Shore Conference Football Top 10 After Week Eight
Since there will be no games this weekend because of Hurricane Sandy, this will be the Top 10 heading into Week Nine next week.
All Shore Media and the Shore Sports Network extend our thoughts and prayers to everyone suffering from the devastation of the storm. The Shore will rebuild, and hopefully football games can become welcome diversions from reality for everyone in the coming weeks.
Just a reminder to everyone that the NJSIAA has pushed back everything a week because
of the storm. The state playoffs will now begin on Nov. 16-17 and the finals will be Dec. 7-8.
All Shore Media Top 10
- Red Bank Catholic (7-0) – Last week: No. 1.
The Caseys are coming off an impressive 34-7 win over No. 5 Middletown South in a nondivisional game in which junior tailback Larry Redaelli ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns for RBC’s 21st straight win over Shore Conference competition. RBC is tentatively set to host Monmouth (1-6) in a Class A Central game on Friday night. The visiting bleachers are currently on the field at Count Basie Field after being launched on to the turf by the storm.
2. Manalapan (7-0) – Last week: No. 2.
The Braves continue to dominate as they beat Toms River North 42-7 in a nondivisional game thanks to a brilliant game by senior wideout Anthony Firkser, who had two 65-yard punt returns for touchdowns as well as a touchdown catch. Junior tailback Tyler Leonetti chipped in with two touchdowns. The Braves will host winless Howell next week, most likely on Nov. 9., where they can clinch no worse than a tie for their third straight Class A North title and most likely grab the top seed in Central Jersey Group V.
3. Lacey (8-0) – Last week: No. 3.
The Lions won the Class A South title in thrilling fashion, beating Brick 6-3 on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Conor Davies to Bill Belford with no time left in regulation for a walk-off victory. That guaranteed the Lions a state playoff spot and at least one home playoff game in South Jersey Group IV. They now have a game at Brick Memorial in what is essentially meaningless game because it has no division title implications and it doesn’t count toward the power-point standings because it’s the ninth game for both teams. Essentially, it’s a tune-up for the playoffs and a chance for Davies to get more comfortable in his second game as the starter after taking over for injured junior Tom Kelly.
4. Rumson-Fair Haven (7-0) – Last week: No. 4.
The Bulldogs continued their push for a top-three seed in Central Jersey Group II with a 31-14 win over Monmouth in which senior quarterback Danny Roberto threw four touchdown passes, including two to senior wideout John Ryan. The Bulldogs now have a huge game coming up against Manasquan in Class A Central that the Warriors have to have to secure their own state playoff spot. The game is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 10 at Manasquan, and it should be emotional as both teams have players whose families have lost homes and suffered major destruction from the storm.
5. Middletown South (5-2) – Last week: No. 5.
The Eagles’ two losses are now to a pair of unbeaten teams, Manalapan and Red Bank Catholic, after a 34-7 setback against the No. 1 Caseys. We will find out on Nov. 10 if the Eagles should keep this spot when they go to face No. 8 Colts Neck in a big game as far as the Central Jersey Group IV playoff seeding is concerned.
6. Long Branch (7-1) – Last week: No. 6.
The Green Wave won a 24-21 thriller over Matawan thanks to a career-long 34-yard field goal by sophomore Vicente Mota with 4 seconds left in regulation. It marked their fifth straight win and kept them on track to clinch at least a tie for the Class B North title with a win over Red Bank on Thanksgiving. Junior Deon Williams added two touchdowns in a win that vaulted the Green Wave to second in the power-point standings in Central Jersey Group III. They are now off this week and next week because of a bye. That will allow senior tailback Dwight Clark to get ready for his return in the first round of the state playoffs after missing all of the regular season with a broken bone in his ankle. He combines with Williams and senior Joscil Jackson to give Long Branch a lethal running game.
7. Point Beach (8-0) – Last week: No. 7.
The Garnet Gulls continue to roll over everything in their path as they beat Keyport, 42-14, to tie the school single-season record for wins and improve to 8-0 for the first time ever. Keyport had won six straight before Point Beach rolled up 359 yards rushing, including 176 and two touchdowns by senior Danny Tighe, the Shore Conference’s leading rusher. They now have this week and next week off because of a bye as they prepare for the Central Jersey Group I playoffs, where they should have at least two home games. It also is certainly an emotional time in a town hit hard by the hurricane.
8. Colts Neck (6-1) – Last week: No. 8.
The Cougars put themselves in the running for the top-three seed with a 34-0 win over Freehold Township in which seniors Tim Vangelas and Gio Zefferino each had two touchdowns. They can make a big leap to possibly the No. 2 seed with a win at home over No. 5 Middletown South on Nov. 10 in a crucial Class A North team between two teams jockeying for position in CJ IV.
9. Southern (5-2) – Last week: No. 9.
The Rams took care of Jackson Memorial, 20-7, in a Class A South game that cemented them a spot in the South Jersey Group V field. Senior Abe Gonzalez ran for a career-high 185 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the win. The Rams will host Toms River East on Nov. 9 in a Class A South game to keep the momentum going. It has been an especially trying week for this team given the destruction on Long Beach Island, so hopefully football can offer a welcome diversion.
10. Shore Regional (6-1) – Last week: No. 10.
The Blue Devils kept themselves in position to make a run at the top seed in Central Jersey Group I with a 35-18 win over Keansburg in Class B Central. Senior fullback Jack Kelly ran for 115 yards and a touchdown and senior Mark Costantino had a 75-yard kickoff return for a score to power the win. Shore will play at Keyport (6-2) on Nov. 10 in a game it needs to have to make a run at that top seed and stay on pace to meet Point Beach for the Class B Central title on Thanksgiving.
Dropped out: None.
Teams to watch
Neptune (5-2): This team is sitting in the weeds, ready to make its triumphant return in the state playoffs. The Scarlet Fliers had a bye last weekend and are off this week as well before returning to face Wall at home on Nov. 9. They need to have that win for a decent seed in Central Jersey Group III, where they are the defending champions, and they also can clinch no worse than a tie for the Class B North title with a win.
Matawan (5-2): The Huskies were right there with Long Branch until the end before falling 24-21 for a tough loss despite two touchdown passes and a touchdown run by junior quarterback Kashaun Barnes. However, they will still be in the mix in Central Jersey Group III. They will face New Brunswick (1-7) next weekend to get some momentum going into the postseason.
Toms River South (4-3): The Indians have won three straight, including an impressive 41-20 victory over Brick Memorial in Class A South to surpass its wins from the last two seasons combined. The running game with Otis Kearney and quarterback Tymere Berry has been explosive, and the defense has been improved. They now have a monster game coming up next weekend, the annual “Civil War’’ against Toms River North, which is expected to be competitive for the first time in more than a decade. Both teams also really need this for their state playoff hopes.