The Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Oct. 25
The playoffs may be here, but the regular season had one final say in terms of its impact on the Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10.
There is more upheaval to this week's rankings after last week's results saw a total of four top-10 teams suffer defeats. Two of those losses were against another ranked team with No. 3 Point Boro winning over No. 10 St. John Vianney and No. 5 Middletown South defeating No. 4 Donovan Catholic. There are two new squads entering the ranking this week as Marlboro and Jackson Memorial return, and there is also plenty of movement from No. 3 down through No. 10 as we try to sort this out as best we can.
The bottom half of the rankings was especially difficult to decipher with Jackson, Colts Neck, and Marlboro having a triangle of head-to-head wins over each other (Colts Neck beat Jackson, Marlboro beat Colts Neck, Jackson beat Marlboro).
A total of 21 Shore Conference public schools qualified for the NJSIAA state playoffs and the complete statewide matchups can be viewed here. New for 2022 is also what the NJSIAA has named Regional Invitational Tournaments. Teams who did not qualify for the playoffs and finished 17th through 24th in the United Power Rankings have the opportunity to play in these consolation tournaments. Those matchups for Shore Conference teams can be viewed here.
Here is the new Jeep Store SSN Football Top 10 heading into Week 9.
1. Red Bank Catholic (7-1). Last week: No. 1
Senior running back Sabino Portella ran for 191 yards and three touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Frankie Williams tossed touchdown passes to senior Najiah Rahman and junior Emanuel Ross to lead the Caseys to a 42-14 win over then-No. 8 Rumson-Fair Haven that clinched the American Division championship. Junior Davin Brewton added a rushing touchdown. The Caseys still have one more regular-season game left before they begin their state title defense in Non-Public B. Next game: Friday vs. Curtis (NY).
2. Toms River North (9-0). Last week: No. 2
The Mariners' dreadnought plowed through another opponent in a 50-6 victory over Middletown North that clinched the Colonial Division title and also locked up the No.1 seed in the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs. Junior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns and also threw for 115 yards, while senior wide receiver Jeremiah Pruitt had two touchdown runs, sophomore running back Mordecai Ford ran for a touchdown, and sophomore Nasir Jackson returned a punt for a touchdown. On defense, senior linebacker Ty Kazanowsky recorded 2.5 sacks and five tackles for loss to lead the way. Toms River North has been a juggernaut all season but now the real test comes in the state playoffs. Will the Mariners win a sectional title and make a run at the inaugural Group 5 state crown? Next game: Friday vs. Old Bridge in the first round of the South Jersey Group 5 state playoffs.
3. Middletown South (6-1). Last week: No. 5
Do-it-all junior Jake Czwakiel ran for a touchdown, kicked a 37-yard field goal, and intercepted a pass on defense and junior linebacker Colin Gallagher posted 13 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery to send the Eagles to an impressive 17-6 victory over then-No. 4 Donovan Catholic. Junior running back Donovan Summey ran for 101 yards and a touchdown and senior Will Christopher had a sack and a tackle for loss. The victory also clinched the No. 1 seed in the Central Jersey Group 4 playoffs where Middletown South will look to add to its substantial championship trophy case. Next game: Friday vs. Cherry Hill West in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 4 state playoffs.
4. Point Boro (8-0). Last week: No. 3
A 7-yard touchdown run by junior running back Jake Croce in overtime allowed the Panthers to escape with a dramatic 19-13 victory over then-No. 10 St. John Vianney to clinch the Independence Division championship and secure the top seed in the Central Jersey Group 2 playoffs. Croce ran for 134 yards and a touchdown, senior running back Tyler Gordon ran for 95 yards and a touchdown, and junior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 93 yards and a touchdown. Jayson Bennett and Brian Orio had interceptions on defense and senior defensive ends Aidan Ward and Connor Reynolds had eight tackles each. The Panthers were sectional champions a season ago and have their sights set on repeating and making a run at the overall Group 2 crown. Next game: Friday vs. Overbrook in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 2 state playoffs.
5. Donovan Catholic (5-3). Last week: No. 4
Freshman running back Najee Calhoun ran for a touchdown to supply the Griffins' only points in a 17-6 loss to then-No. 4 Middletown South. The Griffins' regular season is complete and they will have a bye this week before the Non-Public A state playoff bracket is seeded. Next game: TBD in Non-Public A state playoffs.
6. Ocean (8-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Tyler Douglas ran for a 47-yard touchdown with under a minute left in regulation to lift the Spartans to a 26-22 comeback victory over Red Bank that clinched the Freedom Division title. Douglas threw for 155 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 110 yards and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver CJ Flannigan caught six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, James Sobieski had a touchdown reception, and Caleb Thompson ran for 91 yards. The Spartans are the No. 2 seed in the South Jersey Group 2 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Burlington Township in the first round of the South Jersey Group 3 state playoffs.
7. Raritan (6-2). Last week: No. 9
The Rockets move up two spots after a 37-21 victory over Holmdel in the Battle of the Border rivalry game. Senior running back Kieran Falzon ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns and junior quarterback Logan Goldsberry threw touchdown passes to Joe Murphy and Dan Calicari. The Rockets have a win over St. John Vianney and their losses are to No. 4 Point Boro and No. 6 Ocean. Raritan's current three-game winning streak helped it earn the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Group 2 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Middle Township in the first round of the South Jersey Group 2 state playoffs.
8. St. John Vianney (5-3). Last week: No. 10
Yes, the Lancers lost last week and move up two spots. SJV pushed No. 4 Point Boro to the brink before the undefeated Panthers escaped with a 19-13 overtime victory, and in defeat, the Lancers gave Point Boro its biggest test of the season. The main reason SJV moves up is that it has victories over both Colts Neck and Marlboro and its three losses are to No. 1 RBC, No. 4 Point Boro, and No. 6 Ocean. Senior running back Jack Farah recovered an offensive fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and senior Kyle Verriest ran for a touchdown to supply the Lancers' points. Vianney will try to get back into the win column this week before the non-public state playoffs begin. Next game: Friday vs. St. Thomas Aquinas.
9. Jackson Memorial (6-2). Last week: not ranked
The 'Jags are back in the Top 10 after a 35-14 victory over Freehold Township. Senior running back Aidan Sweeney ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns, senior quarterback Tain Mann accounted for 219 yards and two touchdowns, and junior wide receiver Jaiden Hernandez caught a touchdown pass and ran for a touchdown. The victory coupled with Marlboro's win over Colts Neck allowed the Jaguars to claim a share of the Constitution Division championship. Jackson has a loss to Colts Neck but a more-recent victory over Marlboro. Jackson's other defeat is to No. 5 Donovan Catholic. They earned the No. 3 seed for the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs and will face a familiar foe in the first round. Next game: Friday vs. Manalapan (3-5) in the first round of the South Jersey Group 4 state playoffs.
10. Marlboro (5-3). Last week: not ranked
With a playoff spot on the line, the Mustangs came through with a 14-0 victory over then-No. 7 Colts Neck to clinch the program's first playoff berth since 1999. Junior running back/safety Matt Cassidy powered the victory by rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries and making four tackles for loss and one sack on defense. The Marlboro defense held Colts Neck 1,100-yard junior running back Chris Scully to just 30 yards and limited the Cougars to 98 yards of offense. Marlboro will also host its first home playoff game since 1994 after earning the No. 4 seed in the South Jersey Group 5 bracket. Next game: Friday vs. Washington Township in the first round of the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs.
Rumson-Fair Haven (4-4, No. 8 last week; lost 42-14 to No. 1 Red Bank Catholic)
Colts Neck (6-2, No. 7 last week; lost 14-0 to Marlboro)
Keep an eye on:
Matawan (6-2) - won 27-12 over Barnegat
Manasquan (4-3) - won 34-24 over Monmouth