Barnabas Health Football Top 10, 12/1/15
One day, seven games, nine teams; that is what’s left of the Shore Conference football season as we head to championship weekend.
Nine Shore Conference teams will play for sectional championships at various venues around New Jersey on Saturday as the high school football season comes to a close. There are four undefeated teams trying close out perfect seasons - something the Shore hasn’t seen since 2010 when Lacey finished 12-0.
There will also be teams trying to end long championship droughts as St. John Vianney will go for its first title in 35 years and Red Bank will try to recapture the glory felt 40 years ago. The Shore Conference also has the No. 1 team in the state, Middletown South, which will try to supplant the North Jersey parochial powers as the best team in New Jersey.
Thanksgiving week featured eight games and plenty of excitement. Middletown South and Red Bank clinched the Class A North and Class B North division titles, respectively, while Shore won its 19th straight game by topping arch-rival Rumson-Fair Haven.
With so many teams in action on the final weekend of the season there is definitely a chance for some movement in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. This is where we stand after 12 weeks.
1. Middletown South (11-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior running back Cole Rogers ran for 117 yards and three touchdowns on just 12 carries and senior quarterback Matt Mosquera threw touchdown passes to Tom Coffey and Spencer Peerless in a 39-16 win over Middletown North on Thanksgiving. The win clinched the outright Class A North title for the Eagles, their first since winning the now-defunct Federal Division championship in 2009. Middletown South, which is also ranked No. 1 in the state, will try to finish off a perfect season when it takes on Phillipsburg in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group IV title game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at MetLife Stadium.
2. St. John Vianney (11-0). Last week: No. 2
The Lancers were idle on Thanksgiving Week after a 49-6 win over Red Bank Catholic in the Non-Public Group III state semifinals. St. John Vianney will play for its second sectional title and first since 1980 when it squares off against DePaul at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Rutgers University. The Lancers are also looking for their first undefeated season.
3. Red Bank (11-0). Last week: No. 3
Senior running back Alim Godsey and senior wide receiver Sadiq Palmer each scored twice and senior quarterback Jack Navitsky tossed a pair of touchdown passes as the Bucs continued their historic season with a 35-12 win over Long Branch to clinch the Class B North division title. The division championship is Red Bank’s first since 1977. Red Bank will play Ridge Road rival Rumson-Fair Haven in the Central Jersey Group III championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Rutgers University. Red Bank’s last state title came in 1975 when it also went undefeated.
4. Brick Memorial (9-2). Last week: No. 4
The Mustangs were idle last week, their last game being a 28-7 win over Allentown in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals. Brick Memorial will now meet Class A South rival Jackson Memorial in the sectional title game at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Rutgers University. The Mustangs will play for their third sectional title and first since 2008.
5. Toms River North (10-1). Last week: No. 5
The Mariners do not have a Thanksgiving game and have been idle since a 14-0 win over Lenape in the South Jersey Group V semifinals. They will square off against Williamstown in the sectional final at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Rowan University. Toms River North has won five sectional titles with the last coming in a 12-0 season in 2007. The Mariners are also a perfect 5-for-5 in state title games.
6. Shore (11-0). Last week: No. 7
The Blue Devils won their 19th consecutive game by beating rival Rumson-Fair Haven on Thanksgiving Day for the second straight season, this time by a score of 20-13. Senior Doug Goldsmith was everywhere with by contributing on 24 tackles, recording a sack and recovering a fumble, plus rushing for 104 yards. Junior Paul Christopher returned an interception for a touchdown and senior Jack Britton scored on 47-yard run. Shore will play Palmyra for the Central Jersey Group I championship at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Kean University. The Blue Devils are the defending champion and will be seeking their seventh sectional title and first undefeated season since 1981.
7. Rumson-Fair Haven (9-2). Last week: No. 6
Junior quarterback Mike O’Connor threw touchdown passes to Elijah McAllister and Tyler Pierson in a 20-13 loss to rival Shore on Thanksgiving Day. The Bulldogs can rebound in the biggest of ways, however, when they take on Ridge Road rival Red Bank in the Central Jersey Group III championship game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Rutgers University. Rumson won the last two Central Jersey Group II titles and is trying to become the fifth Shore Conference team to win three straight sectional championships.
8. Ocean (9-2). Last week: No. 8
The Spartans concluded their season with a 34-7 victory over Monmouth on Thanksgiving and senior running back Tyler Thompson closed out a phenomenal career with 195 yards rushing and three touchdowns, plus a 63-yard touchdown reception. Junior quarterback Kenny Pickett added a 38-yard touchdown pass to Ruquan Dean. Ocean finished second in Class B North and reached the semifinals of the Central Jersey Group III playoffs, its only losses coming to undefeated Red Bank.
9. Red Bank Catholic (8-3). Last week: No. 9
The Caseys season concluded two week ago with a 49-6 loss to St. John Vianney in the semifinals of the Non-Public Group III playoffs.
10. Jackson Memorial (7-4). Last week: No. 10
The Jaguars were also idle during the week of Thanksgiving and are coming off a 56-10 wipeout of Steinert in the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals. They will now play Class A South rival Brick Memorial in the sectional final at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Rutgers University. The Jaguars are the defending champions and will be playing for their fifth state sectional championship.
Dropped out: none
Teams to watch:
Raritan (6-5): Senior running back Derek Ernst ran for 175 yards and three touchdowns and added 63 receiving yards in the Rockets’ 46-25 win over Holmdel on Thanksgiving. The Rockets started the season 3-0 before losing five straight, but have rebounded in a huge way with two upset wins in the playoffs to reach their sixth sectional final. They will play undefeated Lincoln in the Central Jersey Group II title game at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Kean University. Raritan’s only sectional title came in 2004 when it went 12-0.