Scanning the Scene with Ed Sarluca: The “Lucky” Thirteen
13 might be an unlucky number for some but not on the Shore Conference football front as 13 teams get set to play in semi-final games and first-round games (Non-Public) this coming weekend. The thirteenth team, RBC received a bye into the semi-finals in Non-Public 3 and opens their run on November 23rd. Two teams are guaranteed a trip to the finals as they play in All-Shore matchups. The Wall vs Lacey and TR East vs Jackson winners will get to the finals on the weekend of Nov. 23rd. The finals for Non-Public will be played the weekend of Nov. 29-30 as they start one week later than the Public schools. After we get winners in Public Sectional championships, those two Sectional winners will play in what the NJSIAA is calling Public Regional Championship Games. Those games and all Non-Public championship games will be held at Rutgers University or MetLife Stadium on Nov. 29-30 or Dec 6-7.
Let’s take a look at some of the more exciting games from last week...some good and some not so good. TR East(9-1) continues to be the feel-good story of the 2019 season. The Raiders won 17-7 over Middletown North to advance to face Jackson Memorial on the road. East QB Mike Goodall continues to play exciting football with his running and on-field leadership. Running the zone-read offense he continues to make good decisions. Yusuf Ahmed gets tough yards on the ground and along with Frank Gianetti leads a defense that has carried the Raiders all year. East has only given up 157 points in its 10 games and has won 7 games by 10 points or less. It’s going to be a tough challenge against Jackson Memorial’s running game, led by Will Towns. The Jaguars beat Moorestown 20-0 in their first-round game and have won 6 games in a row.
A team that has successfully navigated through much adversity this year with injuries is Lacey. The Lions (7-3) advanced with a 35-15 pounding of Burlington Twp on the road. Losing their top two running backs during the year Lacey has survived with a young team and continues to make believers of us all. With kids like Soph QB Noah Brunatti (12-15 for 207 yds.) and Junior RB Tynan Jensen(139 yds. rushing) the offense was in full control against Burlington. The reward for Lacey is #1 in the Shore, Wall Twp. The Knights have played great all year rolling to a 9-0 start. They destroyed Allentown 49-7 in the first round and are the favorites in Central Group 3. Don’t count the Lions out, they always seem to play tough football in the playoffs, as their four State titles and 19 playoff wins indicate.
TR North (9-1), Rumson (5-4), Mid South (4-4), Holmdel (6-3) and Long Branch (4-5) all won and advance. All will have to win away from home if the seeds hold up.
On the negative side of last weekend...Southern, Ocean, and Manalapan all lost tough contests in which they were leading late in their respective games. A very tough way to end your season but division championships were won by Southern and Ocean and although they end their run in the playoffs they had outstanding seasons.
Our Asylum Sports Center Coaches Corner takes us to the Office Restaurant & Lounge Lounge in Toms River on Wednesday night from 7-8 p.m. Join us on The Hawk 105.7FM or streamed live on the ShoreSportsNework.com as we talk playoff football will be QB Mike Goodall and RB Yusuf Ahmed from TR East, and a pair of Lacey players as well.
Our Jersey Mike’s Game of the Week will be from Wall HS Friday night as the top-ranked Crimson Knights host Lacey in the Central Jersey Group 3 semifinals. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and you can watch live on shoresportsnetwork.com.