NJSIAA Football Playoff Previews
The road to a state championship begins this weekend in New Jersey and 26 Shore Conference teams will begin their quest to win three games and be crowned NJSIAA state sectional champions.
The Shore Conference will be represented in 10 different brackets, including all five Central Jersey sections. Central Jersey Group IV features the most Shore Conference teams with six of the eight teams coming from the Shore.
Preliminarily, there will be four all-Shore matchups in the quarterfinals with Point Boro hosting Raritan in Central Jersey Group II, Long Branch facing Middletown South and Brick Memorial squaring off against Jackson Memorial in Central Jersey Group IV and Lacey hosting Lakewood in South Jersey Group III. Three of those four will be rematches from the regular season, including Jackson and Brick Memorial meeting in consecutive weeks.
Looking ahead to the semifinals and even the championship games, there are a handful of potential matchups between Shore Conference teams. Former Thanksgiving Day rivals Manasquan and Point Boro could square off in the Central Jersey Group II semifinals. Conversely, Raritan could instead meet Manasquan if it can pull a first-round upset. In Central Jersey Group V, district rivals and Class A North foes Manalapan and Freehold Township may meet in the Central Jersey Group V semifinals.
There will definitely be two Shore Conference teams meeting in one of the Central Jersey Group IV semifinals stemming from the Middletown South-Long Branch and Jackson Memorial-Brick Memorial quarterfinal games. It could be an all-Shore final four, as well, if Freehold and Brick win their first-round games.
In Central Jersey Group III, Wall could meet four-time returning champion Rumson-Fair Haven in the semifinals. Asbury Park and Shore are both underdogs in the first round of the Central Jersey Group I playoffs, but if they can pull off wins on the road they’ll meet in the semifinals. It’s a major long-shot, but Red Bank Catholic and Donovan Catholic can technically meet in the Non-Public Group III semifinals.
Postseason action gets underway with the state sectional quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 10 and Saturday, Nov. 11. The semifinals are Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18. The sectional championship games will be played the weekend of Nov. 30-Dec. 3 at MetLife Stadium, Rutgers University, Kean University and Rowan University.
The defending champions from the Shore Conference are: Rumson-Fair Haven (CJ-III), Manasquan (CJ-II), Asbury Park (CJ-I), Wall (SJ-III, now in CJ-III) and Mater Dei Prep (NP-II).
We have divided the previews into three separate posts breaking down the Central, South and Non-Public brackets The links for each can be found below.
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.