Looking Back on Sectional Finals

By Tom Szieber
Posted:  Tuesday, November 20, 2018   9:00 pm

Butler bests Park Ridge, 35-28, in North 1, Group 1: Thanks to a one-yard QB sneak by Evan Smith, Butler is a state sectional champion. Smith had a strong day through the air, as well, going 13-for-17 for 165 yards and a touchdown.

Mafaro, Kittatiny beat Newton in North 1, Group 2: Andrew Treddinick of the New Jersey Herald saw a physical final in Newton, with Kittatiny beating the defending sectional champions, 28-19, to win its first sectional title. RB Jacob Mafaro had a huge performance, running the ball 24 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns to push his team past a Braves team that had limited his production in their October meeting (a Newton victory).

Ramapo breezes by River Dell to win North 1, Group 3: In a rematch of last year's North 1, Group 3 final, Ramapo rolled past River Dell, 31-7. Greg Mattura reported for The Record, and saw QB A.J. Wingfield rush for three second half touchdowns in the romp.

Wayne Hills gets 20-13 victory over Old Tappan to win North 1, Group 4: After a year on top, Old Tappan was dethroned by Wayne Hills in North 1, Group 4, with Darren Cooper of The Record on hand. Patriots RB Michael Joyce was the workhorse, rushing for 181 yards and a touchdown in the second half to lead his team to the win.

Ridgewood gets revenge on Montclair in North 1, Group 5: In classic Ridgewood fashion, the Maroons rushed their way to a North 1, Group 5 championship by beating Montclair, 27-7, with Jim McConville of The Record reporting. Led by RB Will Cardew, Ridgewood ground out 226 yards and took down a Montclair team that had beaten them for last year's title.

Hasbrouck Heights beats Shabazz in North 2, Group 1 final: Thanks, in large part, to its star WR, Hasbrouck Heights won its third sectional title in a row. Per Nick Gantaifis of NorthJersey.com, Jasiah Purdie finished the day with 21 carries for 146 yards, 7 catches for 45 yards and a score, and 1 passing touchdown, and the Aviators downed Shabazz, 13-7.

Rutherford repeats with win over Lyndhurst in North 2, Group 2
: For the second straight year, Rutherford reigns supreme in North 2, Group 2. Greg Tartaglia of The Record was on hand as RB Abellany Mendez was unstoppable, rushing for 166 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries in Rutherford's 32-14 win over Lyndhurst.

Summit rolls by Rahway in North 2, Group 3: Greg Tufaro of the Courier News was in attendance for Summit's 36-14 victory over Rahway. RB Joe Lusardi was one of a number of Hilltoppers that starred in the sectional title game, racking up 160 yards from scrimmage and scoring the first three touchdowns for Summit.

Phillipsburg breezes by Irvington to win North 2, Group 4 championship: Brad Wilson of lehighvalleylive.com watched the Stateliners go wild in a 42-7 win over Irvington. QB Jack Stagaard was near-perfect, going 13-for-16 for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

Piscataway D too much for Union City run game in North 2, Group 5: Piscataway's defense was dominant in its 28-7 win over Union City in the North 2, Group 5 final. According to Joe Zedalis of NJ Advance Media, linebacker Nice Recine led the way, helping to hold the Soaring Eagles’ strong run game to just 3.4 yards per attempt.

Willingboro wins Central, Group 1 title with win over Paulsboro
: QB Au-Shaun Davis put on a show for everyone in attendance, including Anthony Coleman of NJ Advance Media. Davis finished 16-for-22 for 207 yards and one touchdown to lead Willingboro past Paulsboro, 22-14. DL Khris Hackett was all over the field on defense, making 10 tackles.

Hillside D stifles Mansquan in Central, Group 2: As Steven Falk noted in the Asbury Park Press, Hillside's defense was a monster in its sectional title victory over Manasquan. The Comets held the Warriors offense to less than three yards per play in dominant 36-10 win that allowed them to repeat in Central, Group 2.

Rumson-Fair Haven gets revenge on Somerville in Central, Group 3: A year after suffering a crushing loss to the Pioneers in the finals, the Bulldogs earned some payback in front of Andrew Koob of NJ Advance Media. RB Alex Maldjian couldn't be stopped, as he rushed for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the 42-35 victory.  

Long Branch repeats in Central, Group 4, bests Brick Township: It's hard to believe that in just two years, Long Branch has gone from a 2-8 football team to back-to-back sectional champs. As reported by Stephen Edelson of the Asbury Park Press, the Green Wave defense came through over and over again, particularly in the fourth, and spearheaded the 21-14 win over the Green Dragons.

Sayreville rides defense to shutout victory over North Brunswick in Central, Group 5: Greg Tufaro of the Courier News watched the Bombers defense come up huge on a huge stage, stymying the normally high-octane North Brunswick offense in a 6-0 victory in Central, Group 5. RB Mark Whitford scored the lone touchdown for Sayreville, and also sealed the game with a late first down.

Penns Grove wins South, Group 1 crown with win over Salem: A year after falling to Paulsboro in the finals, Penns Grove captured the South, Group 1 title in a 14-7 win over Salem witnessed by Kevin Minnick of NJ Advance Media. The Red Devils defense was the star of the game, forcing 4 turnovers and denying Salem its first sectional title in 35 years.

Haddonfield wins South, Group 2 title with win over Camden: Anthony Bellano of Patch.com saw Haddonfield win a second consecutive South, Group 2 championship, this time beating Camden, 23-12. Defensive lineman Gabe Klaus was a difference maker in the win, nabbing 3.0 sacks on the day.

Kargman, King, Strong D lead Woodrow Wilson to South, Group 3 crown: The Tigers emerged as champions for the first time since 2001 in a game covered by Josh Friedman of the Courier Post. WR Stanley King had a big day, catching six passes from Nick Kargman for 107 yards and a touchdown as Wilson defeated Burlington Township, 22-14.

South, Group 4: Shawnee (5-6) repeats with win over Clearview: For all the hollering about the UPR, it looks like the system may have gotten it right in South, Group 4. With Anthony V. Coppola of the Courier-Post on hand, the Renegades successfully defended their title against Clearview despite a sub.500 record. Kicker Joe Dalsey's 27-yard field goal in double overtime was the difference.

Inge, Williamstown overwhelm Rancocas Valley to win Southy, Group 5 crown: RB Wade Inge was, in a word, a monster as the the Braves rolled past Rancocas Valley, 56-20, in the South, Group 5 final. In front of Bill Evans of NJ Advance Media, Inge rushed 304 yards and four touchdowns, and was simply too much for the Red Devils' defense.

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