The Jeep Store/Shore Sports Network Football Top, 9/7/21
It’s always interesting to see what changes come between the preseason rankings and the first Top 10 after games have actually been played. They are educated guesses, but it’s all projections until the pads are on and regular-season games are being played.
There were plenty of thrillers and interesting results in Week 1, but the headlines were dominated by a stunning result to cap an eventual first full week of Shore Conference football.
For the first time in nearly two years, there will be a new No. 1 team in the Shore Sports Network Top 10. That is because Rumson-Fair Haven ended Wall’s 20-game Shore Conference winning streak and did so in a fashion nobody saw coming.
While that means a major change to this week’s Shore Sports Network/The Jeep Store Top 10, there remains stability in the rankings thanks to the favorites turning in solid weekends. More massive games await in Week 2 along with a few more teams getting their seasons started after byes last week.
1. Red Bank Catholic (1-0). Last week: No. 2
The Caseys were ranked second in the preseason and move up one spot to No. 1 after a dominant 34-0 shutout win over Timber Creek in Week 0 at the Battle of the Beach in Ocean City. Senior quarterback Alex Brown threw for 171 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a touchdown, junior running back Sabino Portella ran for 138 yards and two touchdowns and also had an interception on defense, senior tight end Alex Bauman caught a touchdown pass and senior running back Ra’Jahn Cooper had a touchdown run. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 vs. No. 4 Wall (0-1).
2. Donovan Catholic (1-0). Last week: No. 3
The Griffins were supposed to play their Rumble on the Raritan showcase game against New York City powerhouse Archbishop Stepinac at Rutgers University but the game had to be moved because of logistical changes caused by the flooding in the Piscataway area. Instead, Donovan welcomed Stepinac to Ocean County and promptly sent them packing with a blowout 54-14 victory. Senior wide receiver Kyree Drake caught five passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown on a fake punt. Senior quarterback Jalin Butler completed 6 of 8 passes for 122 yards and three touchdowns, also connecting with senior tight end Levi Wilkins for a score in addition to the touchdown passes to Drake. Senior running back Nunes Bukula IV ran for 56 yards and a touchdown. The defense was outstanding with three touchdowns of its own, including two pick-sixes by junior defensive back Dante Vernieri. The highlight of the game was senior 6-foot-5, 290-pound defensive lineman Caron McNair returning an interception 47 yards for a touchdown. A massive game awaits the Griffins this Friday. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 at No. 3 Rumson-Fair Haven (1-0).
3. Rumson-Fair Haven (1-0). Last week: No. 4
The Bulldogs were seriously considered for the No. 1 spot but given the two teams ranked ahead of them to start the season also delivered convincing wins it was only fair, in our opinion, to have the top three in this order. Rankings aside, Rumson’s 35-0 wipeout of previously-No. 1 Wall at Rutgers on Sunday night was a bold statement that was felt around New Jersey. The win snapped Wall’s 20-game Shore Conference streak that dated back to Oct. 12, 2018. Senior quarterback Colin Kennedy rumbled for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 12 carries and completed 5 of 6 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Geoff Schroeder ran for 84 yards and a score on 17 carries and junior wide receiver Scott Venancio had a 32-yard touchdown catch. The Bulldogs’ defense swallowed Wall’s offensive attack to the tune of 37 total yards and only one first down. Another opportunity for a statement victory comes this Friday. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 vs. No. 2 Donovan Catholic (1-0).
4. Wall (0-1). Last week: No. 1
Wall’s 20-game Shore Conference winning streak that dated back to 2018 was snapped in the season-opener, but it was the manner in which the Crimson Knights were defeated that is the shocking part. A team that finished No. 1 in New Jersey last season and returned 17 starters was crushed by Rumson, 35-0, in a game at Rutgers University. The Knights vaunted defense allowed almost as many points in Week 1 as it allowed all of last season and allowed over 200 yards rushing. Offensively, Wall had only one first down against a stout Rumson defense. Wall also has several players trying to work through injuries and may be without standout senior linebacker Colin Riley for an extended period of time after he was injured and on crutches following Sunday’s game. Things don’t get any easier this week. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 at No. 1 Red Bank Catholic (1-0).
5. Colts Neck (1-0). Last week: No. 5
Down by two scores in the first half, the Cougars stayed composed and rallied for a 28-21 victory over Toms River North. Colts Neck put together a mammoth, clock-eating 14-play, 77-yard drive that chewed up 7:50 and concluded with senior quarterback Tommy Fallon finding sophomore tight end Eric Loureiro for a go-ahead 6-yard touchdown with just 17 seconds left. Fallon ran for 89 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and threw for two touchdowns, one of which went to sophomore wideout Aiden Diaz. Senior running back John Manos added 72 yards rushing and a touchdown and sophomore Sam Surdez blocked a punt that led to a touchdown. Next game: Saturday, Sept. 18 vs. Matawan (1-0).
6. Southern (1-0). Last week: No. 6
Senior running back Jaiden Brown ran for 127 yards and four touchdowns on 16 carries to lead the Rams to a 41-0 victory over Toms River East. Jaden Anthony added a 31-yard touchdown catch and senior defensive end Nate Committee had five tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble to lead the defense. Sean Rowland also had a sack and Tristan Arthur recovered a fumble. The Rams visit an old rival this Friday night. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 at Jackson Memorial (0-1).
7. Middletown South (1-0). Last week: No. 7
Senior quarterback Tom Schork spearheaded a 57-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes that culminated with his go-ahead 22-yard touchdown run with 20 seconds left as the Eagles won a defensive battle against No. 10 Manasquan, 15-12. Dan Primiano added a short touchdown run after a long reception by Ryan St. Clair. Middletown South’s defense recorded five sacks, including three by sophomore linebacker Colin Gallagher. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 vs. Holmdel (1-0).
8. Freehold (1-0). Last week: No. 8
Senior quarterback Kamore Gil scored the go-ahead touchdown with 10:42 left in the fourth quarter and then snared the game-clinching interception on the final play as the Colonials rallied for a 20-19 victory over Jackson Memorial. Gil ran for 134 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, caught a 45-yard touchdown pass from Spencer Rushton, threw for 80 yard and added the interception on defense. Senior Yah-Sin Calhoun ran for 71 yards and a touchdown and added 11 tackles and one sack on defense. Senior linebacker Tyler Ochojski was a beat with 15 tackles, including three tackles for loss, two sacks, and a forced fumble along with four receptions for 68 yards at tight end. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 at Freehold Township (0-1).
9. Raritan (0-0). Last week: No. 9
The Rockets were idle in Week 1 and will open their season this week. Quarterback Ben Hutchins, running back Kieran Falzon and linebacker Alex Dekis are among the returning standouts for Raritan. Next game: Friday, Sept. 10 vs. Ocean (0-1).
10. Manasquan (0-1). Last week: No. 10
There are a handful of teams who can make a claim for jumping up to No. 10 but we will stick with the Warriors given their loss was by just three points to No. 7 Middletown South. Junior quarterback Brett Patten threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 41 yards. Senior wide receiver Cole Kozlowski caught four passes for 93 yards and a touchdown and also had an interception on defense and senior running back Patrick Woodford caught a 29-yard touchdown pass. Next game: Saturday, Sept. 11 vs. Red Bank (0-1).
Keep an Eye On:
Point Boro (1-0)
Asbury Park (1-0)