Like every year, finals weekend saw the
emergence of brand new stars and the latest act of some established
ones. There were a host of players who stepped up on the biggest stage
in New Jersey high school sports.
The Raiders defeated River Dell, 23-20, on
Oct. 20, by limiting the damage from River Dell’s dynamic QB David
Estevez. River Dell is the defending sectional champion, and did beat
Ramapo in the semifinals last year, but fell to the Raiders in the
finals two years ago. Ramapo has its own multidimensional signal-caller
in A.J. Wingfield, who has gone 103-of-163 for 1,481 yards and 12
touchdowns through the air while rushing for 948 yards and 18 scores on
Middlesex is looking to make history by
winning its first title since 1984. It kept
its momentum going with a 40-24 Thanksgiving Eve win over Dunellen, with QB John Kressbach and RB Anthony Mason combining for
259 yards on the ground. Point Beach won this section just 3 seasons
ago, and has won four-of-its-last-five after beginning the year 2-3. Middlesex
won the first meeting between these teams, 28-12, thanks to RB Tom
Rau’s 23 carry, for 216-yard, three-touchdown outing.
The oldest series in New Jersey may be the
best holiday matchup of the year, as both teams expected to be in the
South, Group 5 final. Vineland linebacker Nihym Anderson will be
trailing Thunderbolts star running back Clayton Scott all morning.
No public school in New Jersey has been to
more sectional finals than Paulsboro, and the defending champs are one
win away from making it there for the 26th time. Fourth-seeded Salem
(7-2) will need to find a way to contain Red Raiders running back Dehron
Holloway, who exploded for 234 yards and four TDs against Pennsville in
the first round.
The Maroons defeated the Mustangs, 28-7, on
Sept. 22, despite being outgained on the ground, 216-131. Clifton
running back David Martinez rushed for 107 yards in that meeting, and
has only gotten better, totaling 1,064 yards and 13 touchdowns this
The Aviators want to get the taste of a
heartbreaking NJIC title game loss to Rutherford out of their mouths
with a first round victory as their sectional championship defense
begins. The Panthers offense is led by QB Sammy Ventola, who has passed
for 1,663 and 18 touchdowns.