Scanning the High School Football Scene With Ed Sarluca: Week 1
What has week 0 and week 1 told us? Now that all teams except Asbury Park (first-week bye) have played their first game, what have we learned?
1 - RBC (2-0) has solidified their #1 ranking with 2 very convincing victories over St. John Vianney and Ocean. There are a couple of games down the line with Long Branch (2-0) and Rumson (1-0) that will be interesting, but the Caseys should not be challenged until weeks 6 and 7. QB Steve Lubischer is off to a great start, junior TE Kevin Bauman (6’5” 230lbs) has already verbally committed to Notre Dame, and Lubischer, a senior, has committed to Boston College.
2 - It will take quite a few weeks to figure out what division each team plays in. There are 7 different divisions this year that was based on a 3-year performance basis. They are: American, Colonial, Constitution, Freedom, Liberty, Patriot, and National. Got it? I’ll test you next week. If you want to study them, pick up a free copy of our 100-page preseason preview which is at games, schools, and Super Wawas. No excuse not to get one.
3 - The playoff system has completely changed. It’s complex and not easy to understand, and I’ve been doing this for 50 years. I’ll discuss this more as the season unwinds and we get closer to November when they begin.
4 - I’ll give you 2 teams in each division that I feel have a shot at the title. Keep in mind that making predictions is like telling your wife that you're not going to put in as much time, you're cutting back, you'll more time at home, less scouting, fewer games attended. Well after 45 years of marriage, my wife gets it. She understands what coaching and now working for the Shore Sports Network involves. She is every bit a coach's wife, like so many other wives’ of head coaches and assistant coaches. Trying to adjust schedules of your kids at all levels and showing up at practices and games become a juggling act that needs understanding and love. Time is precious, make it work. Find the balance.
American - Toms River North and Middletown South. They will meet week 5 at TR North.
Colonial - Rumson and Brick. These 2 will meet week 5 at Brick and it might be for all the marbles.
Constitution - I know Lacey is 2-0, but my 2 are Wall and Jackson. These 2 will waste no time as Wall travels to Jackson this week in our Game of the Week.
Freedom - RBC and Long Branch are the class here. Week 4 LB goes to RBC.
Liberty - Manasquan and Point Boro are the 2 best and Squan has already beaten Boro last week, so it’s Big Blue’s to lose.
Patriot - Mater Dei and Shore are tough, but Barnegat will be troublesome. MD meets Shore week 3 at MD.
National - Holmdel and Donovan Catholic are good in the only 7 team division. The two meet week 4 at Holmdel.
Well, there you have it. You know Draft Kings has a sports book. Oh yeah, you can’t bet on high school sports. I saved you money. You're welcome.
Some takeaways from last week:
1 - Nice bounce back for Middletown South and the Eagles after giving up 62 in PA in a week 1 loss, 37-0 over Freehold Township.
2 - TR North's stunning win over Manalapan in which Dashawn Wilder ran back a kickoff 90 yds and a converted 2 pt conversion giving the Mariners a 15-14 win.
3 - Brick’s very convincing win over Brick Memorial proves the Dragons (30-7) are for real. They have a dominant senior team and the way they play defense and the skill they have on offense means other teams should watch out!
4 - Wall unveiled a dominate O line and a running attack in their opening win over Lakewood (44-0).
5 - Manasquan used a few Point Boro turnovers late in the game to beat the Panthers and spoil Brian Staub’s first game, 42-28. The inability to stop the run must be addressed for Point.
6 - Rumson romped over SJV 43-6. SJV is a team in turmoil after that one.
7 - Perhaps the most stunning upset of week 1 was Freehold’s 22-20 win over favored Middletown North. QB Matt Krauss was unveiled by Head Coach Dave Ellis, who seems to have a knack of finding QBs. Remember a kid named Ashante Worthy?
8 - Jackson had a workman like effort against Southern in their 14-0 shutout. Their defense will have to be just as good against Wall this week.
9 - Shore and Barnegat both won impressively. These two who used to go at it in B-South now will try to win a Patriot division in the realignment, but big, strong, and tough Mater Dei stands in the way.
10 - Donovan Catholic has turned it around under Dan Curcione and opened with a 33-6 win over Keansburg.
11 - Lacey (2-0) is off and running. Coach Vircillo still knows how to run the football.
12 - TR South and TR East had to be disappointed in their opening day losses. Both are expected to be better this year, but the Freedom division has RBC and Long Branch in it—ouch.
13 - They say between week 1 and week 2 teams show their biggest improvement. Let’s see if those who started with a loss can bounce back.
Some people have asked where to find us. Our Wednesday night football show alternates between River Rock in Brick (this week) and The Office Lounge in (Toms River). We have coaches and players from around the Shore from 7-8 p.m. We are on 105.7 The Hawk and streamed on the ShoreSportsNetwork.com.