Shore Sports Network Shore 16 Football Rankings for Sept. 26
In recent years, ranking the bottom half of our former Top 10 presented the most consistent challenge each week. So it should come as no surprise that in our new Shore 16 setup, teams 10 through 16 are causing chaos on a weekly basis.
One week after a seismic shift at the top of the Shore Sports Network Football Shore 16, we have major changes to the bottom half coming off a Week 4 in which teams ranked 11 through 16 all suffered defeats. The result is three new teams entering the top 16 and a headache of a triangle to sort through.
The triumvirate of Raritan, Long Branch, and Manalapan proved most difficult to separate. The Rockets launch into the rankings after a 20-16 upset over Manalapan. The Braves own a win over Long Branch (33-6), however, while the Green Wave beat Raritan (33-16) two weeks ago.
And while strength of schedule is clearly a factor in the rankings and a major reason why many undefeated teams have not been ranked, last week's results give an opportunity to a pair of fresh squads sporting unblemished marks. We'll see what they can do now that there's a number next to their name.
With that, here is the latest SSN Football Shore 16.
1. Donovan Catholic (4-0). Last week: No. 1
Junior wide receiver Michael Thomas III had 187 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns and sophomore running back Najee Calhoun ran for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the Griffins' 35-0 shutout over then-No. 16 Wall. A huge nonconference test awaits Donovan on Saturday when it travels north to face a perennial juggernaut. Next game: Saturday at St. Joseph-Montvale (4-1, ranked No. 2 in NJ)
2. Red Bank Catholic (3-1). Last week: No. 2
Senior running back Luke Wassef ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns and the Caseys' defense forced four turnovers to stifle No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven's passing attack in a 34-6 victory over their rival. Senior wideout Emanuel Ross caught a pair of touchdown passes from junior quarterback Frankie Williams, senior linebacker Davin Brewton returned an interception for a touchdown, and defensive back Stephen Myers pulled down two interceptions. Since a 24-6 loss to state No. 1 Bergen Catholic in Week 0, RBC has allowed just 13 points in three games. The Caseys will go on the road this week with a chance to avenge one of its two losses from last season. Next game: Saturday at Seton Hall Prep (1-3).
3. Toms River North (4-1). Last week: No. 3
With star senior quarterback Micah Ford out of the lineup with an injury, the Mariners turned in an exceptional defensive performance and used three touchdowns from versatile senior Jeremiah Pruitt to defeat No. 5 Middletown South, 21-7. Pruitt caught a 32-yard touchdown pass from TJ Valerio and ran for a pair of 4-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter. Senior linebacker Christian Oliveri had 10 tackles, 2 hits for a loss, an interception, and a fumble recovery to help lead a defense that surrendered just 68 yards of offense. Next game: Friday at Southern (3-2).
4. Rumson-Fair Haven (2-2). Last week: No. 4
The Bulldogs had a tough day offensively vs. No. 2 Red Bank Catholic in a 34-6 defeat. Although it was a one-score game entering the fourth quarter, Rumson standout junior quarterback Owen O'Toole was held to just 75 yards on 10 of 22 passing with one touchdown and three interceptions. Sophomore running back Kellen Murray led the way with 81 yards rushing on 16 carries and senior wideout Nick Rigby caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown. RBC blew the game open with 20 points in a span of under two minutes in the fourth quarter. Rumson ventures outside of the American Division this week but will face an undefeated team. Next game: Friday at No. 6 Point Boro (4-0).
5. Middletown South (2-2). Last week: No. 5
The Eagles battled No. 3 Toms River North but ultimately fell to the Mariners, 21-7. Middletown South's offense could only muster 68 yards of offense but was able to tie the game 7-7 midway through the third quarter on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jake Czwakiel to Owen Richter after a fumble recovery. Senior linebacker Colin Gallagher continued his excellent season with 14 tackles and a forced fumble. Next game: Friday vs. No. 9 Colts Neck (2-2).
6. Point Boro (4-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior running back Jake Croce ran for 125 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Matt Oliphant also ran for two touchdowns as the Panthers and their high-octane offense rolled to a 42-14 win over then-No. 14 Long Branch. Freshman running back Jake Clayton and junior fullback Dylan Reitmeyer also had touchdown runs and senior defensive back Owen Dewysockie had an interception on defense. Point Boro is averaging 42.5 points per game this season. Their biggest test of the season comes this Friday when an American Divison powerhouse heads to Al Saner Field. Next game: Friday vs. No. 4 Rumson-Fair Haven (2-2).
7. Jackson Memorial (4-0). Last week: No. 7
Sophomore running back Jonah Glenn ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns and senior defensive end Shaun Hubbard recorded a career-high four sacks in the Jaguars' 20-14 win over Howell. Dennis Caswell threw for 132 yards and a touchdown, connecting with senior Jaiden Hernandez for a score through the air. Senior defensive back Albert D'Alessandro made 13 tackles and clinched the win with a highlight-reel interception. The Jags renew an old-school Class A South rivalry in Week 5. Next game: Friday at Brick (4-1).
8. Marlboro (4-0). Last week: No. 8
Senior running back Matt Cassidy ran for 150 yards and two touchdowns and senior quarterback Brayden Klein tossed a 35-yard touchdown pass to senior wideout Sam Hirsch in the Mustangs' 21-7 victory over Lacey. Senior linebacker Mike Consolazio recorded his eighth sack and senior defensive back Nick Scaff secured his second interception of the season. Next game: Friday at No. 15 Freehold Township (3-2).
9. Colts Neck (2-2). Last week: No. 9
Senior running back Chris Scully ran for 154 yards and three touchdowns, senior quarterback Dom Beninato threw a touchdown and ran for a score, and senior Ethan Mathieu had a 56-yard touchdown run and a 35-yard touchdown catch in the Cougars' 42-7 win over Red Bank. After starting the season 0-2 with losses to No. 6 Point Boro and No. 2 RBC, Colts Neck has responded with big wins over Manalapan and RBR. They'll look to keep the momentum going with an opportunity against one of the Shore's top programs. Next game: Friday at No. 5 Middletown South (2-2).
10. Brick Memorial (5-0). Last week: No. 10
Senior quarterback Connor Dietz ran for 276 yards and three touchdowns to become the Mustangs' all-time leading rusher and lead the way in a 40-26 victory over No. 15 Freehold Township. Dietz also had six tackles and an interception on defense. Junior running back Kevin Andrews ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore defensive back Nyzier Matthews returned an interception for a touchdown, and sophomore linebacker Trey Tallmadge also intercepted a pass. Brick Memorial is 5-0 for the first time since 2012. Next game: Saturday at Manasquan (2-2).
11. Holmdel (4-0). Last week: not ranked
The Hornets are 4-0 for the first time since 2007 and join the rankings off a 23-0 shutout victory over Manasquan. Senior running back Anthony Setteducate had a touchdown run and a touchdown catch and senior linebacker Gary Collyer returned an interception for a touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Jack Cannon continued his breakout season with 158 yards passing and the defense turned in another cohesive performance. Holmdel has allowed a conference-low 20 points this season and has recorded two straight shutouts. Next game: Friday vs. Freehold (2-2).
12. Manalapan (2-3). Last week: No. 11
This is where the rankings get interesting. Manalapan falls one spot to No. 12 but remains ahead of Raritan, which just handed the Braves a 20-16 setback for their second straight loss. Senior Anthony Macchio had a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to highlight Manalapan's night. Comparing the scores, as we did in the intro, is why Manalapan gets the nod over Long Branch and Raritan, but the leash is short. Next game: Friday at Howell (0-4).
13. Long Branch (2-3). Last week: No. 14
The Green Wave fell to No. 6 Point Boro, 42-14. Quentin Fisher and Earnest Reevey had touchdown runs but it was Fisher and not Reevy playing quarterback as the latter is still recovering from a hand injury suffered in the first game of the season. Davon Craft ran for a team-high 69 yards on nine carries. Junior Joseph Corley had another strong game on defense with nine tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss. Next game: Saturday vs. St. John Vianney (1-4).
14. Raritan (2-2). Last week: not ranked
The Rockets defeated Manalapan, 20-16, to jump into the rankings but are behind the Braves for reasons outlined in the intro. Jayden Craft ran for 93 yards and a touchdown and on defense posted 11 tackles and an interception. Matthew Jones ran for 97 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Logan Goldsberry also ran for a score. Linebackers Logan Acevedo and Kyle Walling each recorded 10 tackles. Next game: Friday at Ocean (2-2).
15. Freehold Township (3-2). Last week: No. 15
Junior quarterback Nick Cardone threw for 276 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown, but was also intercepted three times in the Patriots' 40-26 setback to No. 10 Brick Memorial. Senior wideout Nick Carnevale caught three passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns and senior GianPaul Cortes hauled in a 27-yard touchdown. Next game: Friday vs. No. 8 Marlboro (4-0).
16. Pinelands (4-0). Last week: not ranked
The Wildcats get the 16th and final spot after eking out a 12-6 victory over Toms River East to improve to 4-0 for the first time since at least the late 1990s. Quarterback Ty Klline ran for two touchdowns, senior wideout Mike Frawley caught 10 passes for 91 yards, and sophomore Eric Kobilnyk ran for 95 yards and had nine tackles with two tackles for loss on defense. Pinelands faces a dangerous team coming off its first win before a string of games that will decide the Liberty Division title. Next game: Friday at Matawan (1-4).
Brick (4-1, No. 12 last week; lost 18-13 to Matawan)
Middletown North (2-3, No. 13 last week; lost 28-12 to Southern)
Wall (1-4, No. 16 last week; lost 35-0 to No. 1 Donovan Catholic)
Keep an eye on:
Toms River South (3-1)