are.
In closing we must pass on sad news which occurred on Friday night up north. Warren Hills High School 3 sport star and QB of this year's team, Evan Murray, died of apparent injuries that occurred in Friday night's game at Summit High School. Murray was hit behind the line of scrimmage and walked off of the field under his own power, but shortly collapsed on the sideline. He was taken to the hospital and even gave a 'thumbs up' sign to the rest of team as he left, but he would later die. An autopsy finding has not been published yet. The entire Shore community sends our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.
Also join us on the same channels for our Thursday Night High School Football Show at 7PM.