Shore Sports Network Football Shore 16 Rankings for Aug. 31
The Shore Conference football season is off and running after 27 of the area’s 42 football programs opened in Week 0. The other 15 kickoff their seasons this weekend during Week 1, which includes games on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Although not every team has played its first game, we wanted to check back in with a quick update to the Shore Sports Network Football Shore 16 to account for the notable results of opening weekend.
Let’s get right to it.
1. Toms River North (1-0). Last week: No. 1
The Mariners earned an excellent victory with a 14-7 win over Millville at the Battle of the Beach Tournament. North, the defending NJSIAA Group 5 champion, put together a tremendous defensive performance to shut down the reigning Group 4 champion Thunderbolts and their electric (pun intended) set of skill players. Junior linebacker Blaise Boland and junior defensive lineman Jaelyne Matthews had two sacks each, junior defensive back Nasir Jackson had a game-clinching interception, and senior Jeremiah Pruitt had an active game all over the field. Senior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 171 yards and a touchdown and threw a touchdown to Pruitt and senior running back Josh Moore ran for 125 yards. The Mariners have one of the best wins in New Jersey and we’re still in August. A great start. Next game: Friday at Toms River East (0-1).
2. Red Bank Catholic (0-1). Last week: No. 2
The Caseys challenged themselves in a meeting with state No. 1 Bergen Catholic and were defeated by the Crusaders, 24-6. RBC’s offense struggled to get going before settling in during the second half, but its defense played very well and recorded multiple sacks and had an interception by senior linebacker Luke Wassef. Jamie Gutridge ran for a touchdown for the Caseys’ lone score. It’s a loss, but certainly not a bad loss by any stretch, and it’s an experience that will likely serve RBC well this season. Next game: Saturday at No. 11 Colts Neck (0-1).
3. Rumson-Fair Haven (1-0). Last week: No. 5
Senior quarterback Owen O’Toole threw for 233 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a touchdown, and junior wideout Nick Thomas had a breakout game with seven receptions for 110 yards as the Bulldogs picked up a 24-6 victory over then-No. 3 Middletown South. O’Toole tossed an 11-yard touchdown pass to senior Nick Rigby and ran for a one-yard touchdown, senior Cooper Bunnell ran for a 2-yard touchdown, and senior Ryan Child kicked a 26-yard field goal. Next game: Friday vs. Matawan (0-1).
4. Donovan Catholic (1-0). Last week: No. 4
Junior wide receiver Michael Thomas caught five passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns and sophomore running back Najee Calhoun ran for 82 yards and a touchdown as the Griffins opened an 18-point halftime lead and held on for a 21-16 victory over St. Augustine. Senior quarterback Todd Lambertson and sophomore quarterback Zach LaBarca each tossed touchdown passes. Next game: Friday vs. No. 8 Long Branch (1-0).
5. Middletown South (0-1). Last week: No. 3
The Eagles drop two spots after their 24-6 loss to Rumson-Fair Haven. Middletown South standout senior quarterback/defensive back/kicker/punter Jake Czwakiel left the game with a lower-body injury in the first quarter and did not return, leaving the Eagles with a hole at four different positions. They nearly tied the game after and Owen Richter touchdown catch from backup quarterback Jackson Harris in the second quarter, but only got as close as 7-6 before the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half. The Eagles have plenty of talent but will need Czwakiel back to play at their full potential. Next game: Thursday at Raritan (0-0).
6. Point Boro (1-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 202 yards and three touchdowns, senior running back Jake Croce ran for 112 yards and a touchdown, and freshman running back Jake Clayton had a 31-yard touchdown run and a 77-yard kickoff return touchdown to power the Panthers to a 42-20 Colonial Division victory over No. 11 Colts Neck. It was an impressive victory for Point Boro, which showed it can go toe-to-toe with a physical Group 4 team. Next game: Saturday at Manasquan (1-0).
7. Jackson Memorial (0-0). Last week: No. 7
The Jaguars open their season in Week 1 when they welcome Manalapan to John J. Munley Field, so no movement for Jackson until it gets a chance on the field. Next game: Thursday vs. No. 9 Manalapan (1-0).
8. Long Branch (1-0). Last week: No. 8
Senior quarterback Earnest Reevey ran for 210 yards and three touchdowns and senior running back Zaheem Brown ran for 184 yards as the Green Wave earned a 23-21 victory over a perennially-tough Piscataway team. Next game: Friday at No. 4 Donovan Catholic (1-0).
9. Manalapan (1-0). Last week: No. 14
The Braves jump five spots after a 35-13 victory over Wall that earned the group Jersey Mike’s Team of the Week honors. Junior running back Jason Rodriguez ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, senior wide receiver Anthony Macchio caught three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Ryan Dougherty threw for 122 yards and a score, and A’shere Woolfolk ran for a touchdown. Vin DiFilippo added a defensive touchdown with a fumble recovery. Next game: Thursday at No. 7 Jackson Memorial (0-0).
10. Marlboro (0-0). Last week: No. 10
The Mustangs open their season this weekend. Next game: Saturday vs. St. John Vianney (0-1).
11. Colts Neck (0-1). Last week: No. 11
The Cougars hold at No. 11 despite a season-opening loss. Senior running back Chris Scully ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Dom Beninato threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Aiden Diaz, but the Cougars could not slow down Point Boro’s triple-option offense and fell to the No. 6 Panthers, 42-20, in a Colonial Division game. Next game: Saturday vs. No. 2 Red Bank Catholic.
12. Red Bank (0-0). Last week: No. 12
The Bucs open their season this weekend. Next game: Friday at Freehold Township (0-1).
13. Brick Memorial (1-0). Last week: No. 15
Senior quarterback Connor Dietz accounted for 398 yards of offense and six touchdowns, rushing for 225 yards and five touchdowns and throwing for 173 yards and a touchdown to power the Mustangs to a 51-25 win over Allentown. Senior wide receiver Jasaan Whittaker caught five passes for 110 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Na’zeer Whittaker ran for 85 yards a touchdown. The best sign for the Mustangs was that its defense shut out Allentown in the second half and allowed Dietz to rally the offense to a convincing victory. A big nondivisional game is on top this week. Next game: Friday vs. No. 14 Middletown North.
14. Middletown North (1-0). Last week: not ranked
Senior running back Neno Morgan-Acker ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Luke Sheehan as the Lions scored 24 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Freehold Township, 45-21. Sheehan completed 11 of 15 passes for 187 yards and two scores, also connecting with senior Colin Jacques (2 rec. 82 yards) on a touchdown. Shane Volante added 103 yards rushing on 12 carries in a great season debut for the Middletown North offense. Next game: Friday at No. 13 Brick Memorial (1-0).
15. Wall (0-1). Last week: No. 13
Senior quarterback Andrew Olsen ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Shea Brennan but the Knights could not overcome a 15-point halftime deficit and fell to Manalapan, 35-13. Wall is already facing a crossroads this week with a key nondivisional game before beginning its arduous American Division schedule. Next game: Friday vs. No. 16 Howell (0-0).
16. Howell (0-0). Last week: No. 16
The Rebels open their season this weekend versus another ranked team. Next game: Friday at No. 15 Wall (0-1).
Dropped out: Matawan (No. 9 last week, lost 42-0 to Cedar Creek)
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