T&T Coast Football Top 10, 10/11/16
Just one small change to the rankings this week after an eventful, yet upset-free weekend around the Shore.
There was plenty of drama with a few undefeated teams pulling out victories with second-half comebacks, but the main storylines revolved around some huge statistical performances. Just looking at the schedule prior to last week’s games, there wasn’t a ton to get excited about. When the dust cleared, it was arguably the most memorable week of the season so far.
While the Top 10 hasn’t fluctuated much in recent weeks, the slate of games on tap for this coming weekend might change that. There’s a top-10 battle in Class A Central that figures to once again decide the division champion when Rumson-Fair Haven and St. John Vianney square off. There’s also the seemingly weekly matchup of ranked teams in Class B North, this time with Middletown North meeting Wall. In Class B South, Point Boro and Lakewood clash in a battle of unbeatens.
We’re in Week 6 now, so the season is almost officially halfway over. The playoffs are right around the corner and the importance of each game is magnified.
1. Middletown South (5-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior Samson Dube had an 80-plus yard kickoff return for a touchdown and also ran for a touchdown, while the defense allowed just 118 yards of offense in a 35-7 Class B North win over Long Branch that pushed the Eagles’ winning streak to 17 games. Sophomore running back Anthony Summey ran for 94 yards and a touchdown, senior quarterback Aneesh Agrawal threw a touchdown pass to Jake Krellin and Chaz Alessi also scored a rushing touchdown. Next game: The Eagles have a bye in Week 6, and thus have an extra week to prepare for their highly-anticipated matchup with No. 2 Toms River North on Oct. 21.
2. Toms River North (5-0). Last week: No. 2
The Mariners shockingly fell behind early to winless Toms River East, but their juggernaut offense eventually righted the ship in a 55-21 Class A South victory. Senior quarterback Mike Husni continued his ridiculous season by going 11-for-15 for 206 yards and three touchdowns while also carrying 15 times for 125 yards and three touchdowns. Senior wide out Bryce Watts had six catches for 80 yards and a touchdown and senior wide out Darrion Carrington had three catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Parker Day ran for 75 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and junior Daryn Blackwell added a rushing touchdown. Toms River North has won 15 straight games and is averaging 51.2 points per game this season. Next game: The Mariners’ defense will try to contain star running back Mike Gawlik when they travel to Jackson Memorial (2-3) on Friday night.
3. Manalapan (5-0). Last week: No. 3
Junior quarterback Luke Corcione tossed four touchdown passes and juniors Naim Mayfield and Eli Avivi each returned punts for touchdowns in a 41-8 win over Colts Neck that kept the Braves unbeaten and atop the Class A North standings. Corcione finished 11 of 18 for 187 yards with touchdown passes to seniors L.J. Holder, Mike Taylor and Sean Kinniburgh, and junior Scott Scherzer. Curcione has 14 touchdown passes this season. Mayfield had a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown and Avivi brought a punt back 51 yards for a score. Senior linebacker Jonathan Pimentel led the defensive effort with 13 tackles, 3 tackles for loss and 1 sack. Next game: Manalapan travels to Howell (3-2) for a Class A North game on Friday night.
4. St. John Vianney (5-0). Last week: No. 4
Junior running back Johnny Buchanan ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries while also making 10 tackles to lead the way in a 35-7 rout of winless Holmdel. Zyaire Sterling caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Haaziq Daniels and also returned a punt 50 yards for a touchdown, and Sam East also caught a touchdown pass. Josiah Walker also had 10 tackles, including three for a loss, to help lead the charge for a defense that allowed just 40 total yards. Next game: The Lancers travel to No. 5 Rumson (3-1) for a huge Class A Central showdown on Friday night.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (3-1). Last week: No. 5
Senior Jack Volker got the start at quarterback and hurled two touchdown passes to senior tight end Colin Pavluk in a 27-0 win over Matawan. Senior running back Matt Vecchiarelli ran for 110 yards on 26 carries, sophomore fullback Alex Maldjian ran for a touchdown and senior Thomas Chapin kicked two field goals. Rumson’s defense recorded its third shutout in four games and is allowing a scant 3.5 points per game this season. Next game: The Bulldogs host No. 4 St. John Vianney (5-0) in a critical Class A Central game on Friday night.
6. Wall (5-0). Last week: No. 6
The Crimson Knights pulled out a thrilling 27-21 victory over Red Bank Catholic with 20 unanswered points in the second half to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2011. Senior running back Sean Larkin had a fantastic all-around game with 163 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 30 carries, a 64-yard touchdown pass to junior Chevesse Covin and a game-clinching interception. Senior wide receiver R.J. Janeczek had six catches for 92 yards, including a 23-yard catch that set up Larkin’s go-ahead touchdown run with under a minute left. Wall’s defense allowed just 39 yards and two first downs in the second half. Next game: The Class B North gauntlet continues for Wall with a home game against No. 10 Middletown North (3-1) on Friday night.
7. Freehold Township (5-0). Last week: No. 8
The Patriots are 5-0 for the first time in program history after a 42-22 nonconference win over Perth Amboy. Senior quarterback Charles Sabbagh threw for 231 yards and three touchdowns and senior wide receiver Adrian Rybaltowski caught six passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Anthony Lotti also caught a touchdown, senior Max Nowak ran for two scores and junior Kevin Doherty returned an interception for a touchdown. Senior linebacker Mike Ferdinandi made a team-high 10 tackles with three for a loss. Next game: The Patriots look to continue the best season in program history when they travel to Jackson Liberty (0-5) on Friday night.
8. Red Bank Catholic (3-2). Last week: No. 7
Junior running back Zach Bair ran for 84 yards and a touchdown, junior quarterback Nick Brusca ran for 44 yards and a score and junior Brandon Lombana caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Jaden Key, but the Caseys could not hold off a second-half rally by Wall in a 27-21 loss to the Crimson Knights. Next game: Red Bank Catholic will try to get back on track when it travels to Long Branch (1-3) for a Class B North game on Friday night.
9. Brick (3-2). Last week: No. 9
Senior running back Rashan McCall ran for two short touchdowns and sophomore Cole Groschel had a touchdown run and two interceptions in a 27-0 victory over Toms River South. Senior quarterback Anthony Costanza also ran for a touchdown while Rich Tallmage had eight tackles, two tackles for a loss and a pair of fumble recoveries. The Dragon’s defense forced six turnovers. Next game: Brick heads south to tangle with Southern (2-3) in a Class A South game on Friday night.
10. Middletown North (3-1). Last week: No. 10
Sophomore running back Connor Robbins ran for two touchdowns, senior Dwight Wilkerson had a touchdown run and senior quarterback Donald Glenn tossed a touchdown to senior wide out Brendan Kube in a 31-21 nonconference win over New Brunswick. Sophomore Joey Cavanagh added a 28-yard field goal. Wilkerson ran for 119 yards on 16 carries, caught four passes for 71 yards and made 11 tackles on defense. Senior Thomas Anderson had a team-high 12 tackles. Next game: The Lions have a major opportunity to move up in the rankings when they travel to undefeated and sixth-ranked Wall (5-0) on Friday night in a Class B North game.
Dropped out: none
Teams to watch:
Mater Dei Prep (5-0): The Seraphs used three touchdowns each from quarterback George Pearson and running back Marvin Pierre to wipe out Shore, 42-7, and further stake their claim to the Class B Central division lead. Next game: Friday night at Asbury Park (3-1).
Point Boro (5-0): Junior quarterback James Fara ran for a career-high 218 yards and three touchdowns on 15 carries as the Panthers avoided an upset bid by Manchester with a 28-27 come-from-behind win. Next game: Friday night vs. Lakewood (4-0).
Lakewood (4-0): The Piners used a pair of special teams touchdowns and another big game by junior quarterback Zyhier Jones to rally past Lacey, 30-22. Josh Lezin blocked a punt that Adi Palmer returned for a touchdown, and Honore Richardson had a 72-yard punt return for a touchdown. Jones had 273 total yards and two scores. Next game: Friday night at Point Boro (5-0).
Central (4-1): Senior running back Mike Bickford exploded for a career-high 363 yards rushing and seven total touchdowns in a 47-35 win over Brick Memorial. Bickford’s epic night included touchdown runs of 80 and 72 yards, and a receiving touchdown of 69 yards. He has 995 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns this season. Next game: Friday night at Toms River South (2-3).
Manasquan (3-1): The Warriors had a bye in Week 5. Next game: Saturday afternoon vs. Ocean.
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.