The Jeep Store/Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Oct. 26
The first week of Shore Conference postseason games was mostly great with several even matchups resulting in some down-to-the-wire finishes. Now we’re onto Week 9 and the second set of postseason games with the NJSIAA playoffs looming. A ton is on the line in the final week of the regular season as teams try to make their final push toward the playoffs, jockey for a higher seed, and try to lock up home-field advantage.
Some minor movement in the rankings this week, so let’s get right to it with the latest The Jeep Store/Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Oct. 26.
1. Red Bank Catholic (8-0). Last week: No. 1
Senior quarterback Alex Brown tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the Caseys to a 47-7 win over No. 7 Manalapan. Brown had touchdown passes of 14 and 6 yards to senior tight end Alex Bauman, a 43-yard touchdown pass to Robert Stolfa on a screen pass and a 25-yard touchdown run. Junior running back Torin Harmon ran for 138 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and senior running back Rajahn Cooper and junior running back Devin Mancuso also ran for touchdowns. The Caseys will clash with another top-three opponent this week before embarking on a state playoff run. Next game: Friday vs. No. 3 Donovan Catholic (4-4, 7-1 on the field)
2. Rumson-Fair Haven (6-1). Last week: No. 2
Senior quarterback Colin Kennedy had a 47-yard touchdown run and a 31-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Scott Venancio as the Bulldogs won a defensive battle for a 12-7 victory over No. 4 Middletown South. Junior defensive back Beau Kemler led the way on defense with 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions, and a fumble recovery. The Bulldogs face another ranked opponent sporting an undefeated record this week. Next game: Friday at No. 6 Long Branch (6-0).
3. Donovan Catholic (*4-4, 7-1 on the field). Last week: No. 3
Senior quarterback Jalin Butler ran for 126 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries and threw for 104 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Griffins to a 42-7 win over No. 8 Southern. Senior running back Nunes Bukula IV ran for a team-high 133 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, senior wide receiver Kyree Drake had a 71-yard touchdown run and a 35-yard touchdown reception, and sophomore tight end Hunter Johnson had an 18-yard touchdown catch. The Griffins have a shot to stake their claim as the Shore’s best this weekend. Next game: Friday at No. 1 Red Bank Catholic (8-0).
4. Middletown South (5-1). Last week: No. 4
Senior quarterback Tom Schork had a 1-yard touchdown run and sophomore linebacker Tyler Carey had another big game with 10 tackles, a sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a blocked extra point but the Eagles fell to No. 2 Rumson, 12-7, to suffer their first loss of the season. Senior defensive end Jack Latore had 12 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss, senior linebacker Jack Willi had 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and a forced fumble, and junior defensive back Logan Colleran had an interception. Next game: Friday vs. Lacey (5-2)
5. Wall (4-3). Last week: No. 6
Senior running back Matt Dollive ran for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries, including a 52-yard touchdown on the first play of the third quarter, as the Crimson Knights scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to win 42-14 over Middletown North. Senior wide receiver Jackson Coan had a 56-yard touchdown reception from senior quarterback Cole Brennan and also ran for a 6-yard touchdown, senior quarterback Jake Davis had a 22-yard touchdown run and junior defensive back Akeel Gaines returned an interception for a touchdown. Next game: Friday at St. John Vianney (3-5).
6. Long Branch (6-0). Last week: No. 7
The Green Wave had a bye in Week 8 and are now one of just two undefeated teams in the Shore along with No. 1 Red Bank Catholic. Long Branch puts its perfect record on the line against the No. 2 team in the Shore this week. Next game: Friday vs. No. 2 Rumson-Fair Haven (6-1).
7. Manalapan (5-2). Last week: No. 6
Senior running back Elijah Marquez had a touchdown run and junior wide receiver Tyler Walker caught five passes for a game-high 83 yards but the Braves were overpowered by No. 1 Red Bank Catholic in a 47-7 defeat. Manalapan faces a former ranked team in a game that will be important for playoff seeding for both teams. Next game: Friday at Central (6-2).
8. Southern (4-3). Last week: No. 8
Senior quarterback Nolan Schubiger threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Devane for the Rams’ only points in a 42-7 loss to No. 3 Donovan Catholic. Southern will look to rebound this week against an old Class A South rival in what could be a preview of a first-round playoff game. Next game: Friday vs. Toms River North (4-3).
9. Manasquan (5-2). Last week: No. 10
The Warriors handed rival Point Boro their first loss of the season in a thrilling 35-30 victory. Junior quarterback Brett Patten threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for two touchdowns, senior wide receiver Cole Kozlowski caught three passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, senior wideout Robert Pendergist had a touchdown reception and junior running back Jhamier Howard returned the third-quarter kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown. Senior defensive lineman JJ Cavanagh had five tackles for loss to lead a defense that held the Panthers’ high-scoring rushing attack well under its season average. Next game: Saturday vs. Asbury Park (4-3).
10. Point Boro (6-1). Last week: No. 9
Senior quarterback Charlie Vitale threw touchdown passes to Brian Orio and Jake Croce, sophomore running back Matt Oliphant ran for 71 yards and a touchdown and recovered an onside kick and junior running back Connor Cilento ran for a touchdown but the Panthers fell to Manasquan, 35-30, to suffer their first loss of the season. They’ll try to bounce back before the playoffs with another challenging opponent. Next game: Friday at Middletown North (5-2).
Dropped out: none
Keep an eye on:
Shore (6-1): Senior quarterback Jamie Mazzacco ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, kicked a 28-yard field goal, threw for 91 yards, and intercepted a pass on defense to lead the Blue Devils to a 23-8 win over Red Bank for their sixth straight win. Andrew Decker added 54 yards rushing, Lucas White had a touchdown run, and Jackson Whitacre had three sacks and five tackles for loss on defense. Next game: Friday at Raritan (3-4).
Lacey (5-2): Senior running back Gaetano Dimiele ran for 133 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries, Michael Abode ran for a touchdown, and Jack Borel kicked a field goal to send the Lions to a 17-7 victory over rival Central Regional. Next game: Friday at No. 4 Middletown South.