The Jeep Store Shore Conference Football Top 10, 9/17/19
Maybe it was the fact that Week 1 began on Friday the 13th with a glowing harvest moon dominating the night sky, or maybe it’s just that there’s a lot of parity throughout the Shore Conference. Whether it was the supernatural or just a preternatural weekend of high school football, there were plenty of people doing a double-take when the scores began to roll in.
Three ranked teams were taken down in Week 1, including two teams in the top three, while three more ranked teams narrowly avoided upset bids. Middletown North came through with a victory over Long Branch, which was ranked No. 3 last week. Wall was ranked No. 9 last week, so it’s victory over then-No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven wasn’t a stunning upset, but it was nevertheless impressive. St. John Vianney was a borderline Top 10 team entering the season but conquered Middletown South to knock last week’s No. 10 team out of the rankings and jump all the way into the top five.
Elsewhere, Red Bank Catholic, Toms River North and Manalapan escaped with victories in games that came down to the wire. The only constant was top-ranked Mater Dei Prep, which rolled to a 34-point victory over Jackson Memorial.
Plenty of changes this week, so let’s get right to it.
1. Mater Dei Prep (2-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior running back Malik Ingram ran for 118 yards and four touchdowns on just nine carries and senior Khurram Simpson recorded three sacks and blocked a punt as the Seraphs controlled then-No. 8 Jackson Memorial, 41-7. Sophomore quarterback Alex Brown threw for 165 yards and two touchdowns and junior Naran Buntin caught two passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. The Seraphs have won 19 straight regular-season games against Shore Conference teams. Next week: Saturday, Sept. 21 at Freehold (1-1).
2. Wall (2-0). Last week: No. 9
The Crimson Knights turned in a terrific defensive performance and the offense came alive in the second half to forge a 14-3 victory over previous No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven. Senior defensive end Ian Ackerman recorded 10 tackles with one sack and one tackle for loss while senior linebacker Dean Terry, sophomore linebacker Colin Riley and senior strong safety Jaden Carasquillo also had one sack each. Wall held Rumson to 138 yards of offense, including just 40 rushing yards. Junior quarterback Logan Peters ran for 90 yards and a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass and junior running back Casey Larkin had 108 scrimmage yards. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 at No. 9 Jackson Memorial.
3. Rumson-Fair Haven (1-1). Last week: No. 2
One week after a resounding win over Red Bank Catholic, the Bulldogs were shut down by Wall in a 14-3 loss. Michael Piperno’s 20-yard field goal in the first quarter accounted for the only points Rumson could muster against a suffocating Wall defense. Senior wideout Patrick Jamin led the offense with four receptions for 71 yards. The Bulldogs drop only one spot because the loss was to a ranked team and they have a win over a ranked team, among other reasons. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 vs. Long Branch (1-1).
4. Donovan Catholic (2-0). Last week: No. 7
To say the Griffins have taken care of business in their first two games would be an understatement. Senior quarterback Ryan Clark accounted for 155 yards and three touchdowns and senior running back Damian Johnson ran for 107 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries as Donovan beat Point Boro, 55-0, for its second straight shutout to start the season. Junior linebacker Quamire Green had 10 tackles and senior defensive back Andre Laney had an interception. The Griffins have outscored their first two opponents, Linden and Point Boro, 90-0. Donovan does not have as challenging a schedule as many of the other ranked teams do, but so far has been lights out. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 at Holmdel (1-0).
5. St. John Vianney (1-0). Last week: not ranked
If the Shore Sports Network rankings went beyond 10 teams, the No. 11 team to start the season probably would have been St. John Vianney. With that in mind, it wasn’t a surprise the Lancers scored a win over Middletown South, but the manner in which they did certainly opened eyes. Senior quarterback CJ Duell threw for 174 yards and a touchdown, sophomore Jayden Bellamy caught five passes for 124 yards and a touchdown and Antonio Rosato had a pair of touchdowns as SJV whacked the Eagles, 35-7. The impetus for moving SJV all the way to No. 5 is its margin of victory over Middletown South compared to that of Manalapan’s (23-13 in Week 0), plus the fact that Red Bank Catholic, Toms River North and Manalapan had to eke out victories over unranked teams. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 at Brick (1-1).
6. Red Bank Catholic (1-1). Last week: No. 4
The Caseys escaped Vic Kubu Warrior Field with a 7-0 win over Manasquan thanks to a 10-yard touchdown run by Elijah Jules late in the third quarter. While the offense struggled all afternoon to move the ball on the ground and through the air, the defense was tremendous in holding Manasquan under 100 yards of offense. The defending Non-Public Group 3 state champions have not looked as good as expected so far and this week they face a potential crossroads to their season against another traditional power desperate for a victory. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 vs. Middletown South (0-2).
7. Toms River North (2-0). Last week: No. 5
Senior wide receiver Dominick Jacob caught three passes for 135 yards and an 80-yard touchdown and seniors Justin Burkert, Matt Spalletta and Vinny Palmieri led a clutch defensive effort as the Mariners held off Southern, 17-12. Spalletta blocked a punt and had a touchdown run and Burkert had four tackles for loss plus a 40-yard field goal. Junior quarterback Jake Kazanowsky threw for 165 yards and senior running back Jarrod Pruitt ran for 99 yards. A huge game awaits this week. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 vs. No. 8 Manalapan (2-0).
8. Manalapan (2-0). Last week: No. 6
The Braves offense couldn’t get going in a 14-7 win over Howell, but the defense did the job to keep the Rebels at bay and push the team to 2-0. Senior running back Andre Johnson ran for 64 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Sean Kehley threw for 143 yards. Charlie Paulucci recorded a team-high 11 tackles, Jake Freedman added 10 tackles, Matt Benedetti recorded one sack and Johnson added an interception. Manalapan has a critical game on Friday night against a fellow undefeated American Division rival. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 at No. 7 Toms River North (2-0).
9. Jackson Memorial (1-1). Last week: No. 8
The Jaguars ran into a buzz saw in the form of No. 1 Mater Dei Prep and suffered a 41-7 defeat. Quarterback Lonnie Cebulski had a touchdown run and senior defensive end Collin McCarthy had a sack and two tackles for loss to lead the way. The Jaguars will try to bounce back and have a great opportunity on Friday night at The Jungle. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 vs. No. 2 Wall (2-0).
10. Middletown North (1-1). Last week: not ranked
There were several options for the 10th and final spot. We went with the Lions after they pulled off the biggest upset of Week 1 by taking down previous No. 3 Long Branch, 20-14. Senior running back Anthony Soto ran for a touchdown and also threw a touchdown to Matt Spencer. Quarterback Nick Ferreira also threw a touchdown to Spencer, who finished with five catches for 152 yards and two scores. Eddie Farrell made 11 tackles with two tackles for loss and Jake Jankowski recorded 12 tackles with a sack and a forced fumble to lead the defense. Next game: Friday, Sept. 20 vs. Marlboro (0-2).
Dropped out: Long Branch (No. 3 last week), Middletown South (No. 10 last week).
Key an eye on:
Red Bank (2-0)
Managing editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.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.