15 Teams Still Have Playoff Dreams
27 high school football teams took the field last weekend with the dream of winning a state sectional championship and for 15 of them that dream remains alive.
Two things are certain heading into this weekend’s sectional semifinals. At least four teams will be knocked out because they are going head-to-head against other Shore Conference teams. In addition the shore is guaranteed of at least one champion because the final four in Central Jersey Group 4 are all from Monmouth County.
In that “shore four” are Rumson, Ocean, Red Bank and Matawan and our Jersey Mike’s Game of the Week takes us to Ocean where the Big Red seek to avenge a regular season loss to undefeated Red Bank who is in the midst of a Cinderella season (I hate that saying but I said it anyway). In another rematch of a regular-season game two-time defending champion Rumson will have to beat a red-hot Matawan team again in order to play for their third straight state title.
In Central Jersey Group 4 there appears to be a pretty good chance of an all-Ocean County final as top-seed Brick Memorial hosts Allentown tonight and defending champion Jackson Memorial travels to Steinert Saturday afternoon. If the Mustangs and Jaguars advance they will meet for the second time this season with Brick Memorial prevailing in October. The Mustangs have been led all season by the running of quarterback Tim Santiago while Jackson relies on diminutive running back Mike Gawlik, who is coming off a 200-yard rushing game against Brick a week ago.
Toms River North is the only other Ocean County team to advance past the opening round as the Mariners visit top-seeded Lenape in the always-tough South Jersey Group 5 bracket. Despite being the lower seed and having to go on the road the Mariners are clicking on all cylinders and boast the likes to Mike Husni, Asante Moorer and Da’Shon Copes so a win tonight would not surprise.
Also tonight you have the first of two consecutive battles between top-ranked Middletown South and cross-town rival Middletown North as well as a meeting of parochial powers as Red Bank Catholic visits undefeated St. John Vianney. Continuing a long-standing tradition Donovan Catholic and Manchester will meet in Toms River in the season finales for both teams. For more football news and to see our Gold Coast Cadillac football picks for the weekend visit shoresportsnetwork.com