Jackson Memorial, Middletown South, Manasquan, Wall…they’ve all had football teams in the last 20 years or so which were among the best in New Jersey and finished high up in the state rankings which has become increasingly difficult for public schools.  Their place in Shore Conference history can be debated and you will no doubt find a variety of opinions but just to be in the conversation means they were special.

Toms River North may not only be joining that group around dinnertime Sunday but could finish what is arguably the greatest season in recent history.  The Mariners face Passaic Tech at Rutgers University and will take a 13-0 record into the first-ever overall Group 5 championship game at 3:30.  Nobody in New Jersey football history has ever gone 14-0 and North has done it in convincing fashion. Since a 7-point win over Washington Township and a two touchdown victory over Rumson in their first two games the Mariners have not had a close game, winning by an average score of 51 to 5.

Junior quarterback Micah Ford has had a season for the ages, rushing for over 2,200 yards and passing for almost 1,100 which is more impressive when you consider he spent a lot of time on the sidelines in the second half of one-sided games.  Ford has accounted for an eye-popping 48 touchdowns but he has not done it alone.  The Mariners are deep at just about every position and boast talented players like Ty Kazanowsky, Josh Moore, Jeremiah Pruitt, Anthony Rodriguez, Nasir Jackson, Ty Boland and Josh Kaye, who anchors a superb offensive line.  Simply put this team has been tremendous.

However even coach Dave Oizerowitz knows that earning their place in history only comes with a win on Sunday against a Passaic Tech team that is big and physical comes in with a record of 11-2.

They’ll leave Rutgers 11-3 and Toms River North will make their case as one of the best ever.

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