Friday night our Jersey Mike's Game of the Week took us to 5-0 Manalapan and a matchup with unbeaten 5-0 Howell. Manalapan used the best RB in the Shore (Naim Mayfield) 25 times for 273 yards and 5 TDs to put up 49 points as the Braves (6-0) kept their #1 status with a very impressive 49-28 victory. Mayfield has all the tools: explosiveness, elusiveness, blazing speed, and the ability to get into the end zone (24 TDs this year) to be one of the best running backs to ever play in the Shore. On his way to Fordham University, Mayfield has one important goal to complete this year, and that is to lead the Braves to a State Championship in Central Group 5.

Mayfield has all the tools: explosiveness, elusiveness, blazing speed, and the ability to get into the end zone (24 TDs this year) to be one of the best running backs to ever play in the Shore. On his way to Fordham University, Mayfield has one important goal to complete this year, and that is to lead the Braves to a State Championship in Central Group 5. There will probably be an A-North title along the way if they can beat unbeaten Freehold Twp on November 3rd and will complete the regular season, which will enable the Braves to put all their focus on the States.

It’s not just Mayfield for the Braves. The surrounding cast is also very impressive. FB Chris Maksimik usually leads Mayfield through huge holes opened up by a huge offensive line led by Trevor Radosevich, a 6’3” 270 lb tackle, and senior guard Jack McLaughlin. Senior Joe Ciraola also returns up front. As usual, the offensive line goes unnoticed, but they help make Mayfield what he is and he would be the first to tell you that. QB Luke Corcione can throw the football when he has to. Big, strong and smart, Corcione has not had to throw it much, but if needed he is very capable. He’s got good receivers on the outside in Scott Scherzer and Symir Blacknall when needed. Defensively the Braves are led by LBs Sal

Defensively the Braves are led by LBs Sal Tardogro and Tommy Pearce in their 3-4 alignment. When the 2017 State classifications were announced last winter and the Braves found out that Piscataway, the team that ruined their season last year, was moved to North Jersey section 5, it clearly opened up Central 5 to make its run this year. This cast is a good one and I predict championship # 2 for the Braves in 2017.

Saturday at Rutgers saw four of the six top teams in the Shore play against each other in two games. SJV (6-0) defeated Rumson (4-1) in what most media members said was the game of the year so far. The score was 31-28 in overtime as Will Forman kicked a 22-yard field goal for the game-winner. Rumson was stopped by the Vianney defense and the Lancers had their 34th victory in a row over Shore opponents. Johnny Buchanan proved again he’s a legit All-State player. His sack on 3rd down in OT was a game changer and he also chipped in with 122 yds on offense and scored 2 TDs. Rumson has nothing to be ashamed of, as RB Peter Lucas ran for 220 yds and 2 scores. This game proved to me that Rumson can win their 5th title in a row and their 6th overall, while SJV has a legit shot at title #2 in their long history.

In the nightcap RBC (6-0) beat Long Branch (4-1) in a shootout 42-28. RB Zack Bair ran for 221 yds and two scores while RBC rolled up 432 total yards of offense. Long Branch was not shy offensively either as QB Juwan Wilkins threw for 232 yds and 2 TDs while sophomore RB Jermaine Corbett ran for 183 yds. Again, these are two teams that will make some noise in the playoffs later this season.

With Howell, Long Branch, and Rumson losing, there are only 6 schools still unbeaten: Point Boro, Mater Dei Prep, and Free Township join RBC, SJV, and #1 Manalapan. SJV plays RBC this Friday and Freehold Twp must still play both Howell and Manalapan. Best chance to run the table and stay unbeaten? My choice is Manalapan as 12-0 is in sight. Mater Dei will have their day in court this week to decide about the use of ineligible players. Stay tuned. They just got past Asbury Park 14-13 this past week. Perhaps they had other things on their minds, although the Blue Bishops played well. Point Boro (6-0) had to come from behind to beat Lakewood 35-28, a rare test game for Panthers. Great effort by L.J. Clark and the 1-4 Piners.

We must mention some surprise seasons in the works for the following teams: Jackson (4-2) is off and running literally as Leo Shimonovich has been pretty effective all season on the ground. Also on that list is Holmdel (4-3). They ran for 374 yds in their 42-14 win over Manchester. Monmouth (6-1) continues to surprise. They get the bye this week, then finish with Rumson and SJV. Remember, only 7 games count toward playoff numbers, so Monmouth will be 6-1 no matter what happens when they tabulate the final totals after the Nov. 3-4 weekend. The first week of playoffs is the weekend of Nov. 10-11.

Congratulations to Brick Memorial RB Tony Thorpe, who with his 40th career TD in Friday night's 35-13 victory over TR East, broke Vinny Falkewitz’s record for career TDs. The Mustangs, who are on a roll with five wins in a row are also in a three-way battle with Central and Brick for the A-South championship. Each has one loss, with Brick beating BM, BM beating Central, and a Central/Brick game still to be played in 2 weeks.

This and That
Middletown North (3-2) wins and continues its push to get into the Central 4 playoff picture. Prediction: they will make it.

Southern’s (2-4) upset of Brick (4-2) really tightens the A-South race. Brick looks like they have QB problems and could use a healthy Jimmy Leblo to get back on the field. Leblo was hurt (knee) a few weeks ago and has missed the last 2 games.

Mid South (2-3) plays at TR North (1-5) this Friday night in our Jersey Mike's Game of the Week. In pre-season it looked like a good one, now both teams are struggling and under .500.

Asbury Park (2-3) just missed against Mater Dei Prep (4-0). Perhaps the Seraphs are a little more vulnerable this year. They are the defending Non-Public 2 Champs.

Lacey has quietly moved to 4-2 with a 31-28 win over Barnegat (4-2). Barnegat can still get a tie for the B South championship if they beat unbeaten Point Boro on Nov. 3rd.

Special Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner Wednesday night during a live broadcast from Margaritas in Toms River. Joining us will be Monmouth University Head Coach Kevin Callahan and two former Shore Conference standouts as safety Mike Basile (Brick Mem) and receiver Vinny Grosso (Donovan Catholic) will be in the house. Also joining us will be first-year head coach Vinny Minstretta of Jackson Memorial and two of his players. It'll be an action-packed show from 7-8pm on 105.7 The Hawk and shoresportsnetwork.com.

The Jersey Mikes Game of the Week takes us to Toms River North as the Mariners host Middletown South on 92.7 WOBM and 1160/1310AM. You can also listen to the live stream at shoresportsnetwork.com and make sure to download the free Shore Sports Network mobile APP where you can listen as well.

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