Week 1 Predictions

By Tom Szieber
Posted:  Friday, September 8, 2017   11:10 am

Check out Brian Carr's photo gallery from Westwood's win over High Point in last year's playoffs.

After an exciting Week Zero, the entire state is in action for the first time this fall. There is a fantastic slate of games, including several big public school matchups. Let’s take a look at some of this week’s best.

Passaic County Tech (0-0) @ Montclair (0-0)
Montclair running back Daniel Webb is one of the top returning rushers in New Jersey, having churned out 2,020 yards as a junior. The Mounties blew out the Bulldogs, 42-15, in last year’s opener, but Tech bounced back to go 9-3 and reach the North 1, Group 5 final.

The Pick: Montclair

Red Bank Catholic (0-0) @ Middletown South (0-0)
Eagles defensive end Jake Krelin will be a key for the South defense a year after tallying 109 tackles and 15 sacks. The Caseys and versatile quarterback Steve Lubischer are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 5-5 season in 2016.

The Pick: Middletown South

St. Mary (0-0) @ Hasbrouck Heights (0-0)
With a new quarterback and several new offensive linemen, the Aviators will rely heavily on running back Nico Facchini and the run game early in the year. Gaels tight end/defensive end Josh Marron is a tough two-way threat that is poised for a big year.

The Pick: St. Mary

Westwood (0-0) @ Mahwah (0-0)
Mahwah, who is led by Chris Diaz following the retirement of long-time head coach Jeff Remo, defeated the Cardinals by a touchdown in last season’s North 1, Group 2 title game. Westwood quarterback Sean Hopkins is one of the top quarterbacks in the state, having thrown for 2,219 yards and 29 touchdowns last season.

The Pick: Westwood

Lincoln (0-0) @ Irvington (0-0)
Irvington wants to show it can be one of the top public school teams in the state, and should have a top-flight defensive that features defensive end Lancine Turay and strong safety Nim Salaam. They will match up with a Lions offense that includes 1,000-yard rusher Kamani Addison and wide receiver Jamar Casey.

The Pick: Irvington

Pascack Valley (0-0) @ River Dell (0-0)
After an 0-5 start last season, the Indians won four of their final five games to salvage what could have been a disastrous year. The defending North 1, Group 3 champion Golden Hawks are led by multi-talented quarterback David Estevez, who scored 15 rushing touchdowns and passed for 15 more in 2016.

The Pick: River Dell

South Brunswick (0-0) @ Old Bridge (0-0)
South Brunswick wide out Justin Shorter is one of the top players in the state at the position. He’ll provide a major test for talented Old Bridge cornerback duo of Manny Wheagar and Keith Lancaster all day long.

The Pick:  South Brunswick

Lenape (0-0) @ Trenton (1-0)
The combination of quarterback Matt Lajoie and wide receiver Jake Topolski were deadly last year, leading the Indians to an appearance in the South, Group 4 finals. The Tornadoes are looking to earn their first winning season in three years, and got off to a good start with a blowout victory over Palumbo Academy (PA).

The Pick: Lenape

Archbishop Wood (PA) (1-1) @ Bergen Catholic (1-0)
Archbishop Wood (PA) was overwhelmed by Paramus Catholic last week, and lost to Bergen last year. Crusaders quarterback Johnny Langan threw for four touchdowns in last year’s meeting between these teams, which BC won, 34-16.
The Pick: Bergen Catholic

Elizabeth (0-0) @ Hillsborough (0-0)
Hillsborough running back Tyler Boatwright rushed for 879 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, and scored on both offense (rushing) and defense (interception return) in their win over the Minutemen in 2016. A year after the controversy surrounding their coaching situation, the Minutemen are looking to get back to being one of Union County’s elite teams.
The Pick: Hillsborough

Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing tom@gridironnewjersey.com.