Scanning the High School Football Scene: Week 8
As we hit the month of November, the high school football schedule is winding down for most teams. Teams are finishing up their 9 game regular season, with some having to wait until Thanksgiving to finish up.
But for what looks like 25 teams, qualifying for the "second season" and a shot at a state championship becomes real. The state playoffs begin the week of Nov. 13 and as always, we will be well represented with more than 1/2 of the 43 Shore Conference teams qualifying.
With 1 week remaining before the cutoff, here is my educated guess as to who gets in. While games this week may change seedings, these 25 look like they will make it. Residual points are also important in the very complicated NJSIAA playoff format.
CJ Group 5
Manalapan and Freehold Twp.
CJ Group 4
Brick Mem., Brick, Jackson, Freehold Boro, and Jackson Liberty
CJ Group 3
Rumson, Ocean, Red Bank and Matawan
CJ Group 2
Point Boro and Raritan
CJ Group 1
Shore, Asbury Park, Point Beach, and Keyport
SJ Group 5
T R North
SJ Group 4
SJ Group 3
Non Pub 3
SJV, RBC and Don Catholic
Middletown South and Middletown North
Of the 25, 5 have a legitimate chance at a #1 seed(Mid South, Brick Mem., SJV, Rumson, and Shore or Asbury Park(they play this week, winner gets top seed)
2 teams are still alive but need some help to make it. TR South(SJ4) and Manasquan(SJ3)
More about the playoffs next week when brackets are finalized and our SSN schedule becomes clearer.
Last week's major games produced some upsets around the Shore. RBC and Manalapan were both favorites and both lost. Ocean(6-1) beat RBC(42-35), while Freehold Boro(6-2) beat the Braves(28-13). But the real shocker was Jackson Liberty's win over previously unbeaten Point Boro 25-22 in OT. The win was worth many quality points to Liberty and vaults them into a possible playoff spot. It was a 37 yard OT field goal by Braden Yorke that won it for the Lions.
The big game around the Shore was our game of the week. TR North(7-1) at Brick(7-1). North, using a stampede running game(385 yards) won themselves at least a piece of the A-South championship with a 25-14 victory over the Dragons. To run for that many yards against what was the best defense in the Shore(5 shutouts), tells you how well prepared the Mariners were.
Asante Moorer(186 yards and 2 TDs) and QB Mike Husni(119 yards and 1TD) were the Mariner leaders on offense, while Da'Shon Copes and Anthony Storino led the defense. North, playing without 2 key linemen, Esiah Santamaria and Cole LaBatch, used a variety of formations and 3 or 4 basic plays to dominate up front and run to the win. The win clinched at least a tie for the A-South and creates the "triangle" in the division with Brick and Brick Memorial.
Brick beat Memorial and Memorial beat North. Next week Brick plays at TR South, while Brick Mem. hosts Southern. With wins those 2 share the crown with North. North is done in the division and plays a non-conference game at Neptune.
Ocean used a 2 TD comeback in the last quarter to beat RBC 42-35. Huge win for the Don Klien "Big Red" program. QB Kenny Pickett was heroic for Ocean, while his counterpart Eddie Hahn played, perhaps his best game of the year, for RBC. Both teams will make some noise in playoffs.
Took in the Manasquan/Matawan game on Sat. The Huskies won it 30-27 on a Adam Elliott 25 yard field goal with 8 seconds left. Matawan(5-3) has now won 5 straight as they have fought back from an 0-3 start. Soph QB George Pearson is back from his hip injury and looked as good as he was last year, when he led the Huskies to a State Championship at Kean University. Pearson threw for 243 yards and 3 TDs, on only 10 completions, on the perfect weather day.
I say that only because in last year's State title game, it was a cold night with heavy rain throughout and it didn't phase Pearson one bit. RB Makiya Caesar ran for 182 yards as the Huskies put up big numbers on the ground also to offset Pearson's air attack. Squan's RB Parker Day had himself a huge afternoon as he ran for 227 yards, including a 76 yard TD, in the loss.
Congrats to Pinelands(28-21 over Manchester) and Colts Neck(13-0 over Wall) for their 1st wins of the year. Only Manchester, TR East and Marlboro are still winless this year. On the other side of the fence Point Boro and Brick fall from the unbeaten, which leaves Mid South(7-0), SJV(8-0), Red Bank(7-0), and Shore(7-0) undefeated. Shore plays Asbury Park(6-1) this week- they will be tested. SJV gets a test from Squan(3-4) while Mid South gets a hot 6-2 Freehold Boro team. Red Bank gets winless Manchester on the road. I think all 4 win and go into the playoffs unbeaten.
Join us this Thursday from Water Street Grill for the High School Football Show as we talk football with Point Boro head coach Sean Henry and his outstanding QB Noah Husak. Show begins at 7pm and goes to 8:30pm.
Our Jersey Mikes Game Of the Week takes us to Point Pleasant Boro on Saturday afternoon as the Panthers look to get a piece of the B-South title as they entertain Lakewood. Currently Lakewood is unbeaten in conference play, while Point Boro has 1 loss. Lakewood is led by one of the Shore's best players in Amir Tyler. Tyler scored 5 TDs in Lakwood's 52-14 win over Barnegat on Saturday. A Panther victory and they tie for the championship. A Piner win and they win it outright. Game time is 2 pm.