Week 7 produced an epic game between two longtime rivals meeting for the first time in five years, and the result nearly saw a change at the top of the Shore Sports Network Top 10 for the first time this season. But in the end, top-ranked Red Bank Catholic held on a wild 14-13 win over No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven to remain undefeated.

The top four in the Top 10 remain the same heading into the final week of the regular season as both the Caseys and Bulldogs remain at No. 1 and No. 3, respectively. No. 2 Mater Dei Prep continued to blow the doors off its opponents by surging past Donovan Catholic, 48-12, while No. 4 Long Branch secured an impressive 34-0 victory over a solid Manalapan team that was ranked 10th last week.

There was one major upset involving ranked teams in Week 7, however, as St. John Vianney scored its biggest win of the season by shutting out fifth-ranked Middletown South, 9-0. It was the first loss of the season within the conference by the Eagles, who remain in the rankings thanks to their resume but tumble three spots down the list. SJV is still under .500 but it’s a win that makes us take notice with the postseason looming.

Red Bank, whose only defeat this season is to Red Bank Catholic, is the biggest beneficiary with a two-spot leap to No. 5. Idle Manasquan, which has only lost to Mater Dei, holds at No. 6 while Brick moves up a spot to No. 7 after a 24-7 victory over rival Jackson Memorial. Aforementioned Middletown South comes in at No. 8 ahead of Toms River North, which it defeated, 14-13, in Week 5.

The one new team this week is Holmdel, which is in our rankings for the first time since 2007. The Hornets are 6-1 following a 43-3 win over Point Beach that clinched the National Division title and their only loss is a 28-26 setback to Red Bank.

Week 8 features one ranked matchup as Middletown South hosts Rumson on Friday night as both will try to bounce back from defeats last week. Other highlight games include Long Branch at Brick Memorial, Holmdel at Raritan in the Border War and Ocean at Manasquan. 

 

1. Red Bank Catholic (7-0). Last week: No. 1

A blocked extra point by senior Jaden Key was the signature play in a wild final five minutes as the Caseys held on to defeat Rumson, 14-13, in an instant classic between the former longtime Thanksgiving rivals. Senior quarterback Steve Lubischer threw touchdown passes to M.J. Wright and Sean Rossback while Key, Gino Tartamella and Anthony Romano had interceptions on defense. This week: Friday vs. Middletown North (1-5).

 

2. Mater Dei Prep (8-0). Last week: No. 2

Junior running back Malik Ingram ran for 135 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries and senior quarterback Rob McCoy threw for 201 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Seraphs to a 48-12 win over Donovan Catholic, their 18th straight win against Shore Conference teams. Senior wide receiver Isaiah Alston caught seven passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns and junior Isaiah Noguera had a touchdown run and a touchdown catch. This week: Saturday vs. Cheshire Academy (CT) (4-2).

  

3. Rumson-Fair Haven (6-1). Last week: No. 3

The Bulldogs fell to rival Red Bank Catholic, 14-13, in an instant classic to suffer their first loss of the season. Senior running back Alex Maldjian ran for 203 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, including an 84-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that pulled the Bulldogs within one point. Senior linebacker Keegan Woods made 18 tackles and recorded a sack, sophomore safety Ryan Ruane had an interception and sophomore defensive lineman Von Factor forced a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Christian Lanzalotto. This week: Friday at No. 8 Middletown South (5-2).

  

4. Long Branch (6-1). Last week: No. 4 

Junior running back Jermaine Corbett ran for a career-high 320 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Marc Dennis tossed a pair of touchdown passes as the Green Wave blanked Manalapan, 34-0. Corbett had scoring runs of 15 and five yards, senior Qua’Zahun Dennis had a touchdown catch and a touchdown run and senior Matt Clarke had a touchdown reception. This week: Friday at Brick Memorial (3-4).

 

5. Red Bank (6-1). Last week: No. 7 

Junior running back Makai Mickens ran for 189 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries and senior Kashaun Turner had a touchdown run plus a sack and two tackles for loss to lead the Bucs to a 19-0 win over Monmouth. Chris Maida kicked a 29-yard field goal and Jack Niesz had an interception on defense. This week: The Bucs have a bye in Week 8 and await their position in the NJSIAA Group 3 playoffs.

  

6. Manasquan (5-1). Last week: No. 6 

The Warriors had a bye in Week 7 and will try to bounce back from a 41-0 loss to No. 2 Mater Dei Prep when they return to action on Saturday afternoon. A win this week could secure a top-two seed in the Central Jersey Group 2 bracket. This week: Saturday vs. Ocean (4-4).

  

7. Brick (5-2). Last week: No. 8 

Junior quarterback Anthony Prato threw for 182 yards and a touchdown and ran for 105 yards and a touchdown as the Dragons beat rival Jackson Memorial, 24-7. Prato threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to senior Jimmy Leblo and ran for a 2-yard score. Leblo caught three passes for 127 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a 5-yard touchdown run. Senior Jake Wynkoop added a 30-yard field goal. This week: Friday vs. Lakewood (0-7).

  

8. Middletown South (5-2). Last week: No. 5

The Eagles suffered their first loss within the conference this season when they were upset by St. John Vianney, 9-0. They will try to rebound this week but will have to do so against third-ranked Rumson. This week: Friday vs. No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven (6-1).

 

9. Toms River North (5-2). Last week: No. 9  

Sophomore quarterback Jake Kazanowsky threw five touchdown passes for the second time this season to lead the Mariners to a 48-7 win over rival Toms River East. Dominick Jacob had two touchdown receptions while Will Marsh, Dashawn Wilder and Aaron Craig had one touchdown catch apiece. Junior running back Jarrod Pruitt and sophomore running back Jordan Grey added touchdown run. This week: Saturday vs. Southern (3-4).

 

10. Holmdel (6-1). Last week: not ranked 

Senior running back Dean Gallo ran for 119 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries and senior quarterback Jeff DeCicco threw for 75 yards and two touchdowns as the Hornets beat Point Beach, 43-3, to clinch the National Division title. Gallo had touchdown runs of 68 and 2 yards and DeCicco threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Day and a 66-yard touchdown pass to Aidan Flanagan. Senior wide receiver Mack Byrne added a 66-yard touchdown run and Nick Fanzini had a 12-yard touchdown run. This week: Friday at Raritan (5-2).

  

Dropped out: Manalapan (No. 10 last week)

 

Teams to watch: 

Barnegat (6-1) 

Raritan (5-2) 

Shore (5-2)

 

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