Results and recaps from the first round of the 2017 NJSIAA football playoffs.

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NJSIAA QUARTERFINALS

FRIDAY, NOV. 11

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP V

1-Manalapan 42, 8-Perth Amboy 0

Senior running back Naim Mayfield ran for 254 yards and five touchdowns to break the Shore Conference single-sesaon touchdown record with 41 and lead the Braves (10-0) past the Panthers (3-6).

Senior wide receiver Symir Blacknall added a 16-yard touchdown run.

Mayfield had touchdown runs of 10, 17 and 12 yards in the first half and then ran for a 70-yard touchdown and a 25-yard touchdown in the second half to surpass Knowshon Moreno's record of 40 touchdowns set in 2004. Mayfield has a Shore Conference-record 40 rushing touchdowns and one kickoff return for a touchdown this season. He also has 2,368 yards rushing on the season, 222 yards shy of setting a new Shore Conference single-season mark.

Junior linebacker Tommy Pearce made a team-high eight tackles and added two sacks to lead the Braves' defense in their fourth shutout of the season. Senior linebacker Sal Tardogno also had eight tackles and recorded one sack and senior defensive lineman Antonio Deieso had five tackles and a sack. Junior linebacker Dale Sciezkowski made six tackles, including three for a loss. Senior defensive back Eli Avivi had an interception and sophomore linebacker Hayden Hess also had a sack.

Manalapan will host Freehold Township in the semifinals next Friday.

 

4-Freehold Township 17, 5-North Brunswick 13

The Patriots (8-2) secured the first playoff win in program history and established a new program record for wins in a season with a dramatic goal-line stand in the closing seconds to edge the Raiders (6-3) and reach the semifinals.

An 80-yard touchdown run by Christian Petrillo with under three minutes to play pulled North Brunswick to within 17-13, and following a Freehold Township three-and-out, the snap on the punt went over the punter's head and gave the Raiders the ball with 38 seconds remaining.

That's when Freehold Township's defense rose to the occasion just as it has all season. Senior defensive end Damian Rybaltowski came through with a clutch sack to force third-and-long and, after North Brunswick completed a halfback pass to put the ball inside the 10-yard line, Freehold Township halted their progress at the 3-yard line to clinch the historic victory.

Mike Cenname ran for 126 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and junior quarterback Nick Reardon threw for 136 yards and a touchdown. Senior Pat Laricy caught four passes for 87 yards and a touchdown and Colin Taptich kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Laricy's 23-yard touchdown reception put Freehold Township up 7-0 in the first quarter before a 12-yard touchdown run by Myles Bailey tied the score at seven. The Patriots took a 17-7 lead into the half on Cenname's 1-yard touchdown plunge and Taptich's field goal, which came with one second left in the first half. The play was set up by a 43-yard hook-and-lateral as Laricy caught the initial pass before flipping it to senior Kevin Doherty.

Freehold Township will take on top-seeded Manalapan in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP V

5-Brick 28, 4-Allentown 0

Junior Cole Groschel had a hand in all four touchdowns and the Dragons (6-4) put forth a sensational defense effort to eliminate the defending-champion Redbirds (6-4).

Junior Jimmy Leblo returned from an injury that had sidelined him since Sept. 29 and tossed an early touchdown to Groschel to put Brick up 7-0. Groschel then threw two touchdown passes to senior wideout Dan Venezia and later ran for a touchdown.

The victory exacted a measure of revenge for the Dragons, who were defeated by Allentown in last season's sectional final, 41-6.

Brick will play the winner of Saturday's game between eighth-seeded Freehold and top-seeded Nottingham.

 

7-Jackson Memorial 22, 2-Brick Memorial 14

Senior quarterback A.J. Tolmachewich threw senior wide receiver Matt D'Amore and senior tight end Brandon Hirsch, and junior running back Leo Shimonovich ran for a 52-yard touchdown as the Jaguars (6-4) took down the Mustangs (7-3) to advance to the semifinals.

Shimonovich ran for 102 yards and a score on 16 carries and Tolmachewich completed 5 of 10 passes for 97 yards and two scores. Chance Benjamin had a sack and a tackle for a loss, Joe Hurle and Dylan Cook combined on a sack and Hunter Rose recovered a fumble to lead Jackson's defense.

Junior quarterback Tyler Sindel ran for 79 yards and a touchdown and senior running back Tony Thorpe ran for 80 yards and a touchdown and also recovered a fumble on defense to lead Brick Memorial.

Shimonovich' touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead and, after recovering a Brick Memorial fumble at their own 34-yard line, the Jaguars embarked on a 15-play, 66-yard scoring drive to take a 15-0 lead into halftime. Jackson converted three fourth downs on the drive, including a fake punt and Tolmachewich's 21-yard touchdown pass to D'Amore on fourth-and-10.

Brick Memorial closed to 15-7 early in the third quarter when Sindel broke free for a 64-yard touchdown run. Jackson extended the lead to 22-7 when Tolmachewich converted a third-and-12 with a 20-yard touchdown strike to Hirsch. Brick Memorial rallied with an 11-play, 80-yard drive that culminated in Thorpe's 3-yard touchdown run with 6:25 left to make it 22-14.

Jackson then drove to Brick Memorial's 31-yard line, and appeared to have the game clinched after gaining a first down with 1:32 left, but Thorpe's fumble recovery on the next play gave the Mustangs life. Jackson's defense came up with a pair of clutch plays to end the game, however, as Benjamin sacked Sindel to bring up fourth-and-13 and sophomore Colin McCarthy deflected a halfback pass attempt by Blaine Netterman to force the turnover on downs.

The Jaguars will play third-seeded Long Branch in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

3-Long Branch 20, 6-Middletown South 0

Sophomore running back Jermaine Corbett ran for 165 yards and a touchdown, Marc Dennis had a touchdown catch and Jah'Kwan Gordon had a defensive touchdown to lead the Green Wave (7-2) a shutout win over the Eagles (4-5) to reach the sectional semifinals.

Dennis caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Juwan Wilkins on a quick screen to give Long Branch a 6-0 lead, and Gordon returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 12-0. A safety put the Green Wave up 14-0 and Corbett added a 10-yard touchdown run with six minutes left.

It is the second time this season Long Branch has blanked Middletown South. The Green Wave won 21-0 during the regular season.

Long Branch will host seventh-seeded Jackson Memorial (6-4) in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

 

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP III

1-Rumson-Fair Haven 35, 8-Lawrence 6

Senior running back Peter Lucas ran for three touchdowns and junior fullback Alex Maldjian ran for two touchdowns as the Bulldogs (8-1) moved one step closer to a fifth straight state title by defeating the Cardinals (5-5).

Rumson awaits the winner of Saturday's game between fifth-seeded Wall and fourth-seeded Steinert.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP II

1-Point Boro 41, 8-Raritan 12

Senior quarterback James Fara ran for 170 yards and four touchdowns on 11 carries and senior running back Brandon Cipriano ran for 130 yards and a touchdown on five carries as the Panthers (10-0) stormed past the Rockets (4-5) to advance to the semifinals.

LInebacker Garett Romer had 11 tackles, including one hit for a loss, while defensive lineman Trent LiVolsi had eight tackles with one for a loss and defensive lineman Anthony Bonavita had five tackles, one hit for a loss and a sack to lead Point Boro's defense.

Dan VanMeerbeke threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Nick Kenneally to give Raritan a 6-0 lead early in the second quarter, but Point Boro would respond with four straight touchdowns to take a 27-6 halftime lead. Fara scored on a 40-yard touchdown run before Cipriano broke a 90-yard touchdown run. Fara followed with an 81-yard touchdown run and then a 2-yard score before the half.

Fara's 10-yard touchdown run made it 34-6 and senior fullback Tanner Gordon scored on a 7-yard run to stretch Point Boro's edge to 42-6. A 1-yard touchdown run by Raritan junior P.J. Buccine provided the final score of the game.

Point Boro will host fourth-seeded Manasquan in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

Raritan will close out its season against Holmdel on Thanksgiving.

 

5-Manasquan 41, 4-Roselle 8

Senior running back Connor Morgan ran for 97 yards and four touchdowns and junior linebacker Jack Fabean returned a fumble for a touchdown as part of a stout defensive effort as the defending-champion Warriors (6-3) trounced the Rams (6-3) to advance to the semifinals.

Senior quarterback Tommy Antonucci threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout James Pendergist during a first half when Manasquan built a 27-0 lead. Manasquan's starting defense kept Roselle off the board, and the Warriors altogether limited the Rams to 116 yards of offense.

Manasquan will travel across the Manasquan River to face former Thanksgiving rival Point Boro (10-0) in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

3-A.L. Johnson 34, 6-Holmdel 6

The Hornets, who were making their first playoff appearance since 2007, fell to the Crusaders in the first round. Holmdel (5-4) will host Raritan on Thanksgiving in its season finale.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP I

7-Point Beach 22, 2-Manville 14

The Garnet Gulls (6-4) rallied from a 14-0 halftime deficit to take down the Mustangs (7-2) and reach the semifinals for the second straight season and fifth time in the last seven years.

The victory was also the 200th career win for Point Beach head coach John Wagner, split between his time at Roselle Park and Point Beach.

Senior John Nista ran for 142 yards and the deciding touchdown with 35 seconds left in regulation while Point Beach's defense forced five turnovers to key the second-half comeback that saw the Gulls score 22 unanswered points. Senior running back Chris Webber ran for 65 yards and a touchdown and senior quarterback Luke Frauenheim threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Josh Yates on fourth-and-goal.

Nista finished with a team-high 142 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries while also making seven tackles with two sacks and two tackles for a loss. Webber added 85 yards rushing and a touchdown on 14 carries, plus a 2-point conversion run, and also recorded two sacks on defense.

Frauenheim had two interceptions on defense while Jason Sherlock also had an interception and Brad Parry recovered a fumble.

Yates' touchdown catch in the third quarter started the comeback, and following a fumble recovery on the kickoff that gave Point Beach the ball at the Manville 32-yard line, Webber scored on a 6-yard run to tie the score at 14.

Frauenheim's second interception of the game gave Point Beach the ball at midfield and set up the game-winning touchdown. Nista's 2-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion run put the Garnet Gulls ahead for good.

Point Beach will be back on the road in Somerset County next Friday when it takes on third-seeded Bound Brook (8-2) in the semifinals.

 

1-Burlington City 28, 8-Asbury Park 6

Junior Haughton had a 1-yard touchdown run for the Blue Bishops (5-4), who were eliminated from the postseason by the Blue Devils (8-1).

Asbury Park will conclude its season with a Thanksgiving Day game against Neptune (0-9) in the Friendship Bowl.

 

4-Middlesex 28, 5-Shore 6

 

SOUTH JERSEY GROUP V

4-Howell 31, 5-Cherokee 17

Senior quarterback Eddie Morales came through with another big effort in a playoff game by throwing for 202 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown as the Rebels (9-1) knocked off the Chiefs (6-3) to get back to the semifinals.

Senior Naseim Brantley had a clutch 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and also had a 55-yard touchdown run. Morales tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Wilson and ran for an 8-yard touchdown. Senior Pat Handy kicked a 32-yard field, was 4-for-4 on extra points and led the team with four receptions for 79 yards.

Brantley and Morales also had interceptions on defense while Steve Cannon made a team-high nine tackles. Wendell Wright had a fumble recovery and Gerard Urso had a sack.

After a scoreless first quarter, Morales connected with Wilson for a 27-yard score that gave Howell a 7-0 lead. Cherokee responded with a scoring drive to tie the score at seven, but Brantley's kickoff return touchdown re-ignited the home crowd and put the Rebels up for good. Morales's 8-yard touchdown run put Howell in front, 21-7 before Andy Walters threw a touchdown pass to Wayne Davenport to pull Cherokee to within 21-14.

Brantley's 55-yard touchdown run extended Howell's lead to 28-14 and Handy's field goal made it 31-14. Cherokee added a field goal to account for the final scoring margin.

Howell will travel to Medford on Friday, Nov. 17 to face top-seeded Lenape (8-1) in the semifinals.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP IV

6-Hammonton 21, 3-Central 6

 

NON-PUBLIC GROUP III

4-St. John Vianney 45, 5-Camden Catholic 40

A touchdown run by senior Zyaire Sterling put the Lancers (10-0) up by a touchdown and a 40-yard score by senior running back Johnny Buchanan extended the lead as St. John Vianney held off the Fighting Irish (7-2) to reach the state semifinals for the fourth straight season.

Buchanan had a huge game with a career-high 290 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 29 carries while Sterling ran for 70 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Senior Josiah Walker added a 20-yard touchdown run and Will Forman kicked a 19-yard field goal.

St. John Vianney built a 21-0 lead on two touchdown runs by Sterling and another by Walker before Camden Catholic got on the board with a 38-yard touchdown pass from Rob McCoy to Dante Klett.

The Lancers led 21-7 at halftime, but Camden Catholic quickly made it a one-score game when Hakim Melvin returned the third-quarter kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Marcus Hillman then scored on a 56-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 21.

A 1-yard touchdown run by Buchanan, set up by his own 56-yard run, put SJV back up, 28-21, but Camden Catholic would respond to tie the score on a McCoy touchdown pass to Mike Suarez.

Sterling's third touchdown run of the game put SJV up 35-28, but again Camden Catholic would answer as Hillman scored on an 11-yard run. The Irish went for the 2-point conversion and the lead, but the Lancers stopped them short to maintain a 35-34 lead. Buchanan then padded the lead with a 40-yard touchdown run and Forman kicked a field goal with one minute left. Camden Catholic scored a late touchdown.

St. John Vianney will travel to Wayne next Friday to take on top-seeded DePaul (6-3) in the semifinals.

 

SATURDAY, NOV. 11

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP IV

8-Freehold 51, 1-Nottingham 34

Senior quarterback Ashante Worthy had another unconscious game with 406 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 32 carries while throwing for 198 yards on 14-of-17 passing to lead the Colonials (7-3) to a wild victory over the Northstars (8-2).

Worthy had touchdown runs of 2, 7, 71, 23, 58, 64 and 3 yards to reach 51 combined touchdowns this year and set a new Shore Conference single-season record. Worthy also now leads the state in rushing yards with 2,447 yards. He needs 143 yards to break the Shore Conference single-season rushing record of 2,589 yards set by Long Branch's Dahmiere Willis in 2014. He is also 369 yards away from the state single-season rushing mark of 2,815 yards set by Salem's Jonathan Taylor last season. Taylor is now the starting running back at the University of Wisconsin.

His 71-yard touchdown was unreal as he broke two tackles in the backfield, stayed on his feet after another broken tackle, spun away from a defender, broke another tackle and zig-zagged the rest of the way to the end zone.

Junior wide receiver Matt Krauss caught six passes for 95 yards and junior kicker Jake Hurler added a 25-yard field goal.

Nottingham running back Diontae Nicholson ran for 233 yards and four touchdowns and fullback Eric D'Heron ran for 133 yards and a touchdown for Nottingham.

Freehold will head to Keller Memorial Field on Friday, Nov. 17 to face fifth-seeded Brick in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY GROUP III

5-Wall 49, 4-Steinert 41

Senior running back Brady McNally had a career day with over 300 yards rushing and five touchdowns as the Crimson Knights (5-4) started fast and held off a furious rally by the Spartans to reach the semifinals.

McNally had touchdown runs of 49 and 41 yards in the first quarter sandwiched around a 17-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Eddie Scott as Wall jumped out to a 21-0 lead.

Steinert got on the board with a 69-yard touchdown run by Jordan Morrison, but Wall came right back to take a 28-7 lead when McNally busted loose for an 87-yard touchdown run. McNally added another touchdown run to close the first half with 250 yards rushing and four touchdowns as Wall owned a 35-7 lead.

Steinert mounted a comeback that began with returning the third-quarter kickoff for a touchdown and then adding another touchdown to make it 35-21. Wall increased its lead to 42-21 when Scott connected with senior Tim McKernan for a 65-yard touchdown pass.

Steinert would score two straight touchdowns to close the gap to 42-35 heading to the fourth quarter, but McNally's fifth touchdown run gave Wall a 49-35 lead which it was able to hold onto.

Wall will face top-seeded Rumson-Fair Haven in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

3-Monmouth 21, 6-Carteret 7

Anthony Guarino had a 35-yard touchdown run and Devon Johnson caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Convery in the first half as the Falcons (7-3) won their second playoff game in program history by downing the Ramblers (4-5).

Convery later connected with Johnson again for a 42-yard touchdown. Senior running back Ian Fitzgerald ran for a game-high 107 yards on 26 carries.

Monmouth will face second-seeded Somerville (9-1) in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17

 

SOUTH JERSEY GROUP III

6-Lakewood 22, 3-Lacey 14

Senior quarterback Zyheir Jones ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries and threw for 111 yards and a touchdown to lead the Piners (5-4) to a victory over the Lions (7-3) in the first round of the playoffs.

Jones had an 11-yard touchdown with 5:56 left in the first half to give Lakewood at 14-7 halftime lead. After an interception by his twin brother, Jyheir, Jones found Myles Jackson for a 33-yard touchdown pass and converted the 2-point play to give the Piners a 22-7 lead.

A 10-yard touchdown run by senior running back Jason Giresi pulled Lace to within 22-14 with 44 seconds left in the third quarter, but Lakewood's defense was able to hold the advantage for the program's first playoff win since 2013.

Lakewood will travel to Camden on Saturday, Nov. 18 to face second-seeded Woodrow Wilson (7-2).

 

NON-PUBLIC GROUP III

3-St. Joseph (Montvale) 49, 6-Red Bank Catholic 13

 

2-Pope John 53, 7-Donovan Catholic 7

Yassin Moore had a 7-yard touchdown run to provide the only points for the Griffins (3-6), who were soundly defeated by the Lions (6-3).

Donovan will close out its season against Manchester (3-6) on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

NON-PUBLIC GROUP II

3-Mater Dei Prep 42, 6-Holy Cross 22

Sophomore running back Malik Ingram had four touchdown runs and senior quarterback George Pearson threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to senior Kyle Devaney to lead the defending-champion Seraphs (7-1) past the Lancers (5-5).

Mater Dei will play at second-seeded Holy Spirit (9-1) in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 17.

 

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