Week 9 Previews & Predictions
By Tom Szieber
Posted: Thursday, November 8, 2012 4:05 pm
One more week until playoff time, and there is still plenty on the line for a lot of teams throughout the Garden State. Obviously, football is a small priority in the big post-Sandy picture, but it will be interesting to see if any storm-related issues cause any surprising results over the weekend.
The bubble for a lot of teams is just one loss away from bursting. Two 3-4 teams in particular, Phillipsburg and Cherokee would be surprising consolation round participants, given the history of their respective programs. It’s hard to remember the last time either the Stateliners or Chiefs spent two consecutive seasons out of the playoffs, though this weekend could make such a scenario a reality.
At season’s beginning, close to no one thought Paramus Catholic would stand atop the Non-Public, Group 4 standings when postseason brackets were finalized. But that will be the case if the Paladins beat Northern Highlands this week and either Ridgewood beats Passaic County Tech or St. Joseph (Mont.) beats Ramapo. A loss by PC puts Don Bosco in the #1 slot, assuming they beat Hackensack.
Let’s take a look at some other contests with playoff implications this weekend.
Last Week: 10-2
Year to Date: 57-38
Upset Picks: 5-3
Wayne Hills (5-3) @ Paramus (4-3)
No matter the result the Spartans are in the North 1, Group 4 playoffs, a tough pill to swallow for Wayne Valley. If Paramus wins, they could end up playing Hills again -- in Wayne -- in the first round.
The Pick: Wayne Hills
#19 Immaculata (7-1) @ Phillipsburg (3-4)
It's pretty simple for Phillipsburg. If they win, they're in -- if they lose, they're out. This game also has implications for both Columbia and Edison, who can benefit from a P'Burg loss in the chase for a playoff spot in the North 2, Group 5 tourney. Win or lose, Immaculata will open up at home when they begin the postseason in the Non-Public, Group 2 playoffs.
The Pick: Immaculata
Schalick (3-4) @ Woodstown (4-3)
The Cougars need to win if they want get to the playoffs, and they've bounced back from a 1-3 start with two straight wins. The Wolverines, despite already being in the South, Group 2 playoffs, can still win its way into a home game.
The Pick: Schalick
Bordentown (4-3) @ Cinnaminson (4-3)
The Scotties are safe in Central, Group 2, and in all likelihood can’t move any higher than their current spot in the #7 slot. A loss by the Pirates will definitely keep them out of the South, Group 2 tournament..
The Pick: Cinnaminson
Passaic County Tech (6-2) @ Ridgewood (5-2)
Both teams are in the North 1, Group 5 playoffs, but this one will go a long way in determining the seeds. If Passaic Tech wins, they'll get the #4 seed if Union City beats Hoboken, or the #3 seed if Hoboken wins. But if Ridgewood should win, the Maroons will move all the way up to #3. If they lose, they're the #7 seed, and they'll open up the playoffs with a road game against either Montclair or Bloomfield.
The Pick: Ridgewood
West Deptford (7-0) @ Haddonfield (5-2)
How sweet it would be for the Eagles to knock their old rivals from playoff contention, an achievement that could be a reality with a win by West Deptford combined with a few other results. Haddonfield substantially increases its prospects with a win, and also probably steers clear of a rematch with Clyde Folsom’s squad in the first round of the South, Group 2 playoffs.
The Pick: West Deptford
Irvington (5-2) @ Caldwell (6-1)
The Chiefs are still looking to earn a home game, and don't want to have to rely on residuals and other teams' results to do so. Irvington is one of the feel-good stories of the year in New Jersey, as they’re locked in as the top seed in North 2, Group 4 after winning just four total games in 2010 and 2011.
The Pick: Caldwell
Hoboken (7-1) @ Union City (5-2)
The Red Wings have nothing to play for but pride and momentum, as they’re safely in as the top seed in North 2, Group 1. Union City, on the other hand, is still battling to start the playoffs at home. If they win, they're the #3 seed in North 1, Group 5. If they lose, they'll be seeded fifth.
The Pick: Union City
Cumberland (3-4) @ Delsea (7-1)
Another win-or-surely-go-home scenario, as the Colts need the big upset to keep their hopes alive in the South, Group 3 bracket. Delsea has scored 21 or more in every game; Cumberland has broken that mark just once.
The Pick: Delsea
Pompton Lakes (8-0) @ Hasbrouck Heights (7-1)
Heights could use a win before the playoffs to recoup any momentum lost in their setback against Palisades Park. Pompton’s defense seems like it’s just too good to be overcome by the Aviators or anyone else.
The Pick: Pompton Lakes
Cherry Hill East (3-4) @ Cherokee (3-4)
The loser is out of contention in South, Group 5, while the winner keeps its slim postseason hopes alive. Just one of Cherokee’s four losses has come by more than seven points (and that was to #7 Williamstown).
The Pick: Cherokee
Hudson Catholic (4-4) @ Kearny (1-7)
The Kardinals, despite all their defensive woes, have been scoring in greater frequency ever since the now-infamous St. Peter’s Prep forfeit situation. With all due respect to the Hawks, Hudson Catholic’s best win has been over a three-win Bergen Tech squad.
The Pick: Kearny
Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.