Shore Sports Network Shore 16 Football Rankings for Oct. 24
The final full weekend of the regular season was a doozy, just the way we like it. With division titles, playoff berths, and some bragging rights on the line, multiple teams delivered dramatic victories to send us into the postseason on a heater.
You can read more about the wild Week 8 on our scoreboard and game stories, and listen to us break it down on our Shore Football Report podcast. The effect on the rankings is surprisingly minimal, mostly because the top teams took care of business in big games. There is a tricky triangle to sort through, however, between Jackson Memorial, Marlboro, and Middletown North.
Middletown North stunned Marlboro with a late touchdown to deny the Mustangs the outright Freedom Division title. That championship will now be shared by Marlboro and Jackson. Separating these three in the rankings is difficult now because Marlboro beat Jackson, Jackson beat Middletown North, and Middletown North beat Marlboro. Record alone can't be the tiebreaker because of the difference in caliber of nondivisional opponents. We separated them based on the quality of their wins and losses plus the recency of the critical games we factored into the decision.
Also clinching division titles were Point Boro and Colts Neck in the Colonial Division, Holmdel in the Constitution Division, Brick Memorial in the Independence Division, and Toms River South in the Liberty Division.
As massive as last week was, this week has even more on the line. The playoffs begin for the public school teams while the No. 1 ranking in the Shore will be up for grabs on Friday night in Toms River when No. 2 Red Bank Catholic travels south to meet No. 1 Donovan Catholic in the Shore Conference game of the year. Since Donovan and RBC are in different state brackets, this will most likely determine the No. 1 team in the Shore for the season. It's the defacto Shore Conference championship game.
Here is the latest Shore 16.
1. Donovan Catholic (7-1). Last week: No. 1
Sophomore running back Najee Calhoun ran for 109 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, senior quarterback Todd Lambertson threw a touchdown pass to sophomore Emanuel Gerena, and Dante Priolo kicked a 21-yard field goal in a grind-it-out 17-13 win over No. 8 Middletown South. Now, the big one. Next game: Friday vs. No. 2 Red Bank Catholic (7-1).
2. Red Bank Catholic (7-1). Last week: No. 2
Junior quarterback Frankie Williams threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 100 yards, while senior wideout Emanuel Ross caught eight passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Caseys to a 35-28 overtime victory over No. 3 Toms River North in an instant classic between two of New Jersey's top teams. Williams led a game-tying, 86-yard scoring drive with 1:42 left and no timeouts and then threw the go-ahead 25-yard touchdown pass to Ross on the first play of overtime. Junior running back Matt Lonczak ran for a touchdown with two seconds left and senior Justin LaMorte added the extra point - after a penalty - to send the game to overtime. LaMorte also kicked a Shore Conference season-long 43-yard field goal and connected on a 22-yard field goal, while senior tight end Jack Bohm-Squicciarini had a 12-yard touchdown catch. Next game: Friday at No. 1 Donovan Catholic (7-1).
3. Toms River North (7-2). Last week: No. 3
The Mariners were on the losing end of an epic battle with No. 2 Red Bank Catholic, falling 35-28 in overtime after rallying to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Senior quarterback Micah Ford ran for a 76-yard touchdown in the first quarter but left the game with an injury later in the quarter and did not return. Junior quarterback TJ Valerio entered and the offense didn't miss a beat with Valerio rushing for a touchdown and throwing touchdown passes to Camryn Thomas and Nasir Jackson to give the Mariners the lead with 7:21 left in the fourth quarter. Toms River North's two losses are to No. 1 Donovan and No. 2 RBC, and they own a win over Millville. North is the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group 5 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Southern (3-6) n the first round of the Central Jersey Group 5 quarterfinals.
4. Brick Memorial (9-0). Last week: No. 4
Senor linebacker Nicco Maribo returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown with 49 seconds left in regulation as the Mustangs snatched victory from the jaws of the defeat to win the "Miracle in the Mud", 19-14, over archrival Brick. The improbable and dramatic victory clinched the Independence Division title and completed a 9-0 regular season. Sophomore linebacker Trey Tallmadge forced the fumble that Maribo returned for the winning score, while senior quarterback Connor Dietz ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Brick Memorial is the No. 3 seed in the Central Jersey Group 4 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Moorestown (6-3) in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.
5. Holmdel (8-0). Last week: No. 5
Holmdel has not allowed a point since Sept. 8 after a statement-making 39-0 shutout of Shore Regional. The Hornets' sixth straight shutout tied a school record for total shutouts in a season, clinched the outright Constitution Division title, and completed an undefeated regular season for the first time since 2007. Senior tight end Matt Tempone caught two passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns, Gary Collyer, AJ Todisco, and Marcus Cemele ran for touchdowns, and senior Connor Mendini kicked a 32-yard field goal. It was another balanced effort by Holmdel's defense with notable games by Brayden Savage (7 tackles, 1 forced fumble) and Connor Fields (5 tackles, 1 TFL). Holmdel is the No. 2 seed in the Central Jersey Group 3 playoffs. Next game: Friday vs. Matawan (4-5) in the Central Jersey Group 3 quarterfinals.
6. Point Boro (7-1). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries and freshman slotback Jake Clayton ran for 70 yards and two touchdowns on four carries in a 50-0 win over Raritan that clinched a tie for the Colonial Division title. Senior fullback Jake Croce, senior fullback Graysen Pagan, and junior quarterback Mikey Ollendorf had one touchdown run each, and junior linebacker Dylan Reitmeyer had seven tackles and a sack to lead the defense to its first shutout of the season. Point Boro is the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group 2 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Spotswood (8-1) in the Central Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals.
7. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-4). Last week: No. 7
Senior tight end Jackson Gallagher caught three passes for 67 yards and two touchdowns and senior running back Alastair Orr returned from injury to rush for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries to send the Bulldogs to a 21-0 win over Wall. Junior defensive back Cole Pangborn intercepted two passes, senior linebacker Reed Elsas had 8.5 tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss, and junior defensive back Jacob Tobias had a sack and a forced fumble to lead the defense to its first shutout of the season. Rumson, which reached the Group 2 state final last season, is the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Group 2 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Delaware Valley (5-3) in the South Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals.
8. Middletown South (3-4). Last week: No. 8
Senior quarterback Jake Czwakiel threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Owen Richter and also ran for a touchdown in a 17-13 loss to No. 1 Donovan Catholic. Senior linebacker Colin Gallagher led a strong defensive effort with 14 tackles, a tackle for loss, and a forced fumble. The Eagles' four losses this season are to No. 1 Donovan, No. 2 RBC, No. 3 Toms River North, and No. 7 Rumson. They are the No. 4 seed in the South Jersey Group 4 section. Next game: Friday vs. Shawnee (4-5) in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.
9. Colts Neck (5-3). Last week: No. 11
Senior running back Chris Scully ran for 185 yards and four touchdowns to become the program's all-time leading rusher and lead the Cougars to a dominant 57-20 win over Long Branch that clinched a tie with Point Boro for the Colonial Division title. Scully also returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown as part of his memorable afternoon. Senior quarterback Dom Beninato tossed touchdown passes to Tesio Carabello and John Sherrod and Devin Donnelly ran for a touchdown. The Cougars also earned a home playoff game with the victory and are seeded third in South Jersey Group 4. Next game: Saturday vs. Toms River South (6-2) in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.
10. Jackson Memorial (7-1). Last week: No. 10
Sophomore running back Jonah Glenn and junior quarterback Dennis Caswell ran for touchdowns and seniors Shaun Hubbard and Jaiden Hernandez led the defense in a 13-0 victory over Southern that helped the Jaguars clinch a tie with Marlboro for the Freedom Division title. The Jaguars are seeded third in the Central Jersey Group 4 section. Next game: Friday vs. Long Branch (4-4) in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.
11. Marlboro (6-2). Last week: No. 9
The Mustangs rallied to tie the score with 1:15 left but Middletown North responded with a go-ahead touchdown with 17 seconds left to upend the Mustangs, 28-21, and force a tie for the Freedom Division title with Marlboro and Jackson Memorial. Senior running back/linebacker Matt Cassidy had another great two-way game with 127 yards rushing and a touchdown, a 2-point conversion run, a 15-yard catch, 11 tackles, and one tackle for loss. Sophomore quarterback Zach Caporale started in place of injured senior Brayden Klein and threw for 67 yards and a touchdown and ran for 83 yards and a score. He tossed a touchdown to Nick Scaff with 75 seconds left in the game. Marlboro has lost two straight but still earned a home playoff game and will look to make a run in South Jersey Group 5. Next game: Saturday vs. South Brunswick (5-4) in the South Jersey Group 5 quarterfinals.
12. Middletown North (5-3). Last week: No. 13
Senior quarterback Luke Sheehan completed 20 of 26 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns and scrambled for the go-ahead touchdown run with 17 seconds left to lift the Lions to a dramatic 28-21 win over Marlboro. Since falling to 2-3 before their bye week, Middletown North has won three straight to roll into the playoffs with a head of steam. Next game: Friday at Irvington (5-4) in the North 2, Group 4 quarterfinals.
13. Freehold Township (6-3). Last week: No. 14
Senior quarterback Nick Cardone tied the school single-game record with five touchdown passes, two of which went to senior GianPaul Cortes, to lead the Patriots to a 40-27 comeback victory over Barnegat. Freehold Township led 13-0 before Barnegat scored 27 straight points. The Patriots then answered with 27 unanswered points of their own. Jaylen Gill-Anderson, Nick Carnevale, and Noah Cancela had one touchdown catch each and Cortes returned an interception for a touchdown to punctuate the victory. The Patriots are the No. 5 seed in the Central Jersey Group 5 bracket. Next game: Friday at North Brunswick (8-0) in the Central Jersey Group 5 quarterfinals.
14. Long Branch (4-4). Last week: No. 12
Senior running back Da'Von Craft ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Earnest Reevey ran for 89 yards and a score in a 57-20 loss to Colts Neck. It was a tough day for the Green Wave defense and special teams allowing eight touchdowns but the silver lining was Reevey playing without a cast on his throwing hand for the first time since Week 0. Long Branch has a tough road in the Central Jersey Group 4 section but will be very familiar with its upcoming opponent(s). Next game: Friday at Jackson Memorial (7-1) in the Central Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.
15. Toms River South (6-2). Last week: No. 15
Junior running back Jake Henehan ran for a career-high 183 yards and four touchdowns to power the Indians to a 41-20 victory over Central that clinched the Liberty Division championship. Junior running back Damir Nelson added 52 yards rushing and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Jimmy Alexander ran for 100 yards on 22 carries. Toms River South is back in the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Next game: Saturday at Colts Neck (5-3) in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals
16. Manalapan (4-4). Last week: No. 16
Junior defensive back Jackson Pfister returned a punt 90 yards for a touchdown and snagged a game-ending interception when the Braves held off Red Bank, 21-14, to even their record at 4-4 and clinch a playoff spot. Junior quarterback Ryan Dougherty tossed a touchdown pass to senior tight end Joseph Melo and senior linebacker Aidan Wilmot returned a fumble for a touchdown. Manalapan's Jekyll & Hyde season has seen it mostly play to the level of its opponents with big wins and puzzling losses. Maybe that's a good sign with the Braves being seeded seventh and facing an undefeated team in the first round. Next game: Friday at Mainland (9-0) in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals.
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