The Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Oct. 4
For the first time this season, a case can be made for a school other than Red Bank Catholic as the No. 1 football team in the Shore Conference.
That's because the Caseys suffered their first loss of the season during Week 5 and were shut out in the process as Seton Hall Prep came away with a 17-0 victory at Count Basie Field. Meanwhile, No. 2 Toms River North remained the highest-scoring team in New Jersey with another 60-point margin of victory. Does that mean it's time for a change at the top?
It does not. And here's why.
The Caseys entered the week ranked No. 3 in New Jersey with Seton Hall Prep No. 10, so their first loss of the season came against a fellow top-10 team in NJ. Also, RBC has piled up several victories against the Shore Conference's best teams, defeating Donovan Catholic, Middletown South, and St. John Vianney. Their body of work is very good. Toms River North has been excellent to start the season 6-0, which includes a win over Rumson-Fair Haven, and the Mariners will be nipping at RBC's heels if they continue dominating their opponents.
Now, let's dive into the entire Jeep Store Football Top 10.
1. Red Bank Catholic (5-1). Last week: No. 1
The Caseys could not find the end zone on a stagnant day for their offense, resulting in a 17-0 loss to Seton Hall Prep in a matchup of top-10 teams in New Jersey. RBC was No. 3 and Seton Hall No, 10 entering the game. Senior running back/defensive back Sabino Portella ran for 84 yards on 13 carries and made 13 tackles with one tackle for loss to lead the Caseys. They'll try to bounce back in a return to their American Division schedule in Week 6. Next game: Friday at Manalapan (3-3).
2. Toms River North (6-0). Last week: No. 2
The Mariners dominated another opponent with a 60-0 triumph over Toms River South in the "Civil War". Junior quarterback Micah Ford completed 5 of 5 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 44 yards and a touchdown, junior running back Josh Moore had a 54-yard touchdown run and a 49-yard touchdown reception, junior wide receiver Tareq Council had a 36-yard touchdown catch, sophomore Nasir Jackson had a 49-yard touchdown catch, and junior Jeremiah Pruitt ran for a 6-yard touchdown. And that was just the first half. The defense pitched its third shutout in the last four games and even scored twice on fumble return touchdowns by Ryan Warner and Ja'quez Hunter. Next game: Friday vs. Lacey (1-4)
3. Point Boro (5-0). Last week: No. 4
The Panthers move up one spot after a 56-0 victory over Toms River East coupled with Donovan Catholic losing for the second straight week. Junior running back Jake Croce ran for 165 yards and four touchdowns on nine carries and junior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 78 yards and a touchdown on just three carries to lead the way. Sophomore quarterback Mikey Olenforf added two touchdown runs, senior running back Sam Muraglia ran for a touchdown, and senior Connor Cilento returned the opening kickoff 65 yards for a touchdown. Senior defensive end Connor Reynolds (6 tackles, 1.5 sacks), senior defensive back Brian Orio (INT), and senior defensive end Aiden Ward (5 tackles) led a Panthers defense that recorded its second straight shutout and third overall this season. Next game: Friday vs. Monmouth Regional (2-3).
4. Donovan Catholic (3-2). Last week: No. 3
Freshman running back Najee Calhoun ran for 42 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries to lead the Griffins, who fell to St. Joseph (Montvale), 41-13, in a game played at MetLife Stadium between two state-ranked teams. St. Joe's entered the game ranked No. 5 and Donovan entered ranked No. 19. It was a big-play barrage for the Green Knights; all six of their scoring plays were of at least 38 yards. Both of Donovan's losses are to state top-10 teams so they shouldn't be penalized too much for those, but with how well Point Boro has been playing the Griffins do fall one spot. They'll try to get back on track when they face a winless division foe this week. Next game: Friday vs. Wall (0-4).
5. Middletown South (3-1). Last week: No. 5
The Eagles had a bye in Week 5 but jump right back into the fire with a huge division game this weekend. Next game: Friday at No. 7 Rumson-Fair Haven.
6. Ocean (5-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior quarterback Tyler Douglas ran for 135 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 133 yards and a touchdown, and senior wide receiver CJ Flannigan caught four passes for 145 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a touchdown to power the Spartans to a 34-13 win over Raritan. Caleb Thompson also had a touchdown run for the undefeated Spartans. Ocean can clinch a share of the Freedom Division title this weekend. Next game: Friday at Brick (3-2).
7. Rumson-Fair Haven (3-2). Last week: No. 7
Sophomore quarterback Owen O'Toole threw for 201 yards and two touchdowns and senior linebacker Luke Mikolajczyk had 11 tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss to lead the Bulldogs to a 27-0 win over Southern for their third straight win. Senior wide receiver Scott Venancio and junior wide receiver Nick Rigby had touchdown catches, senior running back Brayden Dill ran for a touchdown, and senior Oliver Lorraine kicked two field goals. The Bulldogs are playing well after starting the season 0-2 and have another big opportunity this weekend. Next game: Friday vs. No. 5 Middletown South (3-1).
8. St. John Vianney (5-1). Last week: No. 8
The Lancers braved Sunday's win, rain, and a resilient Marlboro team to defeat the Mustangs, 28-14, and win their fifth straight game. Senior wide receiver Kyle Verriest caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Michael Foley and returned a punt 37 yards for a touchdown, while Foley and senior running back Jack Farrah also had touchdown runs. The Lancers are currently tied with No. 3 Point Boro atop the Independence Division and will look to keep pace in a rivalry game this weekend. Next game: Friday vs. Raritan (3-2).
9. Colts Neck (4-1). Last week: No. 9
Junior running back Chris Scully ran for 191 yards and two touchdowns on an average of 9.1 yards per carry and senior linebacker Will Surdez had 13 tackles to lead the Cougars to a 28-13 win over Lacey for their fourth straight victory. Surdez also had a touchdown run and junior quarterback Dom Beninato threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to junior wideout Aidan Manasso. Next, Colts Neck will put its four-game winning streak on the line in a pivotal Constitution Division game against one of its biggest rivals. Next game: Saturday vs. Howell (3-2).
10. Middletown North (3-1). Last week: No. 10
The Lios had a bye in Week 5 and return to the field this weekend with an important division game against a dangerous team. Next game: Friday vs. Long Branch (1-3).
Keep an eye on:
Jackson Memorial (4-1) - won 34-0 over Jackson Liberty
Matawan (4-1) - won 34-14 over Holmdel
Howell (3-2) - won 24-14 over Wall
Shore (4-1) - won 17-7 over Monmouth Regional