The big news of the night of course was the No. 1 North Brunswick Raiders, who surely won’t hold that position next week.
That takes nothing away from the Sayreville Bombers, who upended the Raiders 35-22 on their home field Friday night to pick up their first win of the season against two losses, albeit to teams who are both in the top ten in the Big Central Media Poll (and maybe at least one of those teams warrant another look in the CJSR rankings).
But that was the big story line Friday night, along with a host of others.
Sayreville has had a couple of down years since winning the inaugural South 5 “bowl championship” in 2018, beating Williamstown in their very own of the Miracle at the Meadowlands.
But the program has persevered under alum Chris Beagan, now in his seventh season at the helm.
HEAR MORE: Sayreville topples No. 1 Raiders, wins it with defense as much as offense
Consider the fact that the Bombers first four opponents all are or have been in the Top Ten this year, in one or both polls.
Bridgewater-Raritan from Week One is in the Media Poll, Woodbridge is in both and got a first place vote each of the last two weeks in the Media Poll, North Brunswick was Number One the last two weeks in the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings, and this week as well in the Media Poll, and Edison – next week’s Bombers’ opponent – was in the lower half of the top ten before getting bounced last week after a loss to Colonia.
Sayreville is what they call a tough out. After Edison, the Bombers have St. Joe’s, Pisctaway (both 0-2), and South Brunswick (1-2) before finishing with New Brunswick (2-1) and Old Bridge (2-1).
Time to turn those tough outs into hits.
Manville pouring on the points…
No one wants to hear about any more water in Manville, but the Mustangs are making it rain.
After their season opener was cancelled and declared a “no contest” after Ida’s remnants devastated the majority of the town and drew a visit from President Biden, Manville has gone out and won two straight, by a combined score of 89-6 over Dunellen and Montclair-Kimberley Academy. Shaun Purcell had another great game with a rushing and receiving touchdown, while QB Danny Wildgoose and runningback Brandon Flores also got into the scoring column.
They could be on the opening chapters of writing a great book this season. Manville last made the playoffs in 2017, only their third playoff berth, and has never won a playoff game. That’s a long way away, but maybe they can dream…
Cranford is hot out of the gate, too…
Maybe things would have gone differently in Week Three had the Cougars not come out on the right side of last week’s 33-27 overtime decision at home against North Hunterdon.
Then again, as solid a program as Cranford has built – with a lot of multi-sport athletes who head coach Erik Rosenmeier says are not just allowed to, but encouraged to play other sports – it might not have made a difference.
No matter, the Cougars are off to a 2-0 start, with senior QB Shane VanDam leading an offense that has put up 88 points in two games.
HEAR MORE: Cranford wins a battle of top Union County QBs, Cougars off to 2-0 start
The big difference Friday night was that it was nowhere near as close as the opener; the defense held Summit to just eight measley points.
Things are looking good in the tiny Union County town.
Monroe back down to Earth, but are still hot…
Speaking of teams that have put up a lot of points, Monroe outscored its first two opponents 121-26, but cooled off a bit Friday night when they edged out Hamilton out of the West Jersey Football League 18-13.
Still, the Falcons are off to a 3-0 start, their best record out of the gate since winning five-in-a-row to start 2013 under Chris Beagan. They dropped four of their last five that year to finish 6-4, with the last two losses coming in the regular season finale and the opening round of the playoffs, both to Sayreville.
In their 11-1 state title season, they started 1-1 before winning ten straight to take the Central Jersey Group 3 title over Middletown South 30-10 in the snow at the College of New Jersey.