The Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Nov. 8
The latter rounds of the state playoffs are here, and heading into Week 11 we have just six Shore Conference teams remaining in the postseason, plus four more in the Regional Invitational Tournament finals.
As far as the rankings go, it is those six teams - Red Bank Catholic, Toms River North, Middletown South, Donovan Catholic, Raritan, and Rumson-Fair Haven, who can directly affect the final rankings and the race for No. 1 in the Shore.
For the top spot, it's down to Red Bank Catholic and Toms River North. RBC is the No. 1 seed in the Non-Public B playoffs where the Caseys are the defending champions. Red Bank Catholic has been No. 1 in the SSN Jeep Store Top 10 since the preseason and owns wins over Middletown South, Donovan Catholic, and Rumson-Fair Haven among its eight victories. Its lone loss is to Seton Hall Prep. Toms River North is 11-0, is averaging 50 points per game, and has won its last 10 games by at least two touchdowns. The Mariners will take the field Friday night in a sectional championship game and if they continue to win it will be an interesting conversation in December regarding who is No. 1.
Point Boro also had a slight chance at finishing No. 1 because it was still undefeated, but the Panthers fell in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals.
The rest of the rankings are still quite fluid with the highlight being two ranked teams playing each other this week with a championship on the line.
Here is the Jeep Store Football Top 10 for Nov. 8
1. Red Bank Catholic (8-1). Last week: No. 1
The Caseys were idle during the first week of the state playoffs because there are just eight teams in the Non-Public B bracket and it doesn't begin until this week. RBC is the defending state champion and is seeded No. 1 in the Non-Public B group. Next game: Friday vs. Gloucester Catholic in the first round of the Non-Public B state playoffs.
2. Toms River North (11-0). Last week: No. 2
Junior quarterback/safety Micah Ford ran for 257 yards, three touchdowns and threw for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and intercepted a pass on defense to power the Mariners to a 42-6 win over Marlboro in the South Jersey Group 5 semifinals. Jeremiah Pruitt added a touchdown run and Ty Kazanowsky and Tareq Council had touchdown catches to send the Mariners back to the sectional final for a rematch with Kingsway. The second-seeded Dragons defeated Toms River North in last season's sectional championship game with a last-minute touchdown. The Mariners have been waiting for this game for a calendar year. Next game: Friday vs. Kingsway (7-3) in the South Jersey Group 5 championship.
3. Middletown South (8-1). Last week: No. 3
Junior running back Donovan Summey ran for 118 yards and a touchdown and threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Logan Colleran as the Eagles used their running game and defense to defeat Winslow Township, 24-10, and advanced to the Central Jersey Group 4 championship game. Junior quarterback Jake Czwakiel ran for 81 yards and a touchdown and kicked a 35-yard field goal, sophomore linebacker Luke Wafle had a strip-sack, and linebacker Colin Gallagher and defensive lineman Tommy Whyte each recovered fumbles. Middletown South will play for its 11th sectional title this weekend. Next game: Friday vs. Mainland (9-1) in the Central Jersey Group 4 championship.
4. Donovan Catholic (6-3). Last week: No. 5
Junior quarterback Todd Lambertson tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior tight end Hunter Johnson in overtime and the Griffins escaped with a dramatic 27-20 overtime victory over Hudson Catholic in the first round of the Non-Public A playoffs. Freshman running back Najee Calhoun ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns and Johnson also had a 2-yard touchdown reception. As is the case in Non-Public A, the degree of difficulty takes a major jump this weekend. Next game: Saturday vs. Bergen Catholic in the Non-Public A quarterfinals.
5. Point Boro (9-1). Last week: No. 4
Senior running back Connor Cilento ran for 77 yards and a touchdown and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown but the Panthers had no answer for the Willingboro passing game and fell to the Chimeras in shocking fashion to end their season. Willingboro freshman quarterback Lamar Best threw five touchdown passes, three of which went to Kahamaad Rice. Junior running back Jake Croce ran for 110 yards on 17 carries, junior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 77 yards and a touchdown, and senior running back Tyler Gordon ran for a touchdown. Next game: Season complete.
6. Ocean (8-1). Last week: No. 6
The Spartans had their season come to an end in Week 9 when, playing without star senior quarterback Tyler Douglas and a few other starters, they lost to Burlington Township in the first round of the Central Jersey Group 3 playoffs. Ocean was 8-0 during the regular season and won the Freedom Division championship. Next game: Season complete.
7. Raritan (8-2). Last week: No. 7
Senior running back Kieran Falzon ran for 170 yards and two touchdowns and returned the game's opening kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown to send the Rockets to a 28-7 win over Pleasantville in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals. Senior slot back Dan Calicari added a 76-yard touchdown run and senior linebacker Ryan McCormack made nine tackles to help lead the way on defense. For the second straight year, Raritan will take the field at the Launch Pad with a chance to bring home a sectional title. Next game: Friday vs. No. 8 Rumson-Fair Haven (6-4) in the South Jersey Group 2 championship.
8. Rumson-Fair Haven (6-4). Last week: No. 10
The Bulldogs got their running game on track in a 28-6 win over Oakcrest to advance to the South Jersey Group 2 championship game - the ninth straight season RFH will play in a sectional final. Junior running back Alastair Orr ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries and senior running back Brayden Dill ran for 73 yards and a touchdown. Senior defensive back Ryan Kalman pulled down his sixth interception of the season and senior defensive lineman Marshall Halfacre recorded a sack and two tackles for loss. No Shore Conference team has been more consistent than RFH over the past decade than the Bulldogs are once again in a position to bring home more championship hardware. Next game: Friday vs. No. 7 Raritan (8-2) in the South Jersey Group 2 championship.
9. Jackson Memorial (7-3). Last week: No. 8
The Jaguars had a halftime lead over Millville before falling to the high-octane Thunderbolts, 34-16, in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals. A safety followed by a touchdown run by senior quarterback Tai Mann put Jackson up 9-0 and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Mann to Albert D'Alessandro put the Jags ahead 16-14 at halftime. Millville regrouped to score three touchdowns in the second half and keep Jackson out of the end zone to advance. Mann threw for 134 yards and ran for 74 and senior running back Aidan Sweeney ran for 76 yards. Next game: Season complete.
10. Marlboro (6-4). Last week: No. 9
A tremendous season for the Mustangs came to an abrupt half via a 42-6 loss to No. 2 Toms River North in the South Jersey Group 5 semifinals. Luke Rubin kicked field goals of 27 and 31 yards to account for Marlboro's points. Marlboro's six wins match the program's most since 1999 and the Mustangs also made the state playoffs for the first time since 1999 and won a playoff game for the first time since 1994. Next game: Season complete