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There's a new No. 1 team in the Shore Conference. The question is, who?

The top spot is up for grabs entering Week 4 because Donovan Catholic delivered the season's biggest splash last Friday. And it was a cannonball.

The Griffins authored one of the biggest wins in program history when they took down top-ranked Toms River North, 21-7, with an outstanding defensive performance that limited the high-powered Mariners' offense to only one touchdown and under 200 yards. The victory was the Griffins' third in a row over their town rival and put a halt to the Mariners' 17-game winning streak.

That brings us to the decision of which team moves up to No. 1. It's between Donovan Catholic, ranked No. 4 last week before its thunderous victory, and Red Bank Catholic, which has been ranked No. 2 since the initial preseason Shore 16. Let's examine.

The Caseys are 2-1 on the season with the lone loss being a respectable 24-6 setback to Bergen Catholic, the No. 1-ranked team in the state. RBC has since followed with blowout wins over Colts Neck (34-6) and Wall (46-0), both of which are ranked in the Shore 16. Donovan Catholic is 3-0 with the best win of any team in the Shore this season - and one of the best statewide. The Griffins also have a win over a state-ranked St. Augustine team and a win over Shore Conference No. 14 Long Branch.

So who did we go with?

Donovan Catholic

The Griffins are the new No. 1 team in the Shore Sports Network Football Shore 16 with the deciding factor being that they have the best win of any team in the conference this season. They were the ones to take down No. 1, and as the great Ric Flair says "To be the man, you gotta beat the man'. The Griffins beat the man.

Since the American Division's top five teams are also the top five teams in the Shore, the battle for No. 1 will be decided on the field. If the rankings hold true for the next six weeks, Donovan will travel to Red Bank Catholic on Oct. 27 in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 battle. But a lot can happen between now and then and a few other teams will have opportunities to state their cases.

A new No. 1 team in the Shore may be the headline but there are several other moves throughout the rankings. Let's dive in.


Football Shore 16


1. Donovan Catholic (3-0). Last week: No. 4

Sophomore running back Najee Calhoun ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns, senior quarterback Todd Lambertson threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Emanuel Gerena, and senior defensive end Zaeir Day led a unit that allowed just seven points and 163 yards of offense in a 21-7 victory over previous No. 1 Toms River North. The Griffins bottled up an explosive Mariners' offense and forced three turnovers. A 3-yard touchdown run by Calhoun midway through the fourth quarter gave DC the lead and he iced the game with a 59-yard touchdown run with just over a minute left. Najee Morgan and Roman Moyers had interceptions in what was a tremendous team effort by the Griffins. Next game: Friday at No. 16 Wall (1-3).


2. Red Bank Catholic (2-1). Last week: No. 2

Junior quarterback Frankie Williams threw a touchdown pass to senior wideout Emanuel Ross and also ran for a touchdown and senior linebacker Davin Brewton returned a fumble for a touchdown to lead the Caseys to a 46-0 win over Wall. The Caseys ran for 255 yards and four touchdowns with Williams, Luke Wassef, Matthew Lonczak, and Jamie Gutridge finding the end zone on the ground. Brewton had 10 tackles and two tackles for loss to go along with his fumble return touchdown and senior Justin LaMorte kicked a 32-yard field goal. Next game: Friday at No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven (2-1).


3. Toms River North (3-1). Last week: No. 1

The Mariners were held in check by a stout Donovan Catholic defense and committed a few too many costly penalties and turnovers in a 21-7 loss to the Griffins that ended their 17-game winning streak. Senior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 104 yards and threw a 36-yard touchdown pass to senior Jeremiah Pruitt, but was injured late in the game and did not return. His status for this week's game against Middletown South is up in the air. Toms River North is still a formidable team and dangerous even if Ford is out for a short period of time. A long-term absence would certainly change things, however. Next game: Friday vs. No. 5 Middletown South (2-1).


4. Rumson-Fair Haven (2-1). Last week: No. 3

The Bulldogs had a bye in Week 3 and drop one spot only due to the circumstances of the three teams ahead of them. Toms River North defeated Rumson, 42-21, in Week 2 so it remains one spot ahead. Next game: Friday vs. No. 2 Red Bank Catholic (2-1).


5. Middletown South (2-1). Last week: No. 5

The Eagles had a bye in Week 3 and it couldn't have come at a better time with several players trying to make their way back from various injuries. Next game: Friday at No. 3 Toms River North (3-1).


6. Point Boro (3-0). Last week: No. 6

Senior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 230 yards and four touchdowns on 11 carries and also threw for a touchdown to lead the Panthers to a 51-13 win over Red Bank. Junior running back Colin Obser caught a touchdown pass and also ran for a 30-yard touchdown and sophomore Calvin Videon-Perino ran for a 50-yard touchdown. Point Boro is averaging 42.7 points per game this season. Next game: Friday vs. No. 14 Long Branch (2-2).


7. Jackson Memorial (3-0). Last week: No. 7

Sophomore running back Jonah Glenn set another career-high with 221 yards rushing plus one touchdown in Jackson's 34-17 win over Middletown North. Senior wide receiver Albert D'Alessandro had three rushing touchdowns and junior quarterback Dennis Caswell threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Jaiden Hernandez. Senior linebacker Ethan Kalinauskas (12 tackles, 4 TFL, 1 sack) and senior defensive end Shaun Hubbard (2 sacks) led the way on defense. Next game: Friday vs. Howell (0-3).


8. Marlboro (3-0). Last week: No. 9

Senior linebacker Mike Consolazio recorded a whopping six sacks and senior running back Matt Cassidy ran for 185 yards and a touchdown as the Mustangs beat Howell, 17-7, to start 3-0 for the third straight year. Senior quarterback Brayden Klein tossed a 45-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Sam Hirsch and senior Luke Rubin connected on a career-long 39-yard field goal. Marlboro's defense was excellent again, holding Howell to five yards of offense and zero first downs in the first half. The Mustangs have allowed just 14 points this season. Next game: Saturday vs. Lacey (1-3).


9. Colts Neck (1-2). Last week: No. 13

The Cougars earned their first win of the season in a major way with a 35-0 shellacking of then-No. 8 Manalapan. Senior running back Chris Scully ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns, Ethan Mathieu returned a fumble for a touchdown, and senior John Sherrod ran for a score. Sherrod also led the way on defense with 10 total tackles, a sack, and three tackles for loss. Next game: Saturday vs. Red Bank (0-3).


10. Brick Memorial (4-0). Last week: No. 10

Senior quarterback Connor Dietz ran for 199 yards and four touchdowns, junior running back Kevin Andrews ran for 50 yards and a touchdown, and junior defensive lineman Joe Cunningham intercepted a pass with under a minute left to help the Mustangs hold off Matawan, 34-24, to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2003. A crucial separation game in the Independence Division is up next for Brick Memorial. Next game: Friday vs. No. 15 Freehold Township (3-1).


11. Manalapan (2-2). Last week: No. 8

The Braves fall three spots after a 35-0 loss to then-No. 13 Colts Neck. Manalapan has wins over No. 14 Long Branch and No. 16 Wall along with an overtime loss to No. 7 Jackson. They'll try to bounce back with another Colonial Division matchup in Week 4. Next game: Friday at Raritan (1-2).


12. Brick (4-0). Last week: No. 12

Sophomore running back Justice Morgan ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Brick's defense was strong yet again to deliver a 21-13 win over Barnegat. Senior quarterback Christian Booker threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Jayden Johnson and senior Kurt Weiboldt kicked a 26-yard field goal. Brick is 4-0 for the first time since 2015. Next game: Friday vs. Matawan (0-4).


13. Middletown North (2-2). Last week: No. 11

The Lions lost to No. 7 Jackson Memorial, 34-17, and fall two spots in the rankings. Next game: Friday at Southern (2-2).


14. Long Branch (2-2). Last week: No. 14

Neptune transfer Davon Craft made his season debut and ran for two touchdowns and senior running back Zaheem Brown also ran for two scores to lead the Green Wave to a 33-16 win over Raritan to snap a two-game skid. Quentin Fisher tossed a touchdown pass to junior Nehemiah Lambert. Playing without standout quarterback Earnest Reevey, who injured his throwing hand in Long Branch's first game, has been a challenge but having Craft back on the field is certainly a boost. Next game: Friday at No. 6 Point Boro (3-0).


15. Freehold Township (3-1). Last week: No. 16

Junior quarterback Nick Cardone threw for 212 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 65 yards on eight carries when the Patriots retained "The Duke" with a 21-7 victory over rival Freehold Boro. Cardone connected with senior Nick Carnevale for two touchdowns and also tossed a scoring pass to junior Noah Cancela. Nick Whisten led the defense with 12 tackles, one tackle for loss, and two pass breakups. A major divisional matchup awaits the Patriots in Week 4. Next game: Friday at No. 10 Brick Memorial (4-0).


16. Wall (1-3). Last week: No. 15

The Crimson Knights remain in the rankings despite being 1-3 and coming off a 46-0 loss to No. 2 Red Bank Catholic. Wall's losses have come to No. 11 Manalapan, No. 5 Middletown South, and No. 2 RBC. Is there a team outside the rankings that would have a better record than Wall vs. that schedule? I don't think so.


Dropped out: 



Keep an eye on:

Manchester (4-0)

Pinelands (3-0)

Holmdel (3-0)

Manasquan (2-1)



Sept. 12

Sept. 6

Aug. 31




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