The New Jersey football playoff brackets will be completed this coming weekend and 184 schools will make the cut within the 23 sections that the state is divided into.  Approximately 24 to 26 of those schools reside in the Shore Conference. That number is approximate because some schools need a “W” this week to get in. Let’s look at that list.

In Central 4, Middletown South (3-4) gets in with a win over Wall (4-3). Nice comeback season for the Eagles after a 2-3 start. Last week they gave St John Vianney (8-0) all they could handle in a 21-14 loss. By the way, that’s 37 straight wins against Shore conference opponents for SJV. If Middletown South loses and Middletown North (3-4) wins against Ocean (1-7), then they would get in. So basically, some interesting games for the two arch rivals who will play against each other on Turkey Day.  

In Central 2, Holmdel (4-3) must beat Matawan (1-7) to assure itself a spot while Raritan (3-4) has an outside chance with a win against Red Bank (0-7).  

In Central 1, Shore (3-4) needs to beat Keyport (1-7) to secure a spot while Asbury Park (4-3) needs a win and some help to defend their title they won last year.

In South 4, Toms River South (2-5) still has an outside chance if they can beat Southern (2-6) and three or four teams ahead of them this week all lose. A daunting task, but possible. Toms River East was in that spot, but their heartbreaking loss to Marlboro (35-34 in OT) knocked them out.

In South 3, Lakewood (3-4) is hot right now and if they beat Pinelands (2-5), will get in. If Pinelands can pull off the victory, then they will get in. Meanwhile, Jackson Liberty (2-6) sits at #8 this week but must have several teams lose to qualify.

In South 2, Barnegat (4-3) must beat unbeaten Point Boro (8-0) to have a chance. A win there carries many power points, enough for the Bengals to pass teams in the bracket.  

In Non-Public Group 3, Donovan Catholic (2-5) is still alive. A win against Jackson Liberty and a loss by Bishop Eustace (4-3) gets the Griffs in.

Those are the must-win teams. There are 20 teams that have clinched berths already which is a good representation of the Shore Conference. We’ll make predictions next week when the brackets are finalized. We have strong teams in Non-Public 2 (Mater Dei Prep) and 3 (SJV and RBC), Central 5 (Manalapan), Central 4 (Long Branch, Brick Memorial, and Freehold Boro), Central 3 (Rumson), Central 2 (Point Boro and Manasquan), South 5 (Howell), South 4 (Central) and South 3 (Lacey).  

This and that from last week:

Mater Dei Prep was dealt a severe penalty by the NJSIAA when both their head coach and offensive coordinator were suspended from any game action for the remainder of the season. The two may coach in practice, but not on game day. They suffered their first defeat of the year under those suspensions on Saturday against Delbarton.

SJV was taken to the limit by a “getting better each week” Middletown South team before hanging on for a 21-14 victory. All Shore LB Jack Krellin has been moved to RB and that has helped the offense. The Eagles always play great defense and one more win will get them into the playoffs where they will not be an easy out.

RBC played without star RB Zack Bair (injury) but did not skip a beat with an easy 37-0 win over Red Bank. Soph RB Billy Guidetti filled in with 115 yds and 2 TDs. QB Steve Lubischer was outstanding, throwing for 235 yds and a TD.

Freehold’s Ashante Worthy accounted for 7 TDs (6 rushing n 1 throwing) in their 49-14 win over Edison. Freehold and Worthy is a team no one wants to play in the playoffs.

Another dangerous team no one wants now is Lakewood. The Jones brothers, Zyheir and Jyhier, are wrecking defenses now. They beat Barnegat 33-14 on Friday, rolling up 358 yards of the 392 total yards gained by the Piners offense.

Central (6-2) has taken a giant step towards at least a tie for the A-South championship. Their 13-10 defeat of Brick creates a situation where they will tie Brick Memorial if the Mustangs beat Jackson this week and they defeat Toms River North. A Jackson win over Brick Memorial gives the outright championship to the Golden Eagles. Justin Fumando, in only his second year, has done a great job.

Point Pleasant Boro remains undefeated with a 41-18 win over Ocean. QB James Fara is having an All-Shore type season.

Manalapan (8-0) avenged the loss to Piscataway in last years Central 5 final with a very convincing 28-0 win. I don’t know if there’s a team out there that stands in the Braves way to another title. Perhaps South Brunswick, who beat Brick Memorial 35-14, ending the Stangs six-game winning streak.

This week from Martells Waters Edge in Bayville our Gateway Toyota Coaches Corner will host Central Regional Head Coach Justin Fumando and Running Back Kavon Chambers and Linebacker Ryan Emmetts. Also on this week's show is Lacey’s Head Coach Lou Vircillo, along with Quarterback Coleton Klaus and Running Back Jason Giresi. Join us on-site, listen on 105.7 The Hawk, or as always listen on the Shore Sports Network app.

Our Jersey Mike’s Friday Night Football broadcast takes us to Brick Memorial, as the Stangs try to win a championship in the A-South, when they face Jackson. It'll be a 7 p.m. start on 92.7 WOBM, 1160/1310AM or streamed on the Shore Sports Network.

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