The state playoffs began last weekend with 23 Shore Conference public schools beginning their quest for a state championship (the four non-public qualifiers had byes). Now, heading into the sectional semifinals, just nine teams are left standing.

The results from the sectional quarterfinals didn’t do much to change the Shore Sports Network Top 09, however, with just two ranked teams losing in the first round and three others having byes in the Non-Public Group 3 bracket.

The significant change is Toms River East finally moving into the top 10 after knocking on the door for the past few weeks. The Raiders’ victory over Middletown North in the Central, Group 4 playoffs coupled with Ocean’s first-round loss in the South, Group 3 section thrust Toms River East into the rankings for the first time in a decade.

The other ranked team from last week to suffer a defeat was Manalapan, but the Braves stay put – for now – because of their body of work over the course of a difficult regular-season schedule. The two teams ranked directly behind Manalapan also didn’t play last week, so while the Braves will almost certainly end the season ranked, their fall is inevitable.

Three of the four Non-Public Group 3 teams – St. John Vianney, Donovan Catholic Mater Dei – play their quarterfinal games this weekend while Red Bank Catholic, the No. 2 seed, has a bye into the semifinals and won’t play until Nov. 22. Donovan hosts St. John Vianney in one of three all-Shore matchups. Top-ranked Wall will host Lacey in Central, Group 3 and Jackson Memorial will host Toms River East in Central, Group 4.

1. Wall (9-0). Last week: No. 1

Junior quarterback Logan Peters ran for three touchdowns and threw another to sophomore tight end Blake Rezk as the Crimson Knights raced out to a 49-0 halftime lead en route to a 49-7 win over Allentown in the Central, Group 3 quarterfinals. Casey Larkin and Dale McNally also had touchdown runs and Eric Rodriguez returned a fumble for a touchdown. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 vs. Lacey (7-3) in the Central, Group 3 semifinals.

  

2. Toms River North (9-1). Last week: No. 2 

Junior wide receiver Zach Goodale caught three passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns and senior Matt Spalletta ran for two touchdowns as the Mariners eclipsed 40 points for the fourth straight game in a 42-17 win over South Brunswick in the Central, Group 4 quarterfinals. Senior running back Jared Pruitt added 77 yards rushing and a touchdown and senior defensive tackle CJ Niedzielski returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 vs. Kingsway (5-4) in the Central, Group 4 semifinals.

 

3. Mater Dei Prep (6-3). Last week: No. 3

The Seraphs did not play in Week 9 because the Non-Public Group 3 playoffs and its six-team bracket doesn’t get going until this weekend. Mater Dei is the No. 3 seed. Next game: Saturday, Nov. 16 vs. Pope John (1-8) in the Non-Public Group 3 quarterfinals.

  

4. Jackson Memorial (7-2). Last week: No. 4 

Senior wide receiver Zach Novak had a touchdown reception and also advanced an offensive fumble 60 yards for a touchdown to help the Jaguars defeat Moorestown, 20-0, in the Central, Group 4 quarterfinals. Wall Doman returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown for the signature play of a defense that shut down the Quakers. Senior defensive end Collin McCarthy had three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery and senior linebacker Brian Zapata forced two fumbles. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 vs. No. 10 Toms River East (9-1) in the Central, Group 4 quarterfinals.

  

5. Manalapan (5-4). Last week: No. 5

Senior running back Andre Johnson had a 1-yard touchdown and junior Vin Rea kicked a 30-yard field goal but the Braves fell to Cherokee, 12-10, in the Central, Group 5 quarterfinals. Next game: Season complete.

  

6. Red Bank Catholic (5-3). Last week: No. 6 

The Caseys are the No. 2 seed in the Non-Public Group 3 Tournament and have a bye into the semifinals. Their last game was a 42-7 win over Freehold Township on Nov. 1. Next game: Friday, Nov. 22 vs. the winner of Mater Dei Prep/Pope John in the Non-Public Group 3 semifinals.

  

7. Donovan Catholic (8-1). Last week: No. 7 

The Griffins did not play last week with the Non-Public Group 3 yet to get underway. Their last game was a 48-0 win over Lakewood on Nov. 2. Donovan is the No. 4 seed and will look to win its second playoff game in program history. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 vs. St. John Vianney (4-4) in the Non-Public Group 3 quarterfinals.

  

8. Middletown South (4-4). Last week: No. 9

Senior running back Vinny Condito ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries to lead a punishing ground attack that sent the Eagles to a 24-7 win over Hamilton West in the Central, Group 4 quarterfinals. Senior Chris Lotito had a touchdown run and also intercepted a pass on defense and Mike D’Amato kicked a 25-yard field goal. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 at Hammonton (8-2).

 

9. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-4). Last week: No. 10 

Junior running back John Volker ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns and the Bulldogs’ defense allowed just 117 yards in a 27-6 win over Delsea in the Central, Group 3 quarterfinals. Senior quarterback Collin Coles threw a touchdown pass to junior tight end Luke Devlin and senior Pete Crowley ran for a touchdown. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 vs. Timber Creek (6-3) in the Central, Group 3 semifinals.

  

10. Toms River East (9-1). Last week: not ranked 

Gino Gallo and Yusuf Ahmed scored rushing touchdowns and Nick Costa kicked a 31-yard field goal as the Raiders defeated Middletown North, 17-7, for their first playoff win since 2009. Senior quarterback Mike Goodall ran for 119 yards to pace the offense and senior Alex Smith had a key interception early in the second half. Next game: Friday, Nov. 15 at No. 4 Jackson Memorial (7-2) in the Central, Group 4 quarterfinals.

 

Dropped out: Ocean (No. 8 last week)

  

Keep an eye on:

Long Branch (4-5): The Green Wave went down to Highland and came away with a 33-3 victory. They will host seventh-seeded Ocean City in the South, Group 4 semifinals as they look to reach their third straight sectional championship game.

 

Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at bob.badders@townsquaremedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.

 

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