The big week has finally arrived. For hard core football fans, they have had Oct. 21, 2016 circled for quite some time.
The game of the year is upon us and it has all the makings of a classic. For those of you that have been under a rock or out of the country, let me set the stage for you. Unbeaten Toms River North (6-0) will travel to unbeaten Middletown South (5-0) on Friday night to settle their claim of who actually is #1. The two teams have taken care of business so far in 2016, and the anticipation of this game has all the makings of a contest that you must be at. The two have been 1 & 2 since pre-season with Middletown South holding the top spot.
Let's look at the numbers.
Offensively, Toms River North is averaging 49 1/2 pts/game to Middletown South's 31 pts/game. The Mariners are an explosive team with multiple weapons to lean on. They are led by QB Mike Husni who has accounted for 24 TDs via the run and pass. He has WR Darion Carrington, RB Parker Day, and Rutgers recruit Bryce Watts to get the ball to. D coordinators Rich Malek (TRN) and Al Bigos (Mid South) will be up late devising a plan to stop these offenses. Perhaps they will be the 2 most important coaches on Friday? Mid South will rely on RB Anthony Summer, QB Aneesh Agrawal, among others to get the ball into the endzone. Advantage here goes to Toms River North.
Middletown South has a defense that is as tough as they come. Safety Max Imsho will move around alot on defense and will usually find the football while LB Kevin Higgins is as good as it gets in the defensive sceme that coordinator Al Bigos applies. Defensively, Toms River North gives up 23pts/game to Middletown South's 14pts/game. Toms River North has been vulnerable to the run, and Middletown South will exploit that. Advantage here goes to Middletown South.
Opponents records: Toms River North -12-24, Middletown South -14-13. No doubt the B North schedule that Middletown South plays is tougher this year than the A South schedule that Toms River North plays. Advantage here goes to Middletown South.
Toms River North has won 16 in a row and are defending South Group 5 champs. They have won 6 State titles and have been to the final 6 times. They get to finals, they win. Middletown South has won 17 in a row and are defending North 2 Group 4 champs. They have won 10 State titles and have been to finals 21 times. Advantage here is a tie, both teams have the mental capacity to win.
Both have strong coaching staffs, both have strong followings of students and fans. You can see everything points to a classic game, and if you plan on going, get there early. If you can't make it, we will broadcast the game live on News Talk Radio WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310 and online at ShoreSportsNetwork.com.Some other bits and pieces from last week: Two teams, Brick Memorial and Holmdel picked up their first wins of the season. That leaves just 3 teams without a "W" in 2016: Toms River East, Donovan Catholic and Jackson Liberty will look to get that elusive win. Two teams picked up their first loss of the year: Wall was beaten by Middletown North and Lakewood's loss was to unbeaten Point Boro. That leaves 7 teams still without a loss: Middletown South, Toms River North, Saint John Vianney, Manalapan, Mater Dei Prep, Freehold Township and Point Boro are all looking to extend their winning streaks. SJV (A Central) and Mater Dei Prep (B Central) have clinched at least a tie for division championships - congrats to those 2. There are some other huge games this week besides Toms River North/Middletown South: Manasquan (4-1) plays at Middletown North (4-1), SJV (6-0) is home to always tough Red Bank Catholic (4-2), and Howell (3-3) will travel to Freehold Twp (6-0) on Friday night.With the State cutoff date (Nov. 5) just around the corner, teams are starting to look at numbers a little more closely. More on that next week, but we should have as many as 23 teams in the playoffs.
No Thursday Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner this week as the Ocean of Love Billboard Radiothon will be broadcast on 105.7 The Hawk during the week. Be sure to tune in or visit to make a donation to a great cause. This week's Game of Week is Toms River North at Middletown South at 7PM Friday night. Listen live on News Talk Radio WOBM-AM 1160 & 1310 and online at ShoreSportsNetwork.com.