By Tom Szieber
Posted: Friday, November 3, 2017 8:20 am
There are still power points on the line, and Week 9 is far from meaningless for many teams. But even where teams have already completed their first eight, there are rivalries and a championship game on the slate this week. Let’s look at some of the best of the final week before the playoffs.
NJIC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Hasbrouck Heights (7-0) @ Rutherford (7-0)
The Aviators won last year’s conference tournament, beating Pompton Lakes, 14-13, in the final. The Bulldogs overcame a 20-point deficit to upend New Milford and clinch a spot in this one.
The Pick: Hasbrouck Heights
St. Augustine Prep (4-4) @ #5 Vineland (7-0)
Vineland is looking to lock up a playoff spot, as the Fighting Clan is currently sitting in seventh place in a loaded South, Group 5. The Hermits, meanwhile, are looking to stay healthy and keep momentum in their favor as they prepare for a projected Non-Public, Group 4 showdown with Bergen Catholic.
The Pick: Vineland
#3 Manalapan (8-0) @ Freehold Township (7-1)
Naim Mayfield has been the story all season long for the Braves, having rushed for 1,917 yards and 31 touchdowns. Nick Reardon leads the Patriots offense, and has passed for 1,362 yards and 17 touchdowns.
The Pick: Manalapan
Williamstown (4-3) @ Cherokee (5-2)
With a chance to get some additional power points, the Chiefs will rely heavily on QB Jack Walters, who has thrown for 1,145 yards and 8 touchdowns this year. Cherokee has won two of the last three meetings between the rivals, though the Braves were victorious in the 2015 South, Group 5 semifinal tilt between them.
The Pick: Cherokee
#4 DePaul (6-2) @ #3 St. Joseph (Mont.) (5-3)
There may not be any power points on the line, but there is a lot of pride as DePaul looks to break an 0-10 streak versus the Green Knights since they began playing yearly in 2009. Each squad is also looking to earn a mental edge given the very real chance they’ll meet again in the Non-Public, Group 3 final.
The Pick: St. Joseph (Mont.)
#6 Old Tappan (8-0) @ Ramapo (7-1)
Raiders QB A.J. Wingfield has accounted for 1,987 yards of total offense and 24 touchdowns. Ramapo has been on a tear since an opening day loss to Wayne Hills, winning seven in a row, including a big win over River Dell. The Golden Knights, though, have been playing on a different level all season, having allowed more than seven points in a game just once -- a 49-10 victory over Northern Highlands two weeks ago.
The Pick: Old Tappan
Wayne Hills (6-2) @ Irvington (6-2)
The Patriots won last year’s encounter, 33-20, when both teams went in 8-0. The winner takes home the NJSFC Freedom White Division title.
The Pick: Wayne Hills
Old Bridge (5-2) @ Sayreville (5-3)
Bombers running back Connor Holmes has rushed for 908 yards and 11 touchdowns. Old Bridge has played a tough schedule, going 2-2 against teams currently above .500 (including victories over Piscataway and Jackson).
The Pick: Old Bridge
Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.