Shore Sports Network Football Shore 16 Rankings for Sept. 6
Now that every Shore Conference team has played at least once, Labor Day has passed, school is back in session, college football is already off the rails, and the NFL kicks off on Thursday, we can definitively say that football season is in full swing.
Week 1 of the high school football season saw 15 area teams make their season debut and many more play their second games of the young season. There are 16 unbeaten teams in the Shore, including nine 2-0 squads. Three of those are in the American Division with Toms River North, Rumson-Fair Haven, and Donovan Catholic, but that doesn't figure to remain that way for long, especially with two of those teams meeting this weekend.
When the balls hit the air Friday evening it will mark the first big week of divisional play after teams played mostly inter-divisional and non-conference games in Week 0 and Week 1. Many of the questions we've asked throughout the last three weeks will begin to get answered as division favorites emerge.
The rankings mostly held true based on last week's results but we do have some movement and one new team. The challenge with ranking 16 teams this season has been balancing a team's record, strength of schedule, and what we've been able to perceive in person for teams we covered. For example, there is an 0-2 team in this week's rankings. While that sounds odd, that team played two top-six teams in its first two weeks and most of the teams in the Shore would have the same record if that were the case for them. They are certainly one of the top 16 teams in the conference. We also had a team move up two spots after a loss. It makes sense, I promise.
All that and more in the latest Shore Sports Network Football Shore 16.
1. Toms River North (2-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior quarterback Micah Ford threw for 131 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 91 yards and a touchdown as the Mariners rolled to a 42-0 win over Toms River East. Jeremiah Pruitt and Cam Thomas caught touchdown passes from Ford in the first half and Tareq Council hauled in a touchdown pass from TJ Valerio in the third quarter. Josh Moore and Mordecai Ford added touchdown runs in the second half. Senior linebacker Anthony Rodriguez led a Marienrs' defense that recorded 11 tackles for loss. A huge top-five divisional showdown looms this weekend. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 at No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven.
2. Red Bank Catholic (1-1). Last week: No. 2
Senior wide receiver Emanuel Ross ran for a 65-yard touchdown and caught a touchdown pass, and senior running back Luke Wassef ran for 40 yards and two touchdowns on four carries as the Caseys bounced back with a 34-7 win over then-No. 11 Colts Neck. Junior quarterback Frankie Williams completed 10 of 13 passes for 107 yards and a touchdown and junior running back/linebacker Jamie Gutridge ran for a touchdown and recorded nine tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss on defense. RBC has a bye this week and will return to action with a division game in Week 3. Next game: Friday, Sept. 15 vs. No. 15 Wall (1-1).
3. Rumson-Fair Haven (2-0). Last week: No. 3
Junior quarterback Owen O'Toole completed 11 of 16 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, running backs Alastair Orr and Kellen Murray had touchdown runs, and junior linebacker Austin Kiernan returned an interception for a touchdown in the Bulldogs' 27-6 win over Matawan. Orr, a senior, ran for 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and Murray, a sophomore, ran for 68 yards and a touchdown on five carries. Matteo Gangemi had an 11-yard touchdown catch and senior wideout Nick Rigby caught four passes for 70 yards. Rumson already has one top-five win under its belt this season and will try for another when the Shore's No. 1 team brings its 16-game winning streak to Borden Stadium. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 vs. No. 1 Toms River North.
4. Donovan Catholic (2-0). Last week: No. 4
Senior quarterback Todd Lambertson completed 7 of 9 passes for 86 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown in the Griffins' 41-13 victory over No. 8 Long Branch. Sophomore running back Najee Calhoun ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and junior wideout Michael Thomas III caught three passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Emanuel Gerena had a 19-yard touchdown catch and sophomore quarterback Zach LaBarca ran for 98 yards on seven carries. Donovan has a bye ahead of a massive Week 3 showdown. Next game: Friday, Sept. 15 vs. No. 1 Toms River North (2-0).
5. Middletown South (1-1). Last week: No. 5
Senior Colin Gallagher had a monster two-way game with a career-high 241 yards rushing and three touchdowns plus 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble to power the Eagles to a 19-0 victory over Raritan. It was a clutch performance by Gallagher with Middletown South already without starting quarterback Jake Czwakiel and then losing starting running back Donovan Summey to a leg injury during the game. If the Eagles can get those two standouts back soon they should remain in the thick of the American Division race. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 vs. No 15 Wall (1-1).
6. Point Boro (2-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 54 yards and two touchdowns as the Panthers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from Manasquan in a 35-7 victory. Oliphant had a 6-yard touchdown pass to Colin Obser on fourth-and-goal and a 4-yard touchdown pass to Brayden Forfar, also on fourth-and-goal. He had touchdown runs of 14 and six yards. Obser added a 44-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Point Boro is on a bye this week before jumping back into divisional play. Next game: Thursday, Sept. 14 at Red Bank (0-1).
7. Jackson Memorial (1-0). Last week: No. 7
Senior receiver Frank Castellano caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Dennis Caswell before senior cornerback Ryan Jagodzinski forced a goal-line fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Ethan Kalinauskas to give the Jaguars 20-13 overtime victory over No. 9 Manalapan. Sophomore running back Jonah Glenn ran for 156 yards and a touchdown and senior fullback Brandon Bigelow had a 4-yard touchdown run. Senior defensive end Shaun Hubbard had a strong game with two sacks and a tackle for loss. Jackson opens Freedom Division play this weekend. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 at Lacey (0-2).
8. Long Branch (1-1). Last week: No. 8
Junior Aulander Daniels ran for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass filling in for injured senior quarterback Earnest Reevey during a 41-13 loss to No. 4 Donovan Catholic. Reevey injured his hand prior to the game vs. the Griffins and was only able to play on defense after rushing for over 200 yards in a Week 0 victory over Piscataway. Reevey's availability at quarterback is certainly something to monitor going forward with some important Colonial Division games on the horizon, including this week against a fellow ranked team. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 vs. No. 9 Manalapan (1-1).
9. Manalapan (1-1). Last week: No. 9
The Braves lost a 20-13 overtime heartbreaker to No. 7 Jackson Memorial when a fumble at the goal line was recovered by Jackson to end the game. It was a controversial ending as Manalapan argued that running back Jason Rodriguez reached the ball across the plane before it was knocked loose, but the call on the field stood as a fumble. Rodriguez had a touchdown run and senior Jake Horowitz kicked field goals of 22 and 25 yards. Junior quarterback Ryan Doherty threw for 194 yards and senior tight end Joseph Melo caught four passes for 77 yards, including a 44-yard gain on third-and-28 that set up the game-tying field goal late in the fourth quarter. Manalapan opens Colonial Division play with a huge home game this weekend. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 vs. No. 8 Long Branch (1-1).
10. Marlboro (1-0). Last week: No. 10
Junior Luke Houston caught a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brayden Klein and intercepted a pass on defense that led to another touchdown as the Mustangs squeaked past St. John Vianney, 16-7, to open their season. Klein also threw a touchdown to Mike Consolazio and senior Lee Rubin kicked a 37-yard field goal. Consolazio also had nine tackles, a sack, and two tackles for loss on defense, and senior linebacker Matt Cassidy made a team-high 11 tackles. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 at No. 14 Southern (2-0).
11. Brick Memorial (2-0). Last week: No. 13
Senior quarterback Connor Dietz scored on an 11-yard run with 2:23 left in regulation and sophomore defensive back Nyzier Matthews intercepted a pass with just over a minute left to complete the Mustangs' 21-17 comeback victory over No. 12 Middletown North. The Lions led 10-0 in the second quarter before Dietz scored on a 6-yard run on fourth-and-goal with 1.4 seconds left in the first half and junior running back Kevin Andrews scored on a 58-yard run on the second play of the third quarter. Sophomore linebacker Trey Tallmadge had 11 tackles and one sack, Dietz had six tackles and two tackles for loss, and junior Jimmy Popp had an interception as Brick Memorial's defense had a strong second half to hold Middletown North to seven points. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 vs. Barnegat (0-2).
12. Middletown North (1-1). Last week: No. 14
The Lions move up two spots despite a 21-17 loss to Brick Memorial. Middletown North played solid on both sides of the ball and did a good job limiting Brick Memorial quarterback Connor Dietz, but ultimately made too many mistakes that allowed the Mustangs to rally from a 10-point deficit. Junior quarterback Brian O'Donnell had a 4-yard touchdown run, senior wide receiver Colin Jacques caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Luke Sheehan, and senior Ian Poole-Morgan kicked a 29-yard field goal. Senior running back Neno Morgan-Acker ran for 81 yards and senior linebacker Justin Soto led the defense with two tackles for loss among his 21 total tackles. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 at No. 16 Howell (0-1).
13. Colts Neck (0-2). Last week: No. 11
The Cougars remain in the rankings despite being 0-2 with losses to No. 6 Point Boro and No. 2 Red Bank Catholic. The Caseys opened a 28-point halftime lead en route to a 34-7 victory. Senior running back Chris Scully scored the Cougars' lone touchdown while John Sherrod had eight tackles and a forced fumble. Another loss will knock Colts Neck from the rankings but the team has extra time to prepare with a bye this week before resuming their schedule in Week 3. Next game: Thursday, Sept. 14 at No. 9 Manalapan (1-1).
14. Southern (2-0). Last week: not ranked
The Rams vault into the rankings after a 21-0 shutout of rival Central Regional moved their record to 2-0. Senior quarterback Caden Oravets threw for 113 yards and two touchdowns, senior running back Mike Zecena ran for 102 yards and a touchdown, and senior tight end/defensive lineman Armando Sanchez had a 65-yard touchdown catch, a sack, and four tackles for loss. Justin Silva added 88 yards rushing on 11 carries as part of a 230-yard effort on the ground by Southern. Dee Halm and Jackson Hines also had sacks on defense to contribute to the shutout. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 vs. No. 10 Marlboro (1-0).
15. Wall (1-1). Last week: No. 15
A 14-yard touchdown run by junior running back Tony Credle and the extra point by Heath Reinhardt with 4:21 left in the fourth quarter held up as the game-winning points in the Crimson Knights' 21-20 win over No. 16 Wall. Senior quarterback Andrew Olsen threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Shea Brennan and junior running back Mason Adam ran for a 21-yard touchdown in the third quarter to rescue Wall from a 14-0 hole. It was an important win for Wall to get on the board entering its daunting American Division schedule. Next game: Friday, Sept. 8 at No. 5 Middletown South (1-1).
16. Howell (0-1). Last week: No. 16
The Rebels remain in the 16th and final spot after a 21-20 loss to No. 15 Wall. Senior running back Brandon Wright ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and caught seven passes for 52 yards and a touchdown. Junior quarterback Vin Meehan ran for 166 yards on 23 carries and threw a touchdown. Howell has an opportunity to firm up its ranking with a game vs. another ranked team this week. Next game: Friday, Sept. 6 vs. No. 12 Middletown North (1-1).
Red Bank (No. 12 last week, lost 28-13 to Freehold Township
Keep an eye on:
Freehold Township (1-1)