All 7 division races are becoming a little clearer as we approach week 4/5 for most teams. Let’s take a close look at the challengers and when the big games will be. The week of Oct 5/6 looks to be the big week in the Shore when many races will be decided.

American - Looks like Toms River North (3-0) and Middletown South (3-1) will fight it out in Toms River on Oct 5th. Both have won 3 in a row since Middletown South lost to Coatesville in PA in Week Zero. TRN, who was supposed to be a year away with many underclassmen, has arrived a year early and have played well in their 3-0 start. They have yet to be tested, but that will change against Middletown South. Both have beaten Manalapan, who was the pre-season favorite.

Constitution - Jackson (3-0) and Lacey (3-1) will meet this week in Lacey and if Jackson wins they will clinch at least a tie, with only Marlboro to play to win it all. Jackson has beaten Wall in OT, while Lacey lost to Wall last week.

Liberty - Manasquan (3-0) has beaten Point Boro (2-1) already, and only have Colts Neck (1-2) and Monmouth (0-3) in Conference play to win it all.  

Patriot - Looks like Mater Dei (4-0) and Barnegat (3-0) will determine the championship on October 5th at Barnegat. The Prep will be a slight favorite on the road, but don’t discount the Bengals. They play well in front of the home crowd. These 2 teams have never played each other.

Colonial - Rumson (3-0) and Brick (2-1) and Freehold (2-1) are the current leaders. If Rumson beats Freehold this week, it will set up the Brick/Rumson game on October 5th in Brick.  

Freedom - RBC (4-0) and Long Branch (3-0) will fight it out on October 5th at Count Basie Field in Red Bank. These 2 top 5 teams are clearly 2 of the best in the Shore and whoever doesn’t win the division, will have a very good chance in the States.

National - Donovan Catholic (2-0) is currently out in front with Holmdel (2-1) and Keyport (2-1) close behind. Keyport has lost to Donovan and will play Holmdel this week. Holmdel then plays Donovan on October 5th in Toms River.  Donovan Catholic also has huge non-conference games with Mater Dei and Point Pleasant Boro later in the season.

The new Shore Conference alignment has, in most cases, set the schedules up to play all the conference games early and get them out of the way. Only in cases where 2 teams moved their game to Week Zero or play Thanksgiving Day will that not happen.  

The new “power point” numbers are out this week, but don’t ask me how they arrived at the calculations. When you don’t know how the Born index is figured out, it’s hard to keep track of the teams. For instance, Toms River North has a United Power Ranking of 6.6 which ranks them #6 in South Jersey. Barnegat’s number is 12.2 which ranks them #13 in South Jersey Group 2. Both schools are undefeated at 3-0. Not sure how those numbers came about. More on that in the coming weeks.  

Around the Shore last week:

A very entertaining game at Toms River South this week as Toms River East broke a 6 game losing streak against their crosstown rival with a come from behind 35-24 win. Junior Frankie Giannetti had himself quite a game on both sides of the ball for East with double-digit tackles from his LB position and 2 TDs from his fullback spot. Sophomore QB Mike Goodall ran the offense without a flaw and ran for 116 yards, while RB Alex Smith-ran for 75 yards and 2 TDs. Toms River South was also great on offense as they ran for 269 yards. They were led by Sam Akinlolu with 111 yards. East gets rewarded with #1 RBC this week. Let’s see if they can keep the momentum going. TRS gets Long Branch this week.

Brick (2-1) seems to have turned it around after the SJV loss as they beat previously unbeaten Freehold 34-15. Cole Groschel had his best game of the season as he had 5 catches for 2 TDs, threw 2 TD passes, and had 2 picks on defense. QB Jimmy Leblo accounted for all 5 TDs the Dragons scored, and ran for 99 yards.  

Rumson (3-0) had some difficulties with Brick Memorial (1-3) in their 28-14 win. Memorial controlled the first half as Rumson only ran 10 offensive plays and held a 7-0 lead. In the end, they wore down the 'Stangs in the 2nd half as Alex Maldjian ran for 167 yards and 3 TDs. QB Tyler Sindel was back for the 'Stangs after missing the Freehold game last week.

Long Branch (3-0) got 180 yards from RB Jermaine Corbett as they rolled over Ocean 33-0. The Wave is the only returning State Champ in the Shore.

Jackson (3-0), Barnegat (3-0), Toms River North (3-0), Manasquan (3-0), Mater Dei (4-0), RBC (3-0), Long Branch (3-0), Rumson (3-0) and Donovan Cath (2-0) all remain undefeated as we enter week 4.  

This week on the Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner from River Rock Restaurant & Marina Bar in Brick we will host Wall Township and Point Boro. Head coaches Tony Grandinetti of Wall and Brian Staub of Point Boro will be in the house with some of their key players. Wall’s QB Dylan Richey and RB/S Matt Desarno will represent the Knights and QB Garrett Romer and Scott Franceschini will represent the Panthers. Listen on 105.7 The Hawk and watch live on ShoreSportsNetwork.com.

We’ll get a look at Middletown South as they come down to Central Regional for our Jersey Mike’s Game of the Week on Friday. Listen live on 92.7 WOBM and watch live on ShoreSportsNetwork.com.