There are 43 teams that play football in the Shore Conference. Many, myself included, believe it may be the best conference in New Jersey. 27 of those teams will have a chance to win one of the 23 Sectional championships that will be given out on the weekend of December 4-6. I believe this may be the most teams that have ever qualified for the States. For the other 16 teams not making the playoffs, they will play a consolation game this weekend which begins Thursday night and concludes on Saturday. As I have said before, these games are not needed. Do you really believe an 0-9 or 1-8 team wants to play another game? I don't think so. 9 teams involved in those games have completed their regular season. That should be it. Put the equipment away, let the kids have some down time before the winter season sports begin. There are only 8 Thanksgiving Day games this year, less than ever before. More and more teams are playing 9 straight games with no bye week. If you are one of those teams playing on Thanksgiving (16 of them), you have to wait 13 days until Nov. 26th to play.
That's another argument to do away with the Thanksgiving Day games. You can't tell me Middletown North and South would rather not play early, then have to wait and play on Nov. 26th. Besides, if you happen to win 2 rounds in the tournament and are getting ready for a final, you must interrupt that preparation for the "annual" Turkey Day game. Crazy system, but it's the one we play by, so let the games begin.
Divisional championships were won by SJV (A-Central), TRN, Brick Memorial and Brick (A-South), Point Boro and Lakewood (B-South) and Shore (B-Central). Only A-North is alive as Mid North and Mid South will play on Thanksgiving, with the Lions looking to share the title with a win and Red Bank in B-North needs to beat Long Branch to win it outright or share it with Ocean if they lose. Congrats to those champions.

Tune up games for those teams heading to playoffs:

SJV 67-0 over Manasquan. Anthony Brown - 5 TDs accounted for. Has to be Squan's worst loss ever in that storied program.

Brick Memorial 44-7 over Southern. Defense and special teams won it for Mustangs and now share A-South title.

Rumson 41-0 over Holmdel. Matt Vecchiarelli-2 TDs.

Red Bank 31-14 over Manchester as Sadiq Palmer scores twice.

Toms River North 31-21 over Neptune. Carrington, Husni lead Mariners.

Middletown South 38-7 over Freehold Boro as Cole Rogers (215 yards and 3 TDs) is fully healthy as Eagles start playoff run.

Middletown North gets RB Chad Freshnock (2 TDs) back after 6 weeks, just in time for playoffs.

RBC won the revenge game over Jackson 21-10. Remember Jackson broke RBCs 44 game Shore conference winning streak last year.

Ocean won 26-0 over Colts Neck as Kenny Pickett threw 3 TD passes.

Keyport (5-4) tuned up with a 35-12 victory over Keansburg. It was Ky'Sun Pryor with 3 TDs and the Red Raiders putting up 400 yards of offense.

Not going to playoffs, but quietly Monmouth Reg is 4-4 with an upset win over Raritan 30-21. Coach Rich Mosca has the Falcons playing well and look for that winning season. It was 2006 and an 8-3 record under Bob Acosta for the last winning season. They have been 5-5 a few times under Sal Spampanato since then.
The most interesting first round match up in the playoffs is the rematch between #2 Brick and # 7 Jackson. Back on Oct 2nd the two played in a monsoon weather night with Brick winning 2-0 on a first period safety. On a dry field, we may get a better idea as to who is better. You can check for all the matchups in the playoffs. By the way, both teams played last week without their first string QBs and neither is a definite to play this week as they battle concussions.
Some interesting semi finals could take place if teams take care of business this week. A rematch of Red Bank and Ocean (RBR won 16-6 first time around) would be very interesting. How about #1 SJV vs #5 RBC in Non-Public 3. May need some backup light bulbs for the scoreboard for that contest. SJV averages 45/game, while RBC gets 28/game. That one will also feature 2 of the top QBs in the State- Anthony Brown from SJV (Boston College) and Eddie Hahn from RBC (U Conn). Buy your tickets early for that one.
Congrats to Marlboro (1-8) for breaking their 19 game losing streak with a 26-7 win over JP Stevens. Marlboro will have a chance at 2 in a row as they drew winless Toms River East (0-9) in the consolation round. Manchester (0-8), the only other winless team gets a visit by Pleasantville (0-8), to try and get into the win column. On the brighter side, 4 teams remain unbeaten - Mid South (9-0), SJV (9-0), Shore (8-0) and Red Bank (8-0). All are favored in their first round games which will get them to the semi-finals.
There are no locks in the playoffs, but Shore Regional (8-0) is certainly on a mission to win championship # 7. Over the last 4 years the top programs in the Shore for wins have been RBC (38-5), Shore (38-6), Manalapan (38-7) and Rumson (34-8). 4 great programs, who all have a good chance for a State championship this year. Of the 4, Shore has won 6 titles, while Rumson has won 3, RBC has won 2, and Manalapan 1 (last year). Overall, Manasquan has 11 championships and Middletown South 9, to lead the Shore. St Joseph of Hammonton has won 24 State championships to lead the State. They have been to 32 finals.
Join us on Thursday for the Jersey Mikes football show from Water Street Grill at 7pm, when we talk high school football. This week the "Big Red" of Ocean will be in house, as Don Klein and his outstanding QB Kenny Pickett join us at Water Street.
Our Friday night game of the week takes us to Brick for a first round playoff game against Jackson. This is a much anticipated rematch after the 2-0 victory by Brick on Oct. 2nd. Should be a good one.