T&T Coast Football Top 10, 11/22/16
With two weeks left in the season there are 10 Shore Conference teams still standing that will play for an NJSIAA title on Saturday Dec. 3. The record of six sectional championships set in each of the last two seasons has a chance to be shattered as a possible nine champions can be crowned in two weeks.
The state finalists are Middletown North in North 2 Group IV, Manalapan in Central Jersey Group V, Brick in Central Jersey Group IV, Rumson-Fair Haven in Central Jersey Group III, Manasquan in Central Jersey Group II, Asbury Park vs. Keyport in Central Jersey Group I, Toms River North in South Jersey Group V, Wall in South Jersey Group III and Mater Dei Prep in Non-Public Group II.
Before that happens there are eight games the week of Thanksgiving, with all but two occurring on turkey day. Five ranked teams will be in action, including state finalists Rumson, Middletown North, Wall, Manasquan and Middletown South, plus state finalist Asbury Park. There are major division implications in Class B North where Middletown South can clinch the outright division title with a win over Middletown North. If Middletown North wins and Manasquan beats Wall, the Warriors and Eagles will share the division title.
The final T&T Coast Top 10 is just a few weeks away and the final two weeks of the season still present opportunities for change. Here’s where we’re at with the 2016 season nearly complete.
1. Toms River North (11-0). Last week: No. 1
The top-seeded Mariners throttled Howell, 62-34, to return to Rowan University where they will try to defend their South Jersey Group V title against third-seeded Millville. Senior quarterback Mike Husni continued his record-breaking season with 207 yards passing and 3 touchdowns and 180 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns. He has 43 total touchdowns this season, one away from tying the record of 44 set by Mater Dei Prep quarterback Christian Palmer in 2014. Senior running back Parker Day ran for 200 yards and four touchdowns and senior wide out Darrion Carrington caught five passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide out Bryce Watts added three catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Next game: Toms River North tries to complete the perfect season and win its second straight state title when it takes on Millville at 6 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Rowan University in the South Jersey Group V final.
2. Manalapan (11-0). Last week: No. 2
Junior running back Naim Mayfield ran for 228 yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries to lead the Braves to a 34-20 win over defending champion South Brunswick in the Central Jersey Group V semifinals. Junior quarterback Luke Corcione threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to junior wide out Scott Scherzer and junior fullback Chris Maksimik added a 1-yard touchdown run. Next game: Manalapan takes on second-seeded Piscataway in the Central Jersey Group V title game at 10 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Rutgers University where it will go for the program’s second state title and first undefeated season.
3. St. John Vianney (10-1). Last week: No. 3
The Lancers had their season come to an end in the semifinals of the Non-Public Group III playoffs as the state’s No. 1 team, St. Joseph (Montvale), scored a 45-20 victory to hand SJV its first loss. Next game: Season complete.
4. Middletown South (8-3). Last week: No. 4
The defending champion Eagles were eliminated from the North 2, Group IV playoffs via a 42-28 loss to Sayreville where Bombers quarterback Jayson DeMild threw for 345 yards and four touchdowns. Middletown South senior quarterback Aneesh Agrawal threw for 163 yards with touchdowns to Samson Dube, Jake Krellin and Anthony Summey, and Summey also had a touchdown run. Next game: Middletown South can still clinch the Class B North division title and do so against rival Middletown North when the teams meet on Thanksgiving.
5. Rumson-Fair Haven (8-2). Last week: No. 5
The Bulldogs’ defense put together another amazing playoff effort by leading the way in a 21-13 Central Jersey Group III semifinal win over a previously-unbeaten Somerville team that was averaging over 50 points per game. Defensive back James Melia had two interceptions and Pat Russo had an interception in the end zone to clinch the win. Senior quarterback Mike O’Connor ran for 81 yards and threw a touchdown pass to senior Colin Pavluk, and senior running back Matt Vecchiarelli ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. The Bulldogs will play South Plainfield for the state title and try for their fourth straight sectional crown at 6 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Rutgers University. Next game: Rumson will travel to rival Shore on Thanksgiving Eve.
6. Manasquan (9-1). Last week: No. 6
The Warriors knocked off a previously-undefeated Roselle team that was averaging over 50 points per game with a 31-27 road victory to reach the Central Jersey Group II final. Junior running back Connor Morgan ran for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 39 carries and also threw a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Damaso Jaime. Senior quarterback Jerry Maher also had a touchdown pass to Jaime and senior Adam Schreck kicked a 34-yard field goal. Manasquan will play fifth-seeded Bernards for the Central Jersey Group II championship at 7 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Kean University. Next game: Plenty is at stake for the Warriors before the state final as they take on fellow state finalist and rival Wall in their annual Thanksgiving Day game. A win by Manasquan and a loss by Middletown South to Middletown North would give the Warriors a share of the Class B North division title.
7. Middletown North (8-2). Last week: No. 7
The Lions shut out Summit 20-0 in the North 2, Group IV semifinals to advance to their first sectional final since 1996. Senior quarterback Donald Glenn threw for 240 yards and ran for a touchdown and senior wide out Brendan Kube caught 9 passes for 122 yards. Junior running back Connor Welsh ran for 106 yards, senior Dwight Wilkerson ran for a touchdown and sophomore Joey Cavanagh kicked a pair of field goals. Middletown North will play fifth-seeded Sayreville for the sectional title at 1 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Rutgers University. Next game: Middletown North will try to snap a long losing streak to rival Middletown South when the two teams collide on Thanksgiving.
8. Wall (8-2). Last week: No. 8
Senior running back Sean Larkin ran for 211 yards and a career-high five touchdowns to lead the way in a 49-21 win over Hamilton in the semifinals of the South Jersey Group III playoffs. Junior running back Chevesse Covin ran for a 37-yard touchdown and senior Gene Scott had a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown as the Crimson Knights scored the final 28 points of the game. Wall, which last won a state title in 2002, will play four-time defending champion Delsea in the final at 11 a.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Rowan University. Next game: Wall will go on the road to face arch rival and fellow state finalist Manasquan on Thanksgiving Day.
9. Mater Dei Prep (11-0). Last week: No. 10
The Seraphs opened eyes around the state with a dominating 26-0 win over 7-time defending champion St. Joseph (Hammonton) to reach the Non-Public Group II final, their first sectional final appearance since 1999 and second in program history. Junior quarterback George Pearson threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to senior Marvin Pierre, Pierre also ran for a touchdown, senior Eddie Lewis had a 95-yard punt return touchdown and senior Justin Mcrae ran for a 5-yard score. The defense registered 11 tackles for a loss or no gain and five sacks to limit the Wildcats to 79 yards of offense. Next game: Mater Dei will go for its first state title in program history against fourth-seeded Holy Spirit at 1 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Kean University.
10. Central (7-2). Last week: No. 9
The Golden Eagles season ended in the regular season, as they were not eligible for the South Jersey Group IV playoffs due to three disqualifications during the regular season. They hold wins over Brick and Jackson Memorial and their only losses are to No. 1 Toms River North and No. 8 Wall. Next game: Season complete.
Dropped out: none
Teams to watch:
Brick (8-3): The top-seeded Dragons escaped with a 24-23 win over Freehold in a wild NJSIAA Central Jersey Group IV semifinal game to reach the program's 12th sectional championships. The Dragons don't have any wins over top 10 teams, but can certainly make a case for a move into the top 10 by winning a sectional championship. Next game: Brick will take on second-seeded Allentown at 4 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Rutgers University in the Central Jersey Group IV championship game.
Keyport (10-1): The Red Raiders continued their best season in over a decade by defeating Point Beach, 27-14, in the Central Jersey Group I semifinals to reach their first state title game since 2003. Chris Hogrefe threw a 74-yard touchdown pass to Joey Kay-Flagg with under two minutes left in the game to put Keyport ahead. Next game: Keyport will play Asbury Park for the Central Jersey Group I title at 4 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 3 at Kean University.