Scanning the Scene: 11/7/11
Playoff cutoff weekend is always an important date for any football team trying to win a State Championship, and for 20 teams in the Shore, the dream lives on. As predicted a few weeks back, there were not many surprises, as far as the teams involved, only with some of the seeds. Two teams will be top-seeded in their groups. Rumson in CJ-2 and Asbury Park in CJ-1 are those two who received the #1 seed. Wall(CJ-3), Manasquan(CJ-2), and Manalapan in CJ-4 are all seeded #2. Third seeds went to the #1 team in the Shore, RBC in Non-Public 3 and Barnegat in SJ-2. There was one 4th seed and that is Jackson in CJ-4. The rest of the teams who will try and win all the marbles are Brick Memorial(CJ-4), Neptune(CJ-3), Middletown South(CJ-3),Matawan(CJ-2, Red Bank(CJ-2), Mon Don(Non-Public-3),Point Boro(SJ-2), Shore(CJ-1), Central(SJ-3, Point Beach(CJ-1), and Lacey(SJ-3) Allentown(CJ-3), although not in Shore Conference will also compete. Action will begin Friday night and continue Sat. afternoon when the field will be cut to the semi's, which will take place the following weekend. Then, for some teams, a Thanksgiving game will take place on Nov. 24th or sometime over that weekend. Teams will have the option to move that game if you were involved in the semi's. That will be followed by the finals during the weekend of Dec. 2-4. Winners will be crowned State Champions and will be forever know as such. Predicting who will find their way to the big game is not easy, but I'll give it a try.
CJ-1- Asbury Park will find a way to get there.
CJ-2- Rumson will be there and Manasquan will be their opponent.
CJ-3-Neptune will find a way from the 5th seed. Unfortunately Mid South will be one of their victims, or they would find a way to be in finals.
CJ-4-I give the winner of Brick Memorial/Manalapan game a good chance to make finals. The Stangs had the Braves on the ropes, but couldn't put them away 2 weeks back. Being in bottom bracket away from South Brunswick and Sayreville is a good thing.
SJ-2-The winner of Barnegat/Point Boro in round one has a shot to the finals, but West Deptford stands in way. Don't think either could make that run.
SJ-3-Not this year in this group. Central and Kaylph Hardy will not be the fastest kid on the field against Woodrow Wilson in round 1.
SJ-4-Southern wins round 1, but then gets #1 seed Pennsauken, who is tough. Can they win, this may be the year the Rams win their first ever title.
Non-Public-3-RBC will win a game, but this bracket is suicide. Next round, Delbarton, on the road, a tough one to pull off, but this is a very good Casey team and I think they can make the finals.
I'll give you my winners after semi's, in 2 weeks. Good luck to all participants, it's an accomplishment to make it in, and have a chance.
Let's look back on week 9:
Middletown South(6-2), won their 6th in a row and are rolling into playoffs. Their 35-7 demolish of a good Lacey team in the "Swamp", showed all that they will be a force in CJ-3, as they usually are. They have won 9 Championships, have been in the finals 9 of last 10 years, and it's 15 straight years in the playoffs. How could we leave them out. This is a loaded division with Wall, Neptune and Red Bank from the Shore. For the Eagles to get back to finals, they will have to beat Wall and possibly Neptune. Tough task ahead for them.
Had the pleasure to watch a classic game on Sat afternoon when Rumson traveled to Asbury Park for a battle of unbeaten teams. I was very impressed by the Rumson stifling defense which held Asbury Park to 2 first downs and 86 total yds. They won it easily by a 28-6 score, and proved my #2 ranking is warranted. QB Danny Roberto was good all day(204 yds. and 2 TDs), hitting his big time receivers like Blake Potter, Nico Giaimo and Kevin O'Connor all day. The dream match-up with RBC on Turkey Day, will have to wait for awhile, as we play a couple of round in the States.
Congrats to Brick(5-4) who assured themselves to finish 500 or better, for their 26-13 win over JFK Memorial.
SJ Vianney(3-5) upset win over Central cost the Eagles a home game in round 1. 34-26 was the final and the Lancers held Hardy to 244 yds. This may not sound too great, but consider that Hardy had 217 at halftime and you see they stepped it up in the second half.
Point Boro(5-3) shut out Manchester 36-0, with QB John Dunbar leading the way. It was a winner is in and loser is out game and Dunbar left little doubt who was going to the playoffs. Holding star RB Joe Johnson to 24 yds., the defense was great all night and Dunbar took care on the offensive side. He finished with 162 yds. rushing and 4 TDs. Boro now stays in the Shore with a first round game with #3 seed Barnegat in SJ-2.
Middletown North needed a win to get into the playoffs, but Southern proved why they are one of the best teams in the Shore, with a 28-0 shutout over the Lions. Playing all their starters, even though it was their 9th game and did not count towards the playoffs, TJ Bellissimo ran for 2 scores and 111 yds. and QB Dan Higgins threw for a TD and ran for another. The Rams go into the SJ-4 playoffs as a #4 seed and a home game with Triton on Friday night.
Must mention Long Branch(3-5) who have set a goal of 500 after a 0-5 start. They beat Raritan 38-7 with Junior RB Dwight Clark running for 172 yds. and a TD and he also caught a TD pass. The Wave finished with 433 yds. rushing as their offense has come around. With many under classmen, look for the Green Wave to make a run next year.
Howell(4-4) and Ryan Davies were very impressive in their 23-7 win over playoff bound Brick Mem. Davies, one of the States top QBs, was on fire all night. His final numbers read like this--24-34 for 237 and 40 yds. rushing. He threw for 2 and scored one on the ground. With 2 more game, the Rebels would like to make it 6-4 and finish strong. Brick Mem. played without their starting QB Ryan Cieplinski who is nursing a leg injury. his status for next week is questionable.
Have got to mention the TR South Indians who rolled over winless Pinelands 62-0. The Indians have now scored 165 points after going the first 4 games with an offensive TD. They have scored 48, 7, 35 and 62 in their last 4, winning 2 of those games. I thought the Sigs were know for their defense! Nice job Ron Jr and the rest of the staff, for keeping them together, when others would have quit.
Since the playoffs are here, we can finally get coaches to talk about them. Here's what they said:
"We're back where we're supposed to be, in the playoffs." Walt Krystopic, Head coach Jackson Memorial.
"When I started looking at some tapes, I thought `We've got some players here, we can win now. There's no need to rebuild." Head Coach John Wagner, Point Beach who's Gulls will be making their first trip to playoffs since 2001.
"In every phase of the game, it was a complete game. Our defense shut down a very good offensive football team and our offense was kind of clicking on all cylinders at times. I couldn't be happier for our seniors." Head Coach Sean Henry, Point Boro on his teams 36-0 victory over Manchester and a trip to the playoffs.
"It's great. We have two home games. That's exactly where we want to be. The atmosphere at home playoff games is great." RB John Sieczkowski of Manalapan HS as the Braves get the #2 seed.
"A home playoff game was a goal all year. We talked about it back to last January. We talked about a home playoff game. We talked about finishing the season here with this game, but we didn't take TR East lightly." Head Coach Jim Portella, RBCon his 49-0 romp over East. RBC will host Pope John on Friday night.
"People were thinking that we weren't playing our starters, but we wanted to come out and make a statement and show what we got for the playoffs. We still took it serious and we wanted to come out and control the game." RB TJ Bellissimo on Southerns 28-0 shutout over Middletown North.
"Holmdel did a great job tonight game-planning against our offense. But our goal from the beginning has been to get a home playoff game and our guys kept working and got the win." Head Coach Rob Davis, Barnegat HS, who will host Point Boro on Friday night, in a game we will broadcast on 105.7fm ,1160am, and 1310am on the Shore Sports Network.
"The attitude of the program has totally changed. What we do in the off season, in the weight room, has changed. Everybody is stepping up." LB Pat Quinn of Red Bank on his team gaining a CJ-2 playoff berth.
"They were trying to do everything they could do to take the run game away and they did a nice job. We pride ourselves on trying to be balanced and if you want to overload and take one thing away, then we'll try to beat you another way." Head Coach Shane Fallon, Rumson on the passing attack he turned loose on Sat. against Asbury in their 28-6 win, to remain unbeaten.
Top Ten week 10:
- RBC(8-0) Caseys roll into playoffs seeded #3, as they try to win Non-Public-3.
- Rumson(8-0) Defending Champs got #1 seed on a flip of coin with Manasquan in CJ-2.
- Neptune(7-1) #5 seed in CJ-3. Tough bracket, will earn it if they get to finals.
- Southern(8-1) On to playoffs for Ocean County's best team.
- Manasquan(8-0) #2 seed via a flip with Rumson. Drew Red Bank in CJ-2 first round.
- Jackson(7-1)Jags are rolling along and but for a 7 point loss to Southern are perfect this season.
- Manalapan(7-1) RB John Sieczkowski in running for offensive player of year.
- Wall(7-1) Vulnerable defense makes Knights a question mark in playoffs.
- Middletown South(6-2) 6 in a row for Eagles and a #8 seed in CJ-3.
- Asbury Park(7-1) Loss to Rumson not a bad loss. Cj-1 favorites in my book.
Just outside looking in:
Matawan-(6-2) Huskies are in CJ-2, bad part is they drew unbeaten Carteret in first round.
Shore-(6-2) Devils are #6 seed in CJ-1 and in bottom bracket which keeps them away from Asbury until finals.
Barnegat-(5-3) Potential B-South Champs are home against Point Boro in round 1 of SJ-2.
Point Boro(-5-3) Pretty even match-up with Barnegat on Friday night.
Point Beach-(6-2) John Wagner crew rolls into playoffs for first time since 2001.
Red Bank-(5-3) Nice story being written in Buc land.
Mon Don-(5-3) Griffs and Dan Duddy run that option very well.
Friday night in Barnegat on 105.7fm the "Hawk" on Shore Sports Network-7pm start.
Thursday at Boston's in TR for 7-9pm HS Football show where we will preview all brackets.