The Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Nov. 1
We are now into Week 10 of the high school football season and firmly entrenched in the home stretch that will decide state champions and the Shore Sports Network Team of the Year award, which is given to the school that finishes No. 1 in the final Jeep Store Top 10.
A total of 13 teams are still alive in the NJSIAA playoffs, six more teams advanced in the inaugural Regional Invitational Tournaments, and a handful more will be closing out the seasons with consolation games over the next two weeks.
Since the preseason, the top two teams in the Shore Sports Network have been Red Bank Catholic and Toms River North, and that remains unchanged heading into November. The Caseys are 7-1 while the Mariners are a perfect 10-0, but RBC has played the more demanding schedule and has multiple wins over ranked teams. Toms River North continues to make a compelling case because it has been completely dominant this season, averaging 50 points per game and allowing 7.3 points per game.
Middletown South is really coming on strong after a blowout playoff win put the Eagles at 7-1, and Point Boro remains undefeated at 9-0 after an opening-round playoff game in which its offense rushed for over 400 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
The non-public playoffs begin this week with the first round of the Non-Public A Tournament. The Non-Public B games will begin next week because it is an eight-team bracket. The public sectional semifinals will be contested this week as we move one game close to handing out the hardware.
Here is the latest Jeep Store Top 10 sorting through the results of the opening weekend of postseason football.
1. Red Bank Catholic (8-1). Last week: No. 1
Sophomore quarterback Frankie Williams threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two touchdowns and senior running back Sabino Portella ran for 123 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Caseys to a 57-36 victory over Curtis (NY) in their final regular season game. Najih Rahman and Emanuel Ross had touchdown receptions, Devin Mancuso ran for a touchdown, and Justin LaMorte kicked a field goal. Red Bank Catholic received the No. 1 seed in the Non-Public B playoffs and will begin its title defense next week. Next game: Nov. 11 vs. Gloucester Catholic in the first round of the Non-Public B state playoffs.
2. Toms River North (10-0). Last week: No. 2
Another week, another lopsided victory for the Mariners. Junior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 252 yards and three touchdowns and threw for 88 yards and a touchdown to lead Toms River North to a 49-7 win over Old Bridge in the first round of the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs. Jeremiah Pruitt ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Mordecai Ford ran for a touchdown, and Tareq Council had a touchdown catch. Toms River North's average margin of victory this season is 42.7 points. Next game: Friday vs. No. 9 Marlboro (6-3) in the South Jersey Group 5 semifinals.
3. Middletown South (7-1). Last week: No. 3
Junior quarterback Jake Czwakiel ran for three touchdowns and junior linebacker Colin Gallagher recorded 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble to lead the Eagles to a 42-0 win over Cherry Hill West in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs. Donovan Summey ran for two touchdowns and Kyle Smith added a touchdown run. Since a Week 3 loss to No. 1 RBC, Middletown South has won five straight games and allowed more than one touchdown in only one of those victories. Next game: Friday vs. Winslow Township (5-3) in the Central Jersey Group 4 semifinals.
4. Point Boro (9-0). Last week: No. 4
The Panthers were in a back-and-forth offense duel in the first half but righted the defensive ship after halftime and rolled to a 62-27 victory versus Overbrook in the Central Jersey Group 2 playoffs. Point Boro led 41-27 at halftime and outscored the Rams 21-0 in the second half. Junior running back Jake Croce ran for 195 yards and three touchdowns, senior running back Connor Cilento ran for 117 yards and two touchdowns, junior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 88 yards and three touchdowns, and senior running back Tyler Gordon ran for a touchdown as part of a 421-yard rushing effort by the Panthers. Senior defensive end Connor Reynolds had 13 tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss to lead the defense. Next up is a rematch of last season's sectional final and an opponent that will be out for revenge. Next game: Friday vs. Willingboro (4-5) in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals.
5. Donovan Catholic (5-3). Last week: No. 5
The Griffins had a bye in Week 9 and last took the field in a Week 8 17-6 loss to No. 3 Middletown South. They were seeded 7th in the Non-Public A state playoffs and will have a home game before a potential matchup with Bergen Catholic. Next game: Friday vs. Hudson Catholic (7-2) in the Non-Public A state playoffs.
6. Ocean (8-1). Last week: No. 6
Star senior quarterback Tyler Douglas was unable to play because of an injury and the Spartans were unable to overcome his absence and the Burlington Township offense in a 34-7 defeat in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 3 playoffs. Ocean was also without several other starters for the playoff game. The Spartans concluded their season 8-1 and as Freedom Division champions. Next game: Season complete.
7. Raritan (7-2). Last week: No. 7
Senior running back Kieran Falzon ran for 172 and three touchdowns and junior slotback Jayden Craft had a touchdown catch and a touchdown run as the Rockets rolled to a 34-14 win over Middle Township in the South Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals. Logan Goldsberry through for 128 yards and the touchdown to Craft and senior Dan Calicari had 66 receiving yards on four receptions. The Rockets will head back to The Launch Pad this week with a chance to reach their second straight sectional final. Next game: Friday vs. Pleasantville (6-2) in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals.
8. Jackson Memorial (7-2). Last week: No. 9
Junior linebacker Ethan Kalinauskas returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown and senior Alexey Tselichtchev kicked a 27-yard field goal as the Jaguars won a defensive slugfest with Manalapan, 10-7, to advance to the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals. Next game: Friday at Millville (7-2) in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals.
9. Marlboro (6-3). Last week: No. 10
The Mustangs won their first playoff game since 1994 in inspiring fashion, overcoming an injury to standout running back/safety Matt Cassidy to rally for a 21-17 win over Washington Township in the South Jersey Group 5 quarterfinals. Cassidy scored the game's opening touchdown but left later in the first quarter with an injury and did not return. Marlboro's defense led the way with five interceptions, two each by Nick Scaff and Jake Houston, to set up a touchdown run by Christian LaFonte and then the go-ahead 52-yard touchdown pass from Alex Frank to Ryan Mendes on a trick play. Next game: Friday at No. 2 Toms River North (10-0) in the South Jersey Group 5 semifinals.
10. Rumson-Fair Haven (5-4). Last week: not ranked
The Bulldogs are back in the top 10 after a 37-0 win over Monmouth Regional in the South Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals. Sophomore quarterback Owen O'Toole threw for 128 yards and tossed touchdown passes to Scott Venancio, Nick Rigby, and Will Rehder. Alastair Orr and Griffin Kolb each had touchdown runs and Oliver Lorraine kicked a 24-yard field goal. Next game: Friday vs. Oakcrest (7-3) in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals.
St. John Vianney (5-4, No. 8 last week; lost 28-14 to St. Thomas Aquinas)
Keep an eye on:
Long Branch (5-3; won 13-6 in overtime over Pennsauken in Central Group 4 playoffs)
Asbury Park (5-2; won 54-21 over Pitman in South Group 1 playoffs)
Shore (6-3; won 23-16 over Manville in South Group 1 playoffs)