The Jeep Store Football Top 10, 11/14/17
There are now just two full weeks left in the Shore Conference football season plus the handful of games the week of Thanksgiving, and we have 16 teams left standing after the NJSIAA section quarterfinals this past weekend.
Eight of last week’s ranked teams emerged victorious and advanced to their respective semifinal games with the two exceptions being Brick Memorial and Red Bank Catholic. In the second meeting in as many weeks between the Class A South rivals, Jackson Memorial upended the Mustangs, 22-14, to reach the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.
Red Bank Catholic was a big underdog on the road against defending Non-Public Group III champion St. Joseph (Montvale), and the Caseys fell, 49-12, to end their season. At 8-2 the Caseys certainly remain in the top 10, but do not retain their spot from last week.
With previous No. 9 Brick Memorial going down there is also one new team in the top 10 this week. Manasquan’s defense has been tremendous this season and was at it again in a 44-8 wipeout of Roselle in the first round of the playoffs, earning the Warriors a spot in the rankings for the first time since the preseason.
Records continue to fall at the hands of Manalapan’s Naim Mayfield and Freehold’s Ashante Worthy, who were incredible again to lead their respective teams to victory. Mayfield set the Shore Conference single-season rushing and total touchdown record with five scores against Perth Amboy while Worthy was unreal in a win over Nottingham with a single-game record 635 combined yards between rushing and passing, plus seven touchdowns to set the single-season combined record with 51.
St. John Vianney used a career night from running back Johnny Buchanan to get past Camden Catholic in Non-Public Group III, Rumson cruised to a win over Lawrence in Central Jersey Group III and Howell got big performances across the board for an impressive win over Cherokee in South Jersey Group V.
Mater Dei began its title defense in Non-Public Group II with an easy win over Holy Cross, Long Branch shut out Middletown South for the second time this season and Point Boro rolled over Raritan to remain undefeated.
Along with Jackson Memorial, a few teams outside the top 10 earned big victories. Freehold Township clipped North Brunswick for the first playoff win in program history, Monmouth won its first home playoff game in program history, Lakewood avenged a regular-season loss to Lacey to reach the South Jersey Group III semifinals and Wall won a shootout over Steinert thanks to a career day from running back Brady McNally.
There will be five semifinal matchups pitting Shore Conference teams against one another this weekend, so the rankings could undergo a facelift next week. The season is in the home stretch, but there’s a lot still to be determined.
1. Manalapan (10-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior running back Naim Mayfield ran for 256 yards and five touchdowns and senior wideout Symir Blacknall added a touchdown run while the Braves’ defense was suffocating in a 42-0 victory over Perth Amboy in the first round of the Central Jersey Group V playoffs. Mayfield now has 41 touchdowns, 40 of which are rushing scores, to break the Shore Conference single-season records for both which were previously held by Middletown South’s Knowshon Moreno, who had 37 rushing touchdowns and 40 total scores in 2004. Mayfield now has 2,370 yards rushing this season, leaving him 220 yards shy of breaking the Shore Conference single-season mark of 2,589 set by Long Branch’s Dahmiere Willis. The modern state record is 2,815 set by Salem’s Jonathan Taylor last season, so Mayfield is also within striking distance of breaking that record. Next game: Friday vs. Freehold Township (8-2) in the Central Jersey Group V semifinals.
2. St. John Vianney (10-0). Last week: No. 2
Senior Johnny Buchanan ran for a career-high 294 yards and scored two touchdowns while also making 11 tackles, and senior Zyaire Sterling ran for 71 yards and three touchdowns as the Lancers held off Camden Catholic for a 45-40 win in the first round of the Non-Public Group III playoffs. Senior Josiah Walker added 50 yards rushing and a touchdown as the SJV offensive line paved the way for 439 yards on the ground. Walker also made 11 tackles with four hits for a loss. Next game: Friday at DePaul (6-3) in the Non-Public Group III semifinals.
3. Rumson-Fair Haven (8-1). Last week: No. 3
Senior running back Peter Lucas ran for 134 yards and three touchdowns in 14 carries and junior fullback Alex Maldjian added a pair of touchdown runs as the Bulldogs defeated Lawrence, 35-8, in the first round of the Central Jersey Group III playoffs. The two-time defending champions in the bracket and winners of four straight sectional titles overall are two wins away from becoming the second Shore Conference program to win five straight NJSIAA sectional championships. Next game: Friday vs. Wall (5-4) in the Central Jersey Group III semifinals.
4. Howell (9-1). Last week: No. 5
Senior quarterback Eddie Morales threw for 202 yards and a touchdown, ran for 89 yards and a score and had an interception on defense as the Rebels topped Cherokee, 31-17, in the first round of the South Jersey Group V playoffs. Senior Nasiem Brantley delivered a clutch 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and also had a 55-yard touchdown run and an interception on defense. Brandon Wilson had a 27-yard touchdown catch and Pat Handy kicked a 32-yard field goal and made eight tackles. Next game: Friday at Lenape (8-1) in the South Jersey Group V semifinals.
5. Red Bank Catholic (8-2). Last week: No. 5
The Caseys saw their bounce-back season come to an end with a 49-13 defeat at the hands of defending Non-Public Group III champion St. Joseph (Montvale). Next game: Season complete.
6. Mater Dei Prep (7-1). Last week: No. 6
Sophomore running back Malik Ingram had four touchdown runs and senior quarterback George Pearson had 300 yards of offense and a touchdown pass to lead the defending-champion Seraphs to a 42-22 win over Holy Cross in the Non-Public Group II quarterfinals. Next game: Friday at Holy Spirit (8-1) in the Non-Public Group II semifinals.
7. Freehold (7-3). Last week: No. 7
Senior quarterback Ashante Worthy was breathtaking in leading the eighth-seeded Colonials to a 51-34 win over top-seeded Nottingham in the Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinals by rushing for 419 yards and seven touchdowns and throwing for 216 yards for a Shore Conference-record 635 combined yards. Worthy now has a Shore Conference single-season record 51 touchdowns combined between rushing and passing to set surpass the 44 total touchdowns by Mater Dei Prep quarterback Christian Palmer in 2014 and Toms River North quarterback Mike Husni in 2016. Worthy now has 2,459 yards rushing this season to leave him 131 yards away from breaking the Shore Conference single-season record of 2,589 set by Long Branch’s Dahmiere Willis in 2014. With 1,848 yards passing he is on the verge of becoming the first player in state history to rush and throw for 2,000 yards each in a single season. Junior wideout Matt Krauss caught seven passes for 125 yards and Jake Hurler kicked a 25-yard field goal. Next game: Friday at Brick (6-4) in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.
8. Point Boro (10-0). Last week: No. 8
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 just five carries as the Panthers remained undefeated with a 41-12 win over Raritan in the Central Jersey Group II quarterfinals. Cipriano had a 90-yard touchdown run and Fara had touchdown runs of 40, 81, 2 and 10 yards. Senior fullback Tanner Gordon added a 7-yard touchdown run and linebacker Garrett Romer had a team-high 11 tackles. Next game: Friday vs. No. 10 Manasquan (6-3) in the Central Jersey Group II semifinals.
9. Long Branch (7-2). Last week: No. 10
Sophomore running back Jermaine Corbett ran for 168 yards and a touchdown, Jah’Kwan Gordon returned a fumble 60 yards for a touchdown and Juwan Wilkins threw a touchdown pass to Marc Dennis as the Green Wave shut out Middletown South, 20-0, in the Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinals. It was Long Branch’s second shutout against the Eagles this season as they won 21-0 during the regular season. Next game: Friday vs. Jackson Memorial (6-4) in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.
10. Manasquan (6-3). Last week: not ranked
Senior running back Connor Morgan ran for 100 yards and four touchdowns and Manasquan’s defense dominated Roselle in a 44-8 win in the first round of the Central Jersey Group II playoffs. Junior linebacker Jack Fabean had 10 tackles and a 34-yard fumble return for a touchdown and senior defensive end Evan Hill had two sacks. Junior James Pendergist caught a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Tommy Antonucci and also had an interception on defense. Next game: Friday at No. 7 Point Boro (10-0) in the Central Jersey Group II semifinals.
Dropped out: Brick Memorial (No. 9 last week)
Teams to watch:
Jackson Memorial (6-4): Senior quarterback A.J. Tolmachewich tossed touchdown passes to Matt D’Amore and Brandon Hirsch and Leo Shimonovich ran for a 52-yard touchdown as the Jaguars beat Brick Memorial, 22-14, in the Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinals to avenge a 27-21 loss in the regular-season finale. Jackson improved to 13-1 all-time against Shore Conference teams in the playoffs. Next game: Friday at No. 9 Long Branch (7-2) in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals.
Freehold Township (8-2): Mike Cenname ran for 126 yards and a touchdown, Pat Laricy had a touchdown catch from Nick Reardon and Colin Taptich kicked a 29-yard field goal as the Patriots clipped North Brunswick to win the first playoff game in program history. The Patriots defense made a goal-line stand in the closing seconds to secure the historic victory. Freehold Township also set a program single-season record for wins in a season. Next game: Friday at No. 1 Manalapan (10-0) in the Central Jersey Group V semifinals.
Monmouth (7-3): Anthony Guarino had a touchdown run and Ryan Convery threw two touchdown passes to Devon Johnson to lead the Falcons to the program’s second playoff win in the program’s first home playoff game. Next game: Friday at Somerville (9-1) in the Central Jersey Group III semifinals.
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.