By Tom Szieber
Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 10:45 am
Check out LaRon Hall's photo gallery from Millville's win over St. Augustine Prep.
We here at Gridiron New Jersey would like to wish all our readers and fellow high school football fans a very happy Thanksgiving. Here are our picks for some of the most historic rivalry games across the state.
Montclair (10-0) @ Bloomfield (6-4)
Montclair leads all-time series, 64-25-1
It’s the last Thanksgiving week game between the long-time rivals, and the Mounties are gearing up for the North 1, Group 5 finals. Bloomfield’s D will have its work cut out for it facing Mounties QB Tarrin Earle and RB Daniel Webb.
The Pick: Montclair
Passaic (4-5) @ Clifton (6-3)
Clifton leads all-time series, 47-36-5
Passaic has clearly improved this season under head coach William Widener, but Clifton running back David Martinez is a bruiser with breakway speed that can make defenses pay. A win would clinch the Mustangs’ best finish since 2010 (7-3)
The Pick: Clifton
Holy Spirit (8-2) @ Atlantic City (5-4)
Atlantic City leads all-time series, 51-33-4
The Spartans would like to end the year on a high note after a heartbreaking loss to Mater Dei Prep in the Non-Publc, Group 2 semifinals last week. Don’t let AC’s average record fool you: the Vikings’ four losses all came against traditionally successful programs and they just missed a berth in the state’s most loaded public school section.
The Pick: Holy Spirit
Phillipsburg (10-0) vs. Easton (PA) (7-5)
Easton (PA) leads all-time series, 59-40-5
The Stateliners always get up for this showdown with a cross-state rival to whom it’s lost to in each of the past two years. P-Burg QB Jack Stagaard is 105-of-19 for 1,429 yards and 12 touchdowns on the season.
The Pick: Phillipsburg
Plainfield (1-8) @ Westfield (10-0)
Westfield leads all-time series, 59-45-7
Westfield’s win over the Cardinals in the 2014 Thanksgiving meeting began what is now a state-best 35-game win streak. Blue Devils linebacker Drew Ortiz is a tackling machine, tallying 97 (plus two sacks) this year.
The Pick: Westfield
Vineland (7-2) @ Millville (9-1)
Vineland leads all-time series, 64-59-19
The oldest series in New Jersey may be the best holiday matchup of the year, although both teams were hoping to be playing one more game in the South, Group 5 final. Vineland linebacker Nihym Anderson will be trailing Thunderbolts star running back Clayton Scott all morning.
The Pick: Millville
Eastside (4-5) @ Kennedy (5-4)
Kennedy leads all-time series, 43-42-7
Kennedy has won the last three meetings to take the lead in a near-even all-time series. Knights RB Azmir Ivy will face an Eastside D that has held an opponent under 20 just once this year.
The Pick: Kennedy
Palmyra (5-4) @ Burlington City (8-2)
Palmyra leads all-time series, 56-36-17
The Blue Devils can complete a comeback season if they can end a four-game skid against the rival Panthers. Burlington City running back Jimmy Browne has had one of the best season’s of any running back in New Jersey, rushing for 2,010 yards and 27 touchdowns on 238 carries.
The Pick: Burlington City
Perth Amboy (3-6) @ Carteret (4-5)
Perth Amboy leads all-time series, 46-42-2
Both squads are coming into Turkey Day on three-game losing streaks. Carteret quarterback Zamar Brake is one of the GMC’s best passers.
The Pick: Carteret
Tom Szieber can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.