Football Divisional Players of the Week: Playoff Edition
In addition to the reader-selected Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey Football Player of the Week, we will also be selecting Offensive and Defensive Players of the Week for each of the Shore Conference’s six divisions. We’ll also choose an overall Shore Conference Special Teams Player of the Week to highlight any standout kicking performances or players that got it done in the return game.
Below we’ll focus on the best performances from the NJSIAA quarterfinals.
SSN SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Colin Taptich, K, Freehold Township
Taptich connected on a 29-yard field goal in Freehold Township’s 17-13 win over North Brunswick in the Central Jersey Group V quarterfinals, helping the Patriots earn the first playoff win in program history.
SSN DIVISIONAL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
CLASS A NORTH
Offense (Besides overall Player of the Week, Howell’s Naseim Brantley)
Ashante Worthy, Sr., QB, Freehold and Naim Mayfield, Sr., RB, Manalapan
Class A North was well-represented in the first round of the playoffs with four teams moving on to the semifinals and several players coming up big. While we like to spread it around from week to week it would be foolish to look past what Worthy and Mayfield did in the first round of the playoffs.
Worthy ran for 419 yards and seven touchdowns and threw for 216 yards in a 51-34 win over Nottingham in the first round of the Central Jersey Group IV playoffs, giving him a Shore Conference-record 51 combined touchdowns (passing and rushing) and a state-best 2,459 yards rushing this season. He is now 131 yards shy of breaking the Shore Conference single-season rushing record of 2,589 and 356 yards away from the modern state record of 2,815.
Mayfield entered the week leading the state in rushing and went for 256 yards and five touchdowns in a 42-0 win over Perth Amboy in the first round of the Central Jersey Group V playoffs. Mayfield’s five touchdowns give him 41 for the year to break both the Shore Conference rushing touchdown and total touchdown (actually scoring the points as opposed to passing) record with 41, breaking the old marks of 37 and 40, respectively, set by Middletown South’s Knowshon Moreno in 2004. Mayfield now has 2,370 yards rushing this season and is also within striking distance of the Shore Conference and state single-season records.
Tommy Pearce, Jr., LB, Manalapan
Pearce made eight tackles (six solo) and recorded two sacks to lead a Braves defense that recorded its fourth shutout of the season. Pearce has 121 tackles and four interceptions this season.
CLASS A CENTRAL
Johnny Buchanan, Sr., RB, St. John Vianney
Buchanan ran for a career-high 294 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Lancers’ 45-40 victory over Camden Catholic in the first round of the NJSIAA Non-Public Group III playoffs. Buchanan also made 11 tackles on defense.
Anthony Guarino, Sr., LB, Monmouth Regional
Guarino had 15 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble as the Falcons shut down Carteret for a 21-7 victory in the Central Jersey Group III quarterfinals. Guarino also had a 35-yard touchdown run. It was Monmouth’s first home playoff game in program history and just its second postseason win all-time.
CLASS A SOUTH
Cole Groschel, Jr., UT, Brick
Groschel has played all over the field in his nearly two years as a starter for the Green Dragons, so it was only fitting he made an impact in a variety of ways to lead Brick to a 28-0 win over Allentown in the Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinals. Groschel had a touchdown catch, a touchdown run, a touchdown pass and a total of 185 yards of offense. He was also clutch on defense with two interceptions and four tackles.
Chance Benjamin, Jr., LB, Jackson Memorial
Benjamin made 10 tackles, including four hits for a loss, and recorded a crucial sack on the final series in the Jaguars’ 22-14 win over Brick Memorial in the Central Jersey Group IV quarterfinals.
CLASS B NORTH
Brady McNally, Sr., RB, Wall
McNally erupted for a career-high 343 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 35 carries in the Crimson Knights’ wild 49-41 win over Steinert in the first round of the Central Jersey Group III playoffs. McNally scored on runs of 49, 41, 89, 13 and 1 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark for the season.
Jack Fabean, Jr., LB, Manasquan
Manasquan’s defense shut down Roselle in a 41-8 victory in the first round of the Central Jersey Group II playoffs and Fabean led the way with 10 tackles and a 34-yard fumble return for a touchdown.
CLASS B CENTRAL
Malik Ingram, So., RB, Mater Dei Prep
Ingram had a career-high four touchdown runs to help the defending-champion Seraphs beat Holy Cross, 42-22, in the first round of the Non-Public Group II playoffs.
John Nista, Sr., LB, Point Beach
Nista made seven tackles (two for a loss) and recorded two sacks while also rushing for 142 yards and the go-ahead touchdown with 35 seconds left as the Garnet Gulls rallied from a 14-0 deficit to beat Manville, 22-14, in the first round of the Central Jersey Group I playoffs.
CLASS B SOUTH
James Fara, Sr., QB, Point Boro
Fara ran for 170 yards and four touchdowns on 11 carries in the undefeated Panthers’ 41-12 win over Raritan in the Central Jersey Group II quarterfinals.
Jyheir Jones, Sr., DB, Lakewood
Jones had an interception and a fumble recovery when Lakewood beat Lacey, 22-14, in the South Jersey Group III quarterfinals to avenge a regular-season loss and put the Piners into the semifinals for the first time since 2013.
Managing 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.