The Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Oct. 11
Parity among teams ranked sixth through 10th in the Jeep Store Shore Conference Football Top 10 has been a theme all season, so it's not surprising at all that Week 5's games have resulted in more changes to the rankings.
With Rumson-Fair Haven falling to Middletown South and seeing its record drop to 3-3 and Middletown North losing a game to unranked Long Branch, it creates two openings in this week's Top 10. Filling those spots are two teams that were in the rankings earlier in the season: Raritan and Jackson Memorial.
The Rockets won a thrilling, back-and-forth game with rival St. John Vianney to snap SJV's five-game winning streak. Raritan is 4-2 with its two losses coming to No. 3 Point Boro and No. 6 Ocean and it owns wins over SJV and a 5-1 Matawan team. The Jaguars' lone loss of the season is by one point to Colts Neck, which is 5-1 and moves up this week. Jackson beat a gritty Marlboro team to also improve to 5-1.
With every team other than Asbury Park having played five games, we're officially at the halfway point of the season. That means the playoffs are beginning to come into focus and division championships are on the line. Each of the seven divisions has already had a team clinch at least a share of a division title with Red Bank Catholic (American), Toms River North (Colonial), Colts Neck (Constitution), Ocean (Freedom), Point Boro (Independence), Matawan (Liberty), and Shore Regional (Patriot).
Here is this week's SSN Top 10 heading into Week 7, which will be comprised mostly of non-divisional games with the exception of two Patriot Division showdowns on Saturday
1. Red Bank Catholic (6-1). Last week: No. 1
Sophomore quarterback Frankie Williams threw for 187 yards and a touchdown and ran for 73 yards on just six carries in RBC's 23-0 win over Manalapan that clinched at least a share of the American Division title. The Caseys ran for 236 yards with senior running back Sabino Portella totaling 79 yards and a touchdown and junior Luke Wassef rushing for 58 yards on 11 carries. Senior wideout Najih Rahman caught seven passes for 106 yards and junior wide receiver Emanuel Ross caught two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. Junior linebacker Davin Brewton recorded 11 tackles, one sack, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble, and senior defensive end Aidan Donohue made eight tackles, one sack, and two tackles for loss to lead the Caseys' defense to its third shutout of the season. RBC has a bye in Week 7. Next game: Friday, Oct. 21 vs. Rumson-Fair Haven (3-3).
2. Toms River North (7-0). Last week: No. 2
Junior quarterback Micah Ford threw for 107 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 100 yards and two touchdowns on just seven carries to lead the Mariners to a 55-0 win over Lacey to clinch at least a share of the Colonial Division title. Junior running back Josh Moore ran for 82 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Mordecai Ford ran for 79 yards and a touchdown, while senior fullback Nick Walano and junior wide receiver Jeremiah Pruitt both had 1-yard touchdown runs. Junior wide receiver Tareq Council had a 25-yard touchdown catch and sophomore receiver Nasir Jackson caught a 44-yard touchdown pass. The shutout was Toms River North's fourth of the season. Next game: Friday at Toms River East (2-4).
3. Point Boro (6-0). Last week: No. 3
Junior running back Jake Croce ran for 179 yards and a touchdown and senior running back Connor Cilento had 110 yards rushing and two total touchdowns in the Panthers' 58-6 win over Monmouth Regional to clinch at least a share of the Independence Division championship. Cilento had a rushing touchdown and a 30-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Matt Oliphant, who also ran for a score. Senior running back Tyler Gordon scored a game-high three touchdowns and senior Tyler Criscuolo added a rushing touchdown. Junior nose guard Charles Davison made a team-high eight tackles, senior middle linebacker JJ Bennet recorded seven tackles, and senior defensive ends Connor Reynolds and Aiden Ward each made six tackles. Next game: Friday at Barnegat (3-3).
4. Donovan Catholic (4-2). Last week: No. 4
Junior quarterback Todd Lambertson completed 17 of 26 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Griffins to a 34-0 victory over Wall. Senior Dante Vernieri caught three passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns, sophomore wide receiver Michael Thomas III caught six passes for 48 yards and a touchdown, and sophomore wide receiver Eric Zebrowski had a 44-yard touchdown reception. Freshman running back Najee Calhoun added a rushing touchdown. Junior defensive lineman Zaeir Day had a dominant game with 13 total tackles, four tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. Next game: Friday at No. 8 Jackson Memorial (5-1).
5. Middletown South (4-1). Last week: No. 5
Junior running back Donovan Summey ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns and junior running back/linebacker Colin Gallagher had an excellent two-way game to lead the Eagles to a 27-21 win over then-No. 7 Rumson-Fair Haven. Gallagher ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns, including a 59-yard touchdown run, and made 10 tackles on defense, while junior Jake Czwakiel had two interceptions. The Middletown South offensive line of left tackle Tyler Addonisio, left guard Joseph DeMarco, center Luigi Massagli, right guard Tommy Whyte, right tackle Michael Toth, and tight ends Madden Stanley ad Jason Wagner paved the way for the Eagles to rush for 304 yards and four touchdowns. Next game: Friday vs. Matawan (5-1).
6. Ocean (6-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Tyler Douglas threw for 130 yards and a touchdown and ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns as the Spartans surged past Brick, 27-7, to remain undefeated and clinch at least a share of the Freedom Division title. Douglas threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to senior CJ Flannigan in the first half and then ran for touchdowns of 20 and 1 yards in the second half to snap a 7-7 tie. Flannigan added a 54-yard touchdown run. Next game: Friday vs. Middletown North (3-2).
7. Colts Neck (5-1). Last week: No. 9
Junior running back Chris Scully ran for 127 yards and two touchdowns to go over 1,000 yards on the season and lead the Cougars to a 21-13 victory over rival Howell that clinched at least a share of the Constitution Division title. Senior defensive back Matt Celli had a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown, junior defensive back Ethan Sloane also intercepted a pass, and sophomore linebacker James Bertan recovered a fumble. Next game: Friday at Wall (0-5).
8. Jackson Memorial (5-1). Last week: not ranked
The Jags are back in the Top 10 after a 27-20 victory over Marlboro pushed their record to 5-1. Senior quarterback Tai Mann ran for 107 yards and two touchdowns, threw for 95 yards and a 2-point conversion, and intercepted a pass on defense. Senior running back Aidan Sweeney ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and Jaiden Hernandez caught five passes for 61 yards. A major test awaits on Friday night. Next game: Friday vs. No. 4 Donovan Catholic (4-2).
9. Raritan (4-2). Last week: not ranked
Also rejoining the Top 10 are the Rockets, who won a 36-33 thriller over rival St. John Vianney. Junior running back Kieran Falzon ran for 110 yards and touchdowns of 44 and 13 yards and also returned a kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown. Senior slot back Dan Calicari returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and caught four passes for 50 yards, Logan Goldsberry threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Michael Casiano, and the Rockets also recorded a safety. Next game: Friday vs. Toms River South (1-5).
10. St. John Vianney (5-2). Last week: No. 8
The Lancers fall two spots to No. 10 after their 36-33 loss to Raritan but remain in the rankings thanks to their 28-21 win over No. 7 Colts Neck in Week 1. SJV played in Week 0 so it has a bye in Week 7, giving it two weeks to prepare for a huge Week 8 game. Next game: Friday, Oct. 21 vs. No. 3 Point Boro (6-0).
Rumson-Fair Haven (3-3; No. 7 last week; lost 27-21 to No. 5 Middletown South)
Middletown North (3-2; No. 10 last week; lost 14-10 to Long Branch)
Keep an eye on:
Matawan (5-1) - won 34-16 over Toms River East
Shore (5-1) - won 35-7 over Point Beach