Week Seven Football Picks
Two big match-ups featuring four teams ranked in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 highlight another big weekend of Shore Conference football coming up.
Class A South took my picks behind the woodshed last week, as all three first-place teams lost. It should only get wilder in the home stretch toward a title.
Last week: 17-5.
Metuchen (2-4) at Asbury Park (3-2), 6 p.m.
Storyline: Asbury Park needs this one to stay on pace for a playoff berth and has to be careful against a Metuchen team that took Shore Regional to the wire earlier this season. The pick: Asbury Park.
Howell (2-3, 1-1) at Freehold Township (1-4, 1-2), 6:30 p.m.
Storyline: Howell is trying to stay in the playoff hunt and needs to have this game, while Freehold Township will try to shut down the Rebels’ high-octane passing attack to pick up a solid win. The pick: Howell.
No. 3 Colts Neck (5-0, 2-0) at No. 2 Manalapan (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.
Storyline: Colts Neck is out to prove its dominant start is for real, make a step toward the No. 1 seed in Central Jersey Group IV, and knock Manalapan off its perch atop Class A North, while the host Braves want to show they still rule the division with an iron fist and are ready to go 12-0 for the first time in program history this year. Two potent running games and offensive lines, two standout defenses – something has to give. The pick: Manalapan.
Marlboro (0-5, 0-4) at Middletown South (3-2, 2-1), 7 p.m.
Storyline: Middletown South gets one final game in which it’s heavily favored before playing Red Bank Catholic and Colts Neck back-to-back and making a postseason push. The pick: Middletown South.
Middletown North (1-4) at South Brunswick (4-2), 7 p.m.
Storyline: Middletown North’s brutal schedule continues with another tall order on the road against the defending Central Jersey Group V champions. The pick: South Brunswick.
Monmouth (2-3, 1-2) at St. John Vianney (1-4, 0-3), 7 p.m.
Storyline: A trying week at St. John Vianney after the death of former standout/assistant coach Ricky Vesce leads up to a swing game against an improved Monmouth team. The pick: St. John Vianney.
Raritan (1-5) at Colonia (5-1), 7 p.m.
Storyline: The underdog Rockets, who played Colonia tough in a 13-3 loss last year, can jumpstart their playoff hopes with an upset, while Colonia looks to march on toward the North Jersey II, Group IV playoffs. The pick: Colonia.
No. 7 Lacey (5-1, 3-1) at Jackson Memorial (3-2, 3-1), 7 p.m.
Storyline: This essentially serves as an elimination game in the Class A South race between two first-place teams that are coming off losses, so the stakes are high. The pick: Lacey.
Toms River East (2-4, 1-3) at Toms River South (3-2, 2-2), 7 p.m.
Storyline: Two old rivals fighting for playoff berths, and a rejuvenated Toms River East offense against an explosive unit from Toms River South in a game that could be 42-40 by the team the smoke clears. The pick: Toms River South.
No. 10 Long Branch (5-1, 3-0) at No. 4 Ocean (5-0, 3-0), 7 p.m.
Storyline: Two rugged defenses, the Class B North title and a top seed in Central Jersey Group III hanging in the balance, and a pair of old rivals slugging it out with great running games. Plenty to like in this game. The pick: Long Branch.
Red Bank (1-4, 1-2) at Matawan (3-2, 2-2), 7 p.m.
Storyline: A Red Bank team out to prove last week’s win over Neptune was no fluke, and a Matawan squad looking to stay in striking distance in the Class B North race and cement a playoff spot. The pick: Matawan.
Highland Park (0-6) at Point Beach (5-1), 7 p.m.
Storyline: A formality for a Point Beach team that has bigger things down the road. The pick: Point Beach.
Lakewood (4-1, 3-1) at Central (3-2, 3-1), 7 p.m.
Storyline: A crucial power-point game for both playoff hopefuls, and Lakewood’s chance to set up a showdown for Barnegat for at least a piece of the Class B South crown. The pick: Lakewood.
Jackson Liberty (1-4, 1-3) at Pinelands (1-5, 1-3), 7 p.m.
Storyline: Two teams in similar spots just looking to put another win in the column and finish the season strong. The pick: Jackson Liberty.
Point Boro (0-6, 0-4) at No. 6 Barnegat (5-0, 4-0), 7 p.m.
Storyline: The last-place team in Class B South against the first-place team, and the first look at Barnegat’s new backfield arrangement after the season-ending torn ACL for Barnegat standout senior tailback A.J. Opre. The pick: Barnegat.
Keansburg (1-5, 0-2) at Keyport (4-2, 1-1), noon
Storyline: A game Keyport has to have to keep its state playoff hopes alive against its old rival from right down Route 36. The pick: Keyport.
No. 5 Rumson-Fair Haven (5-0) at Monsignor Donovan (3-2), 1 p.m.
Storyline: Rumson looks to remain unbeaten for a showdown against Manasquan, while Monsignor Donovan will try for the upset by attempting to solve a tough Rumson defense and junior tailback Charlie Volker. The pick: Rumson.
Holmdel (1-5, 0-3) at No. 8 Manasquan (5-1, 3-1), 1 p.m.
Storyline: Manasquan looks to handle its business at home before a big road game at Rumson next week. The pick: Manasquan.
Brick Memorial (4-2, 2-2) at Southern (3-2, 2-2), 1 p.m.
Storyline: The winner’s Class A South title hopes remain alive and its playoff standing is boosted in yet another tough battle in this division. The pick: Southern.
Neptune (2-4, 1-3) at Freehold (0-5, 0-3), 1 p.m.
Storyline: Neptune looks to get back on track for a state playoff berth in a thin bracket against the struggling Colonials. The pick: Neptune.
Shore (4-1, 1-0) at Mater Dei Prep (3-3, 1-3), 1 p.m.
Storyline: Shore continues its march toward a showdown with Point Beach on Thanksgiving for the Class B Central title and a top seed in Central Jersey Group I against a Seraphs team that has lost three straight. The pick: Shore.
Brick (4-2, 3-1) at Toms River North (0-5, 0-4), 1 p.m.
Storyline: Brick junior quarterback Carmen Sclafani, a Toms River North transfer, returns to his old home field as the Green Dragons continue a push for a high state playoff seed and stay at the front of the pack in the Class A South race. The pick: Brick.