By Tom Szieber
Posted: Friday, October 27, 2017 8:30 am
Yes, we know Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep will play this week. And of course, you throw the records out the window in matchup of such magnitude. But there are a host of other huge contests that aren’t getting nearly he same attention. Let’s take a look at a few of them and make some picks.
Passaic Tech (6-1) @ Ridgewood (6-1)
These two teams have traded triumphs against one another in the last two North 1, Group 5 title games. With North Bergen and Clifton on their heels in the sectional power point standings (and with the Mustangs having a game in-hand), the loser will likely be on the road during the first round of the playoffs.
The Pick: Ridgewood
#10 Piscataway (5-1) @ #3 Manalapan (7-0)
The Chiefs beat the Braves in last year’s Central, Group 5 final, but Manalapan running back Naim Mayfield’s tear (1,723 yards, 29 TD, 15.7 yards per carry) will be tough to stop. Piscataway, of course, has its own star in the backfield in Juwan Jackson, who has rushed for 1,054 yards and 15 touchdowns against always-tough GMC Red competition.
The Pick: Manalapan
#15 North Hunterdon (7-0) @ #13 Phillipsburg (6-0)
Stateliners running back Joe Green is having a mean 2017 campaign, having rushed for 977 yards (6.7 yards per carry) and 13 touchdowns. Green will need good blocking from his front five to be able to crack a good North Hunterdon D and a strong linebacking corps let by Erik Dehkes and Luke Ingenito.
The Pick: Phillipsburg
NJIC PLAYOFF SEMIFINAL -- Hasbrouck Heights (6-0) @ Wallington (6-0)
Meadowlands Division champion Hasbrouck Heights has won 17 straight games and has a quarterback in James Klenk who has been responsible for 1,107 offensive yards (718 passing) and 18 total touchdowns (13 passing). Behind running back Elijah Mitchell, the Panthers have already clinched their first winning season since their 11-1 North 1, Group 1 championship campaign of 2010.
The Pick: Hasbrouck Heights
NJIC PLAYOFF SEMIFINAL -- Rutherford (6-0) @ New Milford (6-0)
The Colonial Division champion Bulldogs have heated up on offense over its last four games, scoring 31.3 points per game after averaging 23.0 in its first two. New Milford, this season’s kingpin in the Liberty Division, has a thus-far unbreakable defense led by LB Matt McElroy (64 tackles, 46 solo).
The Pick: New Milford
#8 Lenape (5-1) @ #9 Cherokee (5-1)
Cherokee has been impressive in winning five of its first six, but lost its only matchup with a team currently above .500 (Timber Creek). The Lenape defense has been suffocating this season, and the Indians are allowing just 5.0 points per game on the year.
The Pick: Lenape
#11 South Brunswick (5-1) @ Brick Memorial (6-1)
With Tyler Sindel throwing the ball and running back Tony Thorpe doing work on the ground, the Mustangs provide matchup problems for any defense. It’s equally tough to prepare for a Vikings offense that boasts game-breaking receiver Justin Shorter and nine players whose rushing averages top 4.5 yards per carry.
The Pick: South Brunswick
Camden Catholic (6-0) @ Holy Spirit (6-1)
This one will feature top-flight running backs on both sides. Camden Catholic’s Marcus Hillman has already amassed 1,016 yards and 12 touchdowns, while Holy Spirit’s Elijah Gray has 1,009 and 13 to his credit.
The Pick: Camden Catholic
Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.