With one week until the State playoff cutoff, there will be many teams fighting for a chance to win a State Championship. More than 20 teams are still alive with a shot at calling themselves State Champs. Lets break down the brackets:


Southern Reg with their 7-1 record has locked up a home game at least in the first round.

TR North has an outside shot, but it doesn't look good for the Mariners. They must beat a very good Manalapan team on Friday night and then sit back and see if their 5-3 record will be good enough.


Central(5-2) will get a home game in the first round.With a few upsets down South this past weekend(Hammonton, Moorestown), the Eagles benefited and get the home game.

Lacey has they back against the wall; they need help.

Manchester has a big game this week against Point Boro(SJ-2), with the winner gaining a berth. The Hawks have battled back all year against injuries and it would be a nice story, if they were to get in


Barnegat(4-3) won a huge game against Red Bank this past week and now qualifies with their 4 wins. Probably be on road.

Point Boro(4-3) Plays Manchester(SJ-3) with the winner getting in.


Asbury Park, Point Beach, and Shore will make it. Trying to avoid Asbury until finals is the secret! Asbury will be home as long as they win.


Manasquan(7-0), Rumson(7-0), and Matawan(5-2) are locks at making it. Top seed and home games to be determined. Red Bank(4-3)must beat winless Monmouth and will sneak in the bracket.


Wall(7-0), is a definite, in a very tough bracket to figure out, before next weeks results. Neptune(6-1) and Middletown South(5-2), are gunning for a spot. If the Eagles make it, after an 0-2 start, it will be quite a story.


This one is easy. Jackson(7-1), Manalapan(6-1) are in. There are 3 shore area schools fighting for 2 final spots. Brick Memorial(4-4) is done, even though they play Howell(3-4) this week. Middletown North plays Southern Reg. and Colts Neck(4-3) plays Neptune. CN and Mid North must win to get in, it's that simple. If either one loses Brick Mem. get in.


RBC(7-0) is in, so is Mon Don(4-3). With Bishop Ahr(4-4) winning this past week, there will be 8 schools in bracket. RBC, #1 in the shore, is looking for a home game. They should get it at either 3 or 4.

So there you have it, I did not figure it all the way out to residual points in the complicated way they arrive at the brackets, but I'm close. Next week, I'll have the final brackets for you.

Now lets look at key games last week:

Weather wrecked havoc on Saturday with no games, except Keyport ,playing up at Spotswood. There were Sunday games and a few on Monday. Those Monday games kill you the following week, as you have a very short week to prepare for your opponent.

With the rain, snow and wind holding off until Sat., Mid South(5-2) won a big one down in Brick, knocking the Dragons out of any chance of making the playoffs. With the 17-14 "W" the Eagles have won 5 straight after starting 0-2. RB Tim McArdle(2 TDs and a 2-point conversion), had himself a huge night for the Eagles. QB Howie Brey offset the running of McArdle, with an accurate passing attack. The Eagles run the ball very well, and with Brey playing well, they will make their usual run in CJ-3. Have an interesting game this week with Lacey. It will be Lacey's 9th game, but Mid South's 8th. Yeah, you try to figure out this system!! QB Brandon Kieslor had himself a big game and single-handedly keep the Dragons in the game. Brandon threw for 252 yards and a TD pass, and also ran one in for all the Dragon points.

In a game played Monday afternoon in Lacey, Neptune won 16-3, to keep their playoff hope alive. Lacey should still get in with their 4-4 record, even though they will play their 9th gme next week vs Mid South. QB Jaheem Woods was the major force in the Flier backfield as he slashed his way through the Lion "D". The Flier "D" was tough all day, especially in the first quarter when Lacey was inside the Flier 20 three different times and were turned away each time. That's when this one was decided, even though Lacey cut a 10-0 lead to 10-3 early in fourth quarter, but that was as close as they would get. The Fliers intercepted a pass and ran it back 21 yards on the final play. Fliers pick up valuable power points as they fight for a spot in CJ-3.

Manalapan(6-1) won the most exciting game of Friday night when they stunned Brick Memorial 23-21 in the final seconds. The Mustangs had scored twice in the last 8 min. to take a 21-20 lead, only to see the Braves methodically work the ball downfield in the last 1:46, and set up a 37-yard Field Goal by freshman kicker Mike Caggiano. Junior QB Mike Isabella was outstanding all night, as the Mustangs were geared up to stop John Sieczkowski, after his record breaking 425 yard performance last week. John did end up with 114 yards after a 26 yd. first half. Junior QB Ryan Cieplinski continues to excel for the Stangs, and he will be a nice piece to the puzzle, next year for the Mustangs. Manalapan, Jackson and Memorial could all be in CJ-4 bracket.

Wall(7-0) scored 54 points against TR South on Friday. The bad thing about this was that they also gave up 35 points, to an offense that has struggled for most of the year. That phase of the game(defense) must get better, if the Knights want to make a run in CJ-3. QB Steve Cluley had a big night. Throwing for 151 and running for another 132, he was part of 5 TDs. Jim Guiliano ran for 106 and scored twice, as the Knights totaled 390 yards. Lets give some credit to the Indians, as they seem to have gotten the offense in gear(470 yardsvs Wall), after early season struggles. Junior QB Trevor Signorino Jr. is getting better each week and that sets the Indians up for next year and a run at A-South. With Pinelands up this week, victory #2 is within reach then a consolation game, and Lakewood on Turkey Day and there's reason to believe that 4 wins is within reach.

Middletown North(14-10 vs TR East), Point Boro(35-17 vs Raritan), Colts Neck(21-7 over Freehold Boro) and Shore(41-7 over South River), all kept their hopes alive for a playoff spot, with wins over the weekend. It will be an interesting final week, as there are many big games to be played. Lets hope the weather man co-operates and we get a nice weekend to play.

They said it:

"The game was postponed about a half hour before the start at 1pm, because the officials deemed the field unplayable." Lou Vircillo,Head Coach at Lacey about his postponed game with Neptune, on Sat afternoon.

"I never had a pick six before, I was not going to run 100 yards for nothing. This is a big win for us." Point Boro's Tim Oliphant on his 100 yard interception return.

"I saw the ball bounce on the ground, I looked right and left. All I had to do was beat the kicker. I knew I was the fastest man on the field." Southern Reg. receiver/ returner Kevin Barreau on his 82 yard KO return for a TD.

"They were 2 runs that I think you'd have to be dead not to get emotional about, he's a sparkplug. He got us going." Manasquan Head Coach Jay Price on RB Joe Murphy.

"When we got the ball on their side of the field, I knew it was gonna come down to me, but you can't do that without the team and you can't do that without the snap and the hold. I hit it straight on and I knew it was good." Manalapan's kicker Mike Caggiano on his 37 yard field goal in the closing seconds to win it 23-21 over Brick Mem.

"It was a little bit of a buzzkill. We wanted to play Saturday, but Sunday's no big deal." Victor Scalici, Colts Neck RB on his teams performance in their 21-7 win, in which he ran for 142 yards and 2 TDs.

"For us to go through the B-North division without a loss, that's some achievement for these kids and I'm really proud of them." Head Coach Jim Portella of RBC.

"We're down with this result but can't let this interfere in our playoff goals. We need to take this as a learning experience in a game where we gave a good effort." Point Beach's Andre Cochran after the Beach lost to unbeaten Dunellen 24-22. Beach is 5-2.

"First time in 6 years that I have been here that we have won four in a row. They have worked hard from the start, they deserve everything that they are now getting. hopefully we will be able to continue next month." Head Coach John Trezza of Middletown North(4-3), after the Lions won their 4th straight in October.

Week 9 Top Ten:

  1. RBC(7-0) The Caseys continue to lead the pack. A match-up with A-South TR East is up this week and then they begin their playoff run.
  2. Rumson(7-0) It's rare that you get a game matching 2 undefeated teams this late in season, but that's what we have this week, as Asbury Park comes to visit the Bulldogs.
  3. Neptune(6-1) A 16-3 victory over the always tough Lacey team, provided 21 power points in their fight for spot in the CJ-3 bracket.
  4. Wall(7-0) The Knights continue to roll, but must tighten up the "D" come playoff time.
  5. Southern(7-1) The A-South champs have some work to do this week as travel to Middletown North and look to help out fellow conference foe Brick Memorial with a win. A win by Southern would eliminate the Lions from playoff picture and get BM into the bracket.
  6. Manasquan(7-0) Trap game with Lakewood this week for Big Blue. Condition of injured RB Kodie McNamara is to be watched.
  7. Jackson(6-1) Game with Freehold Twp(1-6) this week and then CJ-4 playoffs.
  8. Manalapan(6-1) Face QB Scott Buxbaum and TR North this week. A win may get them a home game next week in CJ-4 playoffs.
  9. Asbury Park(7-0) Could make a move in top ten with a win against Rumson this week. Beat Mater Dei 44-0 last week.
  10. Middletown South(5-2) The Eagles have won 5 straight and are on a nice roll. Lacey up next, in a big one for them.

Just outside looking in:

Matawan(5-2) The Huskies should beat New Brunswick this week and look to see who their first round macth-up will be in CJ-2.

Barnegat(4-3) B-South champs, if they beat winless Pinelands on Turkey Day, won a huge game vs. Red Bank last week.

Point Beach(5-2) Its been a magic year for John Wagner and the Gulls.

Colts Neck(4-3) The Cougars looking for a spot in CJ-4. All they have to do is beat Neptune.

Middletown North(4-3) The Lions also are looking for a CJ-4 berth and they have to do it against 7-1 Southern Reg.

Brick Memorial(4-4) Four losses by 11 points to teams that are a combined 24-5, keep the Mustangs in the hunt for a CJ-4 berth.

Central(5-2) Kalyph Hardy ran for over 300 again as Central is looking for a home game in SJ-3. Play pass happy S J Vianney this week on the road.

Lacey(4-4) Good team with a 500 record. Mid South better be ready on Friday night when Lacey takes a trip to "swamp".

Shore Sports Network will be at Brick Memorial for the Ryan Davies show. Howell comes in at 3-4, but with Davies throwing the football anything can happen. Friday at 7pm on 105.7, 1160am, 1310am or streamed on our web-site.

Also join us at Boston's Toms River for 2 hours of HS Football talk and interviews every Thursday at 7-9pm.