The Jeep Store/Shore Sports Network Football Top 10, 10/5/21
We keep saying it every week because it’s true. These new divisions are so competitive on a weekly basis in almost every game and it’s made this season very interesting. It’s also starting to make compiling The Jeep Store/Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 that much more difficult.
We have one new team this week but plenty of movement as well. Manalapan jumps into the rankings after a thrilling victory over last week’s No. 6 team, Southern Regional, to add another wrinkle to the Colonial Division race.
Wall continued its rebound with a lopsided win over Colts Neck, which drops out of the rankings after two blowout losses. From six through 10, every team is in a different spot and you’ll find out why below. There are six undefeated teams remaining in the Shore Conference. Five of them are ranked and the sixth is on the cusp of breaking through.
Seven teams have clinched at least a share of their respective division titles and can claim titles outright with victories this weekend. The action continues to heat up as the weather begins to cool down.
1. Rumson-Fair Haven (4-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior quarterback Colin Kennedy completed 9 of 13 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns and senior running back Geoff Schroeder ran for 101 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries to lead the Bulldogs to a 37-7 victory over Toms River North. Scott Venancio, Aidan Casuccio and Nick Marchakitus had touchdown catches, senior linebacker John Lista returned an interception for a touchdown and Justin Worobel kicked a field goal. Rumson has outscored its opponents 114-13 this season. The win also clinched at least a share of the American Division title. Next game: Saturday vs. Colts Neck (*3-1, 2-2 on the field)
2. Red Bank Catholic (5-0). Last week: No. 2
Senior quarterback Alex Brown completed 11 of 16 passes for 172 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Emmanuel Ross as the Caseys used a balanced offense to defeat Red Bank, 47-6, and remain undefeated. Sabino Portella, Torin Harmon, Nick Bracco and Davin Brewton added touchdown runs while Alex Bauman and Connor Wanagiel each recorded two sacks on defense. RBC has clinched at least a share of the Constitution Division title. Next game: Friday at Ocean (0-5).
3. Donovan Catholic (*1-4, 4-1 on the field). Last week: No. 3
Senior quarterback Jalin Butler ran for 198 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and senior running back Nunes Bukula IV ran for 141 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries as the Griffins earned a 34-9 win over St. John Vianney. Freshman wide receiver Michael Thomas added a 13-yard touchdown run as Donovan ran for 384 yards on an average of 10.4 yards per carry. Senior linebacker Nat Ianello led the defense with 18 total tackles and a sack while junior linebacker Dante Vernier had 14 tackles and one sack. A huge game Friday night will likely determine who reaches the top Shore Conference postseason pod. Next game: Friday vs. No. 4 Wall (2-2).
4. Wall (2-2). Last week: No. 4
Senior running back Matt Dollive ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries and senior quarterback Jake Davis ran for 62 yards and a touchdown and also threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Lou Pilla as the Crimson Knights (2-2) pounded Colts Neck, 35-6. Senior quarterback Cole Brennan added a touchdown run and senior linebacker Charlie Sasso had 13 tackles and two tackles for loss to lead the defense. Next game: Friday at No. 3 Donovan Catholic (*1-4, 4-1 on the field).
5. Middletown South (4-0). Last week: No. 5
The Eagles were on a bye in Week 5 and return to action on Friday night with a chance to clinch the Colonial Division championship. Next game: Friday at No. 9 Southern (3-1).
6. Manalapan (3-1). Last week: not ranked
The Braves surge into the Top 10 after a 21-15 win over Southern. Senior running back Elijah Marquez had a touchdown run, sophomore Anthony Macchio returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and recovered a fumble, and junior kicker Michael Catlon kicked a pair of field goals. Senior quarterback Mike Heckel was an efficient chain-mover and also threw a 2-point conversion pass. Tyler Walker, Alex Dille and Paul Wojciechowski had interceptions as part of a four-turnover performance by the defense. Next game: Friday at Jackson Memorial (0-5).
7. Long Branch (4-0). Last week: No. 9
Junior running back Sekou Kamau ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns on just nine carries and junior wide receiver Michael Hall had a touchdown catch and a punt return touchdown as the Green Wave walloped Toms River East, 53-7, to remain unbeaten and clinch at least a share of the Freedom Division title. Senior quarterback Christian Rodriguez added a touchdown run, Sharmar Williams returned an interception for a touchdown, and Wesley Garcia kicked a field goal. Next game: Friday at Toms River South (2-3).
8. Central (5-0). Last week: No. 10
Junior running back Chase Gumbrecht ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on the season and pace the Golden Eagles to an emphatic 42-0 victory over Marlboro that clinched at least a share of the Liberty Division championship. Junior quarterback JJ Garcia ran for 49 yards and a touchdown and senior Anthony Musso had nine tackles, three tackles for loss and a touchdown run. Central now has four shutouts this season and has shut out every division opponent so far. Next game: Friday at Matawan (2-3).
9. Southern (3-1). Last week: No. 6
The Rams were undone by four untimely and costly turnovers in a 21-15 loss to Manalapan. Senior running back Jaiden Brown ran for 167 yards and a touchdown on 27 carries and also threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to senior Jaden Anthony. Anthony added a 28-yard field goal. The Rams can still claim a share of the Colonial Division title with a win on Friday. Next game: Friday vs. No. 5 Middletown South (4-0).
10. Manasquan (3-2). Last week: No. 8
The Warriors drop two spots off a win. Harsh, I know, but that is the case for this week. The sixth unbeaten team in the Shore is actually pushing on their heels to take this spot, but we couldn’t drop Manasquan completely out coming off a victory. Also, Manasquan's losses are to the No. 2 and No. 5 teams. A touchdown run by senior running back Patrick Woodford on the first play of overtime stood up as the game-winning score as the Warriors rallied from a two-touchdown deficit for a 35-28 win over Raritan. Junior quarterback Brett Patten threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown, senior wideout Robert Pendergist caught four passes for 122 yards and a touchdown, and senior Cole Kozlowski caught six passes for 96 yards and a touchdown. Next game: Friday, Oct. 15 at Toms River East.
DROPPED OUT: Colts Neck (No. 7 last week)
Keep an eye on:
Point Boro (4-0): The Panthers have the Shore’s No. 1 scoring offense at over 41 points per game and have played like a top-10 team all season, but we couldn’t shoehorn them into the rankings off their bye week when there were only so many moves to make this week. Point Boro can clinch the Patriot Division title with a win on Friday night. Next game: Friday vs. Barnegat (3-2).
Brick (4-1): Senior running back Tyler Weisneck exploded for a career-high 306 yards rushing and two touchdowns and senior Justin Kurc intercepted three passes to lead the Green Dragons to a 24-12 win over Ocean. Brick is currently locked in a three-way tie for the Independence Division lead with Lacey and Middletown North. Next game: Friday vs. Middletown North (3-1).
Shore (3-1): The Blue Devils were on a bye in Week 5 and will try to run their winning streak to four games when they return to action on Friday night. Next game: Friday at Jackson Liberty, 7 p.m.
Middletown North (3-1): Senior running back Brian Haddow ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries and senior quarterback Tommy Giannone threw for 195 yards and a touchdown in a 35-10 win over Brick Memorial. A huge game awaits the Lions on Friday night. Next game: Friday at Brick (4-1).
Monmouth (4-1): Junior running back Julian Jones ran for 244 yards and three touchdowns, junior Jeremiah Robles returned an interception for a touchdown, and senior Nelson Harris-Thomas had two sacks and two forced fumbles as the Falcons clipped Keyport, 28-7, to clinch at least a share of the National Division title. It is Monmouth’s first division title of any kind since 2006. They can claim the outright title with a win this weekend. Next game: Saturday vs. Point Beach (1-4).
Asbury Park (3-2): The Blue Bishops scored an impressive 42-7 blowout road victory over Barnegat. Junior running back Jashawn Carter ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns on 10 carries and also had a touchdown catch, and junior quarterback Jai’Sun Brown threw for 186 yards and two scores on 10 of 13 passing. Next game: Saturday at Manchester (2-3).
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