T&T Coast Football Top 10, 10/25/16
It took eight weeks of football, but a major shakeup to the T&T Coast Shore Conference Top 10 is here thanks to a wild Week 7 that saw three ranked teams, including two undefeated squads and the No. 1 team in the Shore, each suffer losses.
Toms River North staked its claim as the top-ranked team in the Shore with a 41-21 win over Middletown South in a marquee matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2. Howell sent Freehold Township tumbling by knocking the Patriots from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 22-13 win. St. John Vianney secured a 20-point win over rival Red Bank Catholic to remain unbeaten and hand the Caseys their third loss of the season.
Manasquan earned its signature win of the season by besting Middletown North, 31-21, while Mater Dei Prep continued to roll with a shutout over Holmdel. Manalapan in Class A North and Point Boro in Class B South improved to 7-0 and clinched at least a tie for their respective division titles.
There are just two weeks left in the regular season and for teams that don’t have a bye, this week presents the final opportunity to secure power points that will count toward playoff season. A team’s first eight games count toward the playoffs, with their best seven results in terms of power points going into the final tabulation. There will be some must-win games this week to add to an already dramatic time of year.
There is potential for even more movement in next week’s rankings with St. John Vianney heading to Middletown South for a nondivisional showdown, Brick and Central tangling in Class A South and Ocean and Point Boro meeting in another interesting nondivisional game on Friday night.
1. Toms River North (7-0). Last week: No. 2
Many people thought Toms River North was the No. 1 team from the start of the season, and the Mariners proved it on the field with a 41-21 win over Middletown South in a matchup of the top two ranked teams in the Shore Conference last week. Rutgers-bound senior wideout Bryce Watts had 4 catches for 182 yards and 3 touchdowns and senior quarterback Mike Husni threw for 282 yards and 4 touchdowns while also running for 72 yards as the Mariners won their 17th straight game and ended Middletown South’s own 17-game winning streak. Parker Day had a rushing touchdown and Darrion Carrington caught a touchdown pass as Toms River North’s top-ranked offense rolled up 441 yards of total offense. The defense had its best game of the season, holding Middletown South to seven points through three quarters to help put the game out of reach. Next game: The Mariners host rival Toms River South (2-4) in “The Civil War” on Friday night.
2. Manalapan (7-0). Last week: No. 3
The Braves move up one spot after a 55-21 win over Neptune where junior quarterback Luke Corcione continued his breakout season by completing 14 of 17 passes for 240 yards and a career-high five touchdowns. Seniors L.J. Holder and Mike Taylor each had two touchdown catches and junior wideout Scott Scherzer had 4 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. Junior running back Naim Mayfield had 70 yards a touchdown and junior fullback Chris Maksimik had 62 yards and a touchdown on just 4 carries. Next game: Manalapan will take part in a high school football showcase on Saturday at Rutgers University where it will take on Piscataway (5-1) at 11 a.m. in a potential Central Jersey Group V playoff preview.
3. St. John Vianney (7-0). Last week: No. 4
Senior running back Chris Chukwuneke ran for 99 yards and two touchdowns and junior quarterback Haaziq Daniels had a touchdown pass and a rushing touchdown to lead the Lancers to a 41-21 win over Red Bank Catholic. Junior Sam East had a pair of touchdowns and junior Zyaire Sterling returned a punt 80 yards for a score. Junior linebacker Johnny Buchanan continued his outstanding season with 16 total tackles. Next game: St. John Vianney has another chance to move up in the rankings when it heads to “The Swamp” to take on Middletown South (5-1) on Friday night.
4. Middletown South (5-1). Last week: No. 1
The Eagles had their 17-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of Toms River North, 41-21, in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup. Senior quarterback Aneesh Agrawal threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Joyce, who finished with 8 catches for 108 yards, and a 58-yard touchdown to Jeff Lewandowski. Running back Chaz Alessi added an eight-yard touchdown run. The Eagles could not slow down the Mariners’ offense, however, surrendering 441 yards of offense and the most points against its defense since allowing 41 in a loss to Red Bank Catholic in 2013. Next game: It doesn’t get any easier for Middletown South this week, as it welcomes undefeated and third-ranked St. John Vianney (7-0) to town on Friday night.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-2). Last week: No. 5
With starting quarterback Mike O’Connor out with turf toe, senior quarterback Jack Volker got his second start of the season and threw a pair of touchdown passes in a 24-7 win over Red Bank in the Battle of Ridge Road. Volker threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Caruso and a 6-yard touchdown to Tyler Pierson. Running back Matt Vecchiarelli ran for a six-yard touchdown and Thomas Chapin kicked a 30-yard field goal. Rumson’s defense did not allow a touchdown for the fourth time in six games as Red Bank’s lone score came on a kick return. Next game: The Bulldogs take on Monmouth Regional (2-5) on Saturday afternoon in a Class A Central game.
6. Manasquan (5-1). Last week: not ranked
The Warriors got their signature win of the season with a 31-21 victory over Middletown North thanks to 205 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on 28 carries from junior running back Connor Morgan. Joey Ostberg added a touchdown when he recovered a fumble off a bad snap into the end zone on a punt, and Adam Schreck kicked a 20-yard field goal. The Warriors’ only loss this season is 21-14 to Middletown South. Next game: Manasquan will host Matawan (1-6) in a nondivisional game on Saturday afternoon.
7. Middletown North (4-2). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Donald Glenn threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a touchdown, but the Lions fell to Manasquan, 31-21. Senior Dwight Wilkerson and sophomore Connor Robbins each ran for 70 yards and senior wideout Brendan Kube caught 5 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Brock Zenker had a 20-yard touchdown catch. Next game: Middletown North will try to bounce back when it travels to Long Branch (1-5) for a Class B North game on Friday night.
8. Wall (6-1). Last week: No. 7
Standout senior running back Sean Larkin missed the game with an injury, but the rest of the offense picked up the slack nicely in a 35-14 win over Matawan. Junior quarterback Eddie Scott threw three touchdowns, junior Brady McNally ran for 79 yards and had three total scores and junior Chevesse Covin ran for a game-high 141 yards. Senior wideout R.J. Janeczek caught 5 passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. Next game: The Crimson Knights have a bye in Week 8 and return to action in Week 9 with a huge Class B North game against Middletown South.
9. Brick (5-2). Last week: No. 10
Senior John Prato stepped in at quarterback for injured starter Anthony Costanza and ran for 100 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 9 carries in a 46-6 win over Lakewood. He also blocked a punt and had two pass breakups at defensive back. Senior Ja’Sir Taylor ran for a 20-yard touchdown and the Dragons had three defensive scores: a 62-yard interception return by Jimmy Leblo, a 74-yard fumble return by Joey Carchio and an 82-yard fumble return by Jay Obenauer. Next week: Brick has a crucial Class A South game at Central (6-1) on Friday night.
10. Mater Dei Prep (7-0). Last week: not ranked
The undefeated Seraphs make their debut in the top 10 and are coming off a 41-0 win over Holmdel. Mater Dei has already clinched at least a tie for the Class B Central division title, its first ever, and can win the title outright with a win over Point Beach in Week 9. The Seraphs are currently No. 1 in power points in Non-Public Group II where they are a serious contender to win the program’s first NJSIAA title. Next game: The Seraphs are at home on Saturday afternoon against South River (2-5).
Dropped out: No. 6 Freehold Township, No. 9 Red Bank Catholic.
Teams to Watch
Central (6-1): Senior running back Mike Bickford ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns to lead the way in a 28-7 win over Colts Neck. Next game: The Golden Eagles have a chance to jump into the top 10 and keep their chances for a division title alive when they host No. 9 Brick (5-2) in a critical Class A South game on Friday night.
Howell (4-3): Nick Chambers ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns and Eddie Morales threw a touchdown pass to Naz Brantley to key a 22-13 upset of previously-unbeaten Freehold Township. Next game: Howell hosts New Brunswick (2-5) on Friday night.
Point Boro (7-0): Junior quarterback James Fara ran for 107 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Hayden Frey, while junior fullback Tanner Gordon scored three times in a 27-0 win over Jackson Liberty that clinched at least a tie for the Class B South division title. Next game: The Panthers have a challenging nondivisional game versus Ocean (3-4) and standout quarterback Kenny Pickett on Friday night.
Raritan (3-3): The reigning Central Jersey Group II champion Rockets have won three in a row and are coming off a bye. Next game: Raritan has a crucial game playoff-wise against Spotswood (5-2) on Friday night. The Rockets are currently 12th while Spotswood is 9th in power points in CJ-II.
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.