While there was a little movement in the top ten this week, the top 2 remain the same.  Clearly RBC(4-0) and Manalapan(3-0) are the best in the Shore and are 2 of the top teams in the State.  Let’s look at week 4 action around the Shore.

The spirit leaders of Toms River South (Townsquare Media NJ)

RBC (4-0) used RB Larry Redaelli’s 217 yds. and 4 TDs to cruise to a 63-7 win over Raritan.  The Casey’s have winless Freehold this week, so expect that unbeaten streak to continue.  28 straight against Shore Conference foes, with no signs of letting up.  The Casey’s are averaging 49 ½ points per game—enough said.  They are on a collision course with St. Joseph Montvale(4-0) in Non-Public Group 3.

To show you the difference in schedules of these 2 teams-St Joe’s has 79 power pts. to RBCs 48. Both are 4-0 and a 31 point difference shows you strength of schedules.  Of course RBC has no recourse, they must play the Shore schedule they are given.

St Joe’s has played powerhouse programs in Maryland(DeMatha) and Florida(New Smyrna Beach). Just may be the reason why the Casey’s have not got it done come State time.  But make no mistake, they are the best down here, and wouldn’t everybody in the Shore love to see a RBC/Manalapan matchup.  Only dreaming.

Manalapan(3-0) had its toughest game of this short season against Middletown South and came out a 29-14 victory.   It was a shutout defensive effort in the 2nd half and a powerful ground game that won it for the Braves.  So strong was the defense, the Eagles were held to 36 yds. on the ground(-8 in the 2nd half), while the Braves rolled for 223 yds. rushing.  With their top RB(Tyler Leonetti) out early with an ankle injury, RB Imamu Mayfield ran for a career-high 109 yds. to ease the pain of losing Leonetti.

The Braves now play a Jackson team who is 3-0 and has been one of the surprise teams in the Shore. An Oct. 25th date with unbeaten Colts Neck looms on the minds of all Braves fans.

Brick Memorial coach Walt Currie talking to the Mustangs after win over Toms River East (Townsquare Media NJ)

In our game of the week, Lacey came from behind to defeat TR South 32-24 on Friday night.  It was a familiar scenario for the Indians. A well played 1st half, only to come up empty in the 2nd half.  The combination of mistakes and players going both ways has led to the 2nd half problems for the Indians.  Injuries, mainly to star RB Otis Kearney, certainly haven’t helped the Indians either. With Tymere Berry carrying the load, the Indians are going to need a healthy Kearney to help carry the offense. The Indians will get one of their top players back after their bye week this week.  Russell Messler will return on both sides of the ball for a big contest with Jackson on Oct.18th.

Meanwhile Lacey(4-0) had to deal with injuries of their own,  star QB Tom Kelly sustained a head injury in the 1st quarter and did not return.  The Lions are blessed to have 2 QBs on their roster and QB #2 Conor Davies certainly is very capable.  Davies threw for 206 yds. and 2 TDs in the 2nd half to lead the Lion comeback.

The Lions trailed 21-13 at the half, before Davies, Christian Tutela and RB George Sayer took over the game.  Sayer(2 TDs) had the clincher on a beautiful run up the middle for 14 yds.  The big play of the 2nd half came after Lacey had fought back to trail 21-19 and were faced with a 3rd and 26 from their own 35.

Lacey quarterback Ryan Davie, who guided the Lions to a comeback win over Toms River South, was named Klee’s Bar & Grill/Ocean Trophies Player of the Game (Townsquare Media NJ)

Out of the playbook came the hook and lateral, executed by Davies, Mike Bocchini and Christian Tutela to perfection and a 40+ yard gain. The Lions never looked back after that play.  Lacey, who has been defense deficient, came up big in this contest and remain unbeaten on the year.

Attended the game between TR East(0-4) and Brick Memorial(2-2) on Sat. afternoon.  Brick Memorial was playing without their star Mike Basile  for the 2nd week in a row, but they managed to run for 264 yards in the flex bone offense.  This was a game that each team tried to give away, as East turned it over twice and Memorial 3 times. With Basile scheduled to return this week, the Stangs will get a much added lift on both sides of the ball.

They have a huge playoff type game this week with Neptune(2-2). Playoff type because neither team could afford a loss if they want to make the playoffs just 4 weeks away.  Although the rules now permit teams below .500 to qualify, these 2 teams, in my opinion, need at least 4 wins to qualify.  So it becomes a huge game for both.  Neptune beat Matawan 23-13 this past week.

By the way, what’s happening in Toms River?  For the 2nd week in a row no wins for any of the 3 high schools in town, and 2 of the schools North and East are winless at 0-4. South is 2-2, but has lost their last 2 games. This town is not used to losing and attendance at both East and North has suffered.  You can’t say that about South, as a packed house is the usual at Detwiler Stadium.

Congrats to the other remaining unbeaten teams—Colts Neck(4-0), Barnegat(4-0), Rumson(4-0), Jackson(3-0) and Ocean(4-0).  All 5, along with Lacey, Manalapan and RBC should qualify for playoffs in their Groups.  Yes it’s never too early to start thinking playoffs in New Jersey. With a possible new system in the works for 2014, there’s nothing new this year, from last year.

The new plan, centers on playing out to an overall group winner.  Voting on that will occur  soon by a State wide vote of all schools.  More on the State tournament to follow in future weeks.

This week’s Top Ten:

1-Red Bank Catholic (4-0)  Put up 63 points and are rolling along.  Winless Freehold this week.

2-Manalapan (3-0) Big obstacle out of way with their win over Mid South. The 29-14 win was the 4th straight over the Eagles.  Jackson(3-0) up next.

3-Lacey (4-0) The Lions move back to #3 with their win over TRS-32-24.  Status of QB Tom Kelly a concern for Lions.  Winless Manchester up next.

4-Barnegat (4-0) I think the Bengals are a top 5 team.  They can throw it and run it with the best of them.  Defense will define their run at a championship.  Next up is a B-South Championship game with Central in 2 weeks.

5-Ocean (4-0) The “Big Red” keep rolling along.  An out of area win against JFK(42-7) with Tyler Thompson(162 yds./4 TDs) coming up big.  Winless Red Bank this Friday.

6-Middletown South (2-1) Tough loss to Manalapan drops the Eagles a little in top ten, but they must regroup quickly as they get a tough Manasquan(3-1) team on the road.

7-Colts Neck (4-0) Still unscored on this year, their big games are coming.

8-Rumson (4-0) The Bulldogs don’t play RBC in A-Central until Turkey Day.

9-Brick (3-1) The Dragons won at Southern(13-7) on Friday night.  Not an easy thing to do. Still unbeaten in A-South.  Have a big non-divisional game with 3-1 Wall this week.

10-Jackson Mem .(3-0) Has a chance to really move up as they get Manalapan this week.

Just outside Top Ten:

Manasquan (3-1) Get Mid South this week at home.

Shore (3-1) Beat previously unbeaten South River 45-0 last week.

Point Beach (3-1) took down previously unbeaten Mater Dei Prep 40-14.

Join us Thursday at Water Street Grill for High School Football talk at 7-8:30pm.  Joining us live  this week will be Barnegat head coach Rob Davis and his 2-way lineman Greg Moran and Manalapan’s HC Ed Gurrieri and one of his star players.

Can’t make it down? Listen on 1057TheHawk.com  or on the ShoreSportsNetwork.com

Game of week takes us to Brick(3-1) for a non-divisional game with Wall(3-1)—Friday night at 7pm.