The Jeep Store Football Top 10, 9/26/17
The third full week of the Shore Conference football season saw one ranked team fall, a total of 14* teams remain unbeaten and one team go from 1-1 to 0-2 before any games were even played.
The big news of last week came before any game was kicked off, as Freehold’s Week 1 victory over Freehold Township (46-20) was changed to a forfeit after Freehold self-reported its use of an ineligible player. The Colonials were ranked No. 9 in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 heading into Week 3, but even though they won 42-0 over Neptune, they drop from the rankings with a 1-2 record. Freehold Township, meanwhile, is now one of those unbeaten teams at 3-0.
Middletown North also falls out of the Top 10 after its second straight loss. Both of the Lions’ defeats have come to teams ranked in the top five, so the case can be made that even with a 1-2 record they belong in the rankings. It’s tough to do that when there are still a bunch other teams knocking on the door, however. Plus, playing in Class B North means the Lions will have plenty of opportunities to jump back in.
Freehold and Middletown North exiting means two teams will be making their debut in the 2017 SSN Top 10. Brick has emerged as the top team in Class A South and gets the nod after a 20-0 win over Toms River North. The surprise team of the season has been Monmouth, which is 4-0 for the first time since 2006 after a 14-13 win over Matawan. The Falcons jump in ahead of their biggest test of the season so far.
Aside from Howell, which edged Middletown North, 28-26 in a very entertaining Saturday night game, the rest of the ranked teams all won in convincing fashion in Week 3. There are games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week with a bevy of nondivisional and nonconference games, including ranked battles between Brick and St. John Vianney, and Monmouth and Point Boro. A pair of key division games take place, as well, with Freehold taking on top-ranked Manalapan in Class A North and unbeatens Wall and Long Branch tangling in Class B North.
1. Manalapan (3-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior running back Naim Mayfield ran for 234 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries and senior Symir Blacknall had a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the Braves’ 34-13 victory over Old Bridge. Four Manalapan defenders had 15 or more tackles, led by senior defensive end Antonio Deieso making 20 stops. Next game: Thursday vs. Freehold (1-2).
2. St. John Vianney (3-0). Last week: No. 2
The Lancers ran their Shore Conference winning streak to 32 games with a 31-7 victory over Red Bank. Senior quarterback Haaziq Daniels threw touchdown passes to Sam East and Josiah Walker, and senior Johnny Buchanan ran for 86 yards and two scores while also making 15 tackles. Walker also had a standout game on defense with nine tackles, including four for loss. Senior defensive end Nick Densieski had a pair of sacks. Next game: Friday vs. No. 9 Brick (3-0).
3. Red Bank Catholic (3-0). Last week: No. 3
Senior running back Zack Bair had a monster game with 187 yards rushing and four touchdowns on just 10 carries to lead a 482-yard offensive showing in a 47-0 victory over Ocean. Junior quarterback Steve Lubischer threw for 166 yards and a touchdown to Jaden Key, while also running for a touchdown, and Billy Guidetti also scored on the ground. Next game: Friday at Colonia (2-1).
4. Mater Dei Prep (2-0). Last week: No. 4
The Seraphs extended their winning streak to 14 games as senior quarterback George Pearson threw for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 8 of 10 passing, Kyle Devaney caught four passes for 71 yards and a score and Sincere Saunders ran for 64 yards and two touchdowns on just four carries in a 44-14 victory over Keyport. Isaiah Noguera had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown and John Closs returned a blocked punt 12 yards for a score. Next game: Saturday vs. Canada Prep.
5. Howell (3-0). Last week: No. 5
Senior quarterback Eddie Morales threw for 245 yards and four touchdowns on 20 of 23 passing and senior wide receiver Naseim Brantley caught eight passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-26 victory over Middletown North. Brandon Wilson also had a touchdown catch and Gerard Urso made a key stop on a Middletown North 2-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. Next game: Thursday vs. Toms River North (0-3).
6. Rumson-Fair Haven (2-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior running back Peter Lucas ran for 239 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries and junior linebacker Christian Lanzalotto had 14 tackles plus an interception return for a touchdown in a 40-24 victory over Holmdel. Quarterback Dan Harby threw for 139 yards and a touchdown to tight end Ian O’Connor, and also ran for a touchdown. Junior linebacker Keegan Woods made 18 tackles and recovered a fumble and senior defensive end Elijah McAllister made his season debut with three sacks and a forced fumble. Next game: Friday vs. Middletown South (2-1).
7. Long Branch (2-0). Last week: No. 7
Sophomore running back Jermaine Colbert erupted for 250 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 19 carries as the Green Wave returned from their bye week to defeat Colts Neck, 43-13. Senior quarterback Juwan Wilkins threw for 150 yards and touchdowns to T.J. Fosque and Pasa Fields, and Paul Montague kicked a 20-yard field goal. Next game: Friday at Wall (3-0).
8. Point Boro (3-0). Last week: No. 8
Senior running back Brandon Cipriano ran for 103 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries and senior quarterback James Fara ran for 187 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries as the Panthers ran for 356 yards in a 34-20 win over Donovan Catholic. Nathan Chiarello added 53 yards and a touchdown in his second game filling in for injured starting fullback Tanner Gordon. Senior safety Trevor McNamara led the defensive effort with 10 tackles. Next game: Friday vs. No. 10 Monmouth (4-0).
9. Brick (3-0). Last week: not ranked
Junior quarterback Jimmy Leblo threw a pair of touchdown passes to junior wide out Cole Groschel and also ran for a touchdown in a 20-0 victory over Toms River North that pushed the Dragons’ record to 3-0 and earned them a spot in the Top 10. Next game: Friday at No. 2 St. John Vianney (3-0).
10. Monmouth (4-0). Last week: not ranked
To say the Falcons have been a surprise would be a major understatement. After going 2-8 last season, Monmouth is now 4-0 for the first since 2006 under first-year head coach Larry Nikola. They snapped a 21-game losing streak against Matawan dating back to 1963(!) by edging the Huskies, 14-13. Senior Ian Fitzgerald ran for a touchdown and Dayshawn Porter threw a 93-yard touchdown pass to Devon Johnson. Next game: Friday at No. 8 Point Boro (3-0).
Dropped out: Freehold (LW: No. 9), Middletown North (LW: No. 10).
Teams to watch:
Wall (3-0): Senior quarterback Eddie Scott threw two touchdown passes to junior tight end Tanner Powers and another to senior running back Chevesse Covin, and senior Brady McNally returned an interception for a touchdown in a 28-10 win over Raritan. Next game: Friday vs. No. 7 Long Branch (2-0).
Point Beach (3-0): Senior quarterback Luke Frauenheim ran for 116 yards and a touchdown and threw for 101 yards and a touchdown, and senior running back Chris Webber ran for 121 yards and a touchdown as the Garnet Gulls rallied for a 22-19 win over Asbury Park. Next game: Friday vs. Middlesex (2-1).
Barnegat (3-0): Junior tight end Sean Morris had another big game with five catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-20 win over Manchester. Junior quarterback Brian Finucan completed 8 of 10 passes for 193 yards and junior running back Charlie Cotton ran for 126 yards on 24 carries. Next game: Saturday at Manasquan (1-2).
Middletown South (2-1): The Eagles’ defense rose to the occasion in a 10-7 win over Manasquan, as senior linebacker Jake Krellin made 14 tackles (3 for loss) and forced a fumble, and defensive back Matt Cruz made a game-clinching interception. Senior quarterback Ben Kinsella had a 50-yard touchdown run and junior Chris Kaldrovics kicked a 33-yard field goal. Next game: Thursday at No. 6 Rumson-Fair Haven (2-0).