Week 7 Predictions
By Tom Szieber
Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 12:30 pm
The playoffs continue to creep up on us, and there are a slew of big games that will go a long way in determining which teams will get in, and which will end up with consolation games. There are also teams that, while comfortable in the power point standings, are still looking to earn respect. Trenton and Newark West Side have huge tests in Rancocas Valley and West Essex, respectively, and victories will unquestionably put them in the sectional championship conversation. Young programs like St. Joseph (Met.) are looking for their first-ever trip to the dance, while established powers like St. Joseph (Mont.) are hoping to gear up for title runs. In sum, there is a lot on tap this week. Let’s take a look.
#2 Paramus Catholic (5-1) @ #1 St. Joseph (Mont.) (5-0)
The Juwann Buschell-Beatty-led PC offensive line will have a tough test in the ferocious St. Joe's pass rush. The Green Knights offense just about never turns the football over (four turnovers this season), so the Paladins will need to be adept in the return game to get the field position they’ll need.
The Pick: St. Joseph (Mont.)
Haddonfield (4-1) @ #11 West Deptford (5-0)
The Eagles’ running game has three running backs with seven touchdowns and over 400 yards (Gerald Owens, Devin Bates, Joe Diaco). Haddonfield’s offense never got going against Sterling two weeks ago, and it could have trouble against a West Deptford “D” that has surrendered just 22 points in five games.
The Pick: West Deptford
Colts Neck (5-0) @ #7 Manalapan (5-0)
Bruising running back Anthony Gargiulo and a defense that has already produced four shutouts give Colts Neck a very “smash mouth” feel. A relatively weak early-season schedule has the Braves in seventh place in Central, Group 5, but a win against the undefeated Cougars would give their playoff hopes a big boost.
The Pick: Manalapan
Eastern (6-0) @ Cherokee (4-1)
Tom Flacco and the Vikings can all but clinch the WJFL American with a win over the Chiefs. In back-to-back wins over good teams in Washington Township and Shawnee, Cherokee has outscored its opponents 76-0.
The Pick: Eastern
#15 Timber Creek (5-1) @ Paul VI (4-1)
Paul VI’s defense has been somewhat vulnerable at times, and will have its hands full with the passing combo of Dan Williams and Adonis Jennings. A win would give the Eagles their first five-game win streak since a 7-0 start in 2010.
The Pick: Timber Creek
Lakeland (5-1) @ Old Tappan (5-1)
Lakeland can take a big leap in a very deep North 1, Group 3 if they can take down the one-loss Golden Knights. Old Tappan’s Jordan Fuller, much like his brother Devin was, has become one of the Big North’s most exciting do-it-all offensive threats.
The Pick: Old Tappan
St. Joseph (Met.) (6-0) @ South Plainfield (4-1)
South Plainfield’s bid for an undefeated season ended last week against Colonia, and it’ll be a challenge for them to bounce back against a Falcons squad that is third in Non-Public, Group 4. The Tigers won the only previous meeting between the schools, 20-17, last season.
The Pick: St. Joseph (Met.)
Long Branch (5-1) @ Ocean Township (5-0)
Long Branch running back Dahmere Willis rushed for 276 yards and five touchdowns last week against Freehold Boro. The Spartans have shown the ability to slow down offenses and win low-scoring games, and haven’t allowed more than one touchdown since opening day.
The Pick: Ocean Township
Cedar Grove (5-1) @ Verona (4-1)
The Panthers have one of the most high-octane offenses in the SEC, having failed to break the 30-point mark just once—in their only loss. The Hillbillies have been good all season, but are still looking for a signature win to establish themselves as a threat in North 1, Group 1.
The Pick: Cedar Grove
West Essex (6-0) @ Newark West Side (5-1)
The Roughriders are in a place few expected them to be, and a win over the Knights could help them secure a home game in North 2, Group 2 playoffs. Knights running back Marc McDonald can pound the ball in vintage West Essex style, but can also break long plays.
The Pick: West Essex
Cranford (4-2) @ Ridge (6-0)
The Cougars are 0-2 against teams that currently have four or more wins. The Red Devils meanwhile, can continue to separate themselves from the pack in North 2, Group 5 with a victory.
The Pick: Ridge
Trenton (6-0) @ Rancocas Valley (3-2)
The Red Devils will be kicking themselves over last week’s loss to Northern Burlington if they can’t hold off the likes of Absegami, Washington Township and Atlantic City in the South, Group 5 standings. Not only can Trenton hand a blow to RV’s playoff hopes this week, but a Tornadoes victory also prevents Rancocas from clinching the WJFL Colonial Division championship.
The Pick: Rancocas Valley
Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.