With the 1st round of the State Tournament ready to go this weekend, one must wonder, is the interest of the kids still the prime reason why we play this great game of football?

Let me state my case and you make your own decisions on what has gone on in the last 2 weeks and what will happen in the next 4 weeks. First and foremost, the tragic weather we have experienced must obviously be taken into account. Most of us have gone through hell, with loss of homes, possessions, cars, electric, and some, even loss of lives.

So the State decided we must move on with the season. Was it the correct decision?

I think yes, but the way we are going about it, I can't agree with. We postpone games, but we decide to allow some schools to play their games. That was mistake #1. It's all or nothing, as far as I'm concerned. Why allow "some" schools the advantage of getting their games in, while others are trying to survive and recover.

With most of the State in turmoil; coaches (most without power, cell phones or internet) were searching for players and families and not thinking about Xs and Os.

Mistake #2 came when weeks were adjusted to allow Thanksgiving games to be played as scheduled. If there was ever a reason to move these game to this weekend, and then have the teams not in the playoffs, end their season, this was the year to do it.

Mistake #3 was when the State gave the teams the option to play a consolation 10th game. Are you kidding me. These games are absolutely ridiculous. Play the playoffs on 3 consecutive weekends, beginning on November 23rd, with the Semi's on No. 30th and the finals on Dec. 7th. This is why you play the Thanksgiving games this coming weekend and for most teams, you put the footballs away.

Mistake #4 centers around those players involved in the playoffs. Why penalize the winter players and coaches with the start of the season on Dec. 14th? If you’re in the football finals, you lose all those players for that first game and maybe more. Very easy solution, start the season one week later. Case closed. Am I the only person that has the insight or am I crazy?  Well, don't answer that question, because I know the answer.

Now don't get me wrong, I think the State does a terrific job running the ins and outs of a very complicated athletic structure. But if you ask any football coach in our area, I think many might agree with me. Now with that off my chest, lets look at week #1 of the playoffs. The show must go on!

27 teams in the Shore have qualified for the playoffs. Brackets will be finalized Monday by the State committee.

Central 1--Beach, Shore, Keyport, Asbury Park and Keansburg

Central 2--Rumson

Central 3--Neptune, Long Branch, Matawan, Lakewood, Manasquan and Ocean

Central 4--Colts Neck, Midd South and Jackson Liberty

Central 5--Manalapan and Brick Memorial

South 3--Barnegat and Point Boro

South 4--TR South and Lacey

South 5--Southern and TR North

Non-Public 3--Mon Don, SJ V and RBC

Non-Public 1--Mater Dei

That's quite a list to represent the Shore. Congratulations to all and check this week, for times and brackets.

Week 10 Top Ten:

1- RBC(8-0) been here all year, haven't won anything yet. Season ahead of them.

2- Manalapan(8-0) got to finals last year, only a victory at Rutgers will satisfy.

3- Lacey(9-0) struggle against an improved Brick team, but demolished Brick Mem. 42-0 on Sat.

4- Colts Neck (7-1) a very good team, who could make some noise in playoffs.

5- Point Beach (8-0) a Group 1school with Group 4 talent.  Impressive to watch.

6- Long Branch(7-1) only loss to Neptune. May get another shot at Fliers.

7- Rumson (7-1) perfect season ended with Squan upset win. Dangerous in Group 2.

8- Shore(7-1) Turkey Day game with Beach could be 1st of 2 with Gulls.

9- Neptune(6-2) back in top ten, ready to repeat in Central 3.

10- Southern(6-2) the Rams will have to win on road in playoffs.

Just outside: Lakewood(6-2), Jax Lib.(6-2), Midd South(6-2), Matawan(5-2),Asbury Park(6-2)

Join us Thursday night at the Water St. grill for 1 1/2 hours of HS Football talk.  We'll have guests at the Grill and some via the phone.  We start at 7pm.  If you can't come down, listen on 105.7 fm or on line on the shore sports network.com.