Though in the midst of a two-game losing streak, Brearley – on the strength of a 3-0 start – is in 15th in the North Group 1 supersection, and the only Big Central team with a hope.
And they do have hope. But much of it will ride on their game at Bound Brook Friday night. With Dunellen and Dayton in their final two games, Brearley may very well need to win out. Dunellen will get the Bears a minimum 20 OSI points, and probably ten power points. That’s a negative when your OSI is 36.58, although it would boost their power point average, currently an 8.
Bound Brook is the biggie, with an OSI of 49.08 and a power point value of 17. That’s a big jump when your power point average is 8; it would go to 9.5 to be exact. That would at least be enough the fend off any challenges from behind. After the top seven teams or so, the rest of the supersection is not necessarily weak, but let’s say there’s parity. Which means for Brearley, which at least is on the right side of the bubble – two spots in – a playoff spot is theirs for the taking; they control their own destiny.
Incidentally, Belvidere is in 19th. That’s only three places out of a playoff spot, but they’re 4.6 UPR points out of a playoff spot. With their remaining schedule, of Dayton, North Warren and Roselle Park – 4-11 combined – there may not be that much room for improvement.
South Jersey Group 1:
Paulsboro (4-1) and Woodbury (6-0) lead the pack here, followed by Shore (4-1) and Salem (5-1). Then you have to go all the way down to number eleven to find Middlesex, which is 2-3, and South Hunterdon, which is 5-1. The Blue Jays have the better OSI (39.08 compared to the Eagles’ 10.83) but South Hunterdon has the higher power point average (10.83 to Middlesex’s 8).
They should both solidly be in, barring a total collapse, but reaching the top eight might prove impossible, as there’s a lot of ground to make up. A half dozen teams behind the both of them would have to go on the world’s greatest tear, and the law of averages says that’s not going to happen. On the other hand, Middlesex has a 12.8 UPR and South Hunterdon has a 13.2 UPR. To get to an 8th seed right now they’d have to get that down to a 7.6, which is a lot of ground to make up.
Then, we come to Manville. With the destruction the town faced on a massive scale back in early September when Ida tore through, it’s amazing they’ve been able to play football, let alone so well. But the Mustangs – who only wound up cancelling one game, their opener, which goes down as a “no contest” – despite a 4-1 record are in 19th place. Can they make up enough ground? Perhaps.
Right now, their power point average is a 9.8, the highest of any team out of the top 16. Their OSI is a 30.59, the 22nd best team in the supersection overall. Can they gain? Well, if so, it won;’t be thanks to a win over Highland Park Friday night. The 0-6 Owls are worth 7 power points, and their 11.60 OSI will be set to a minimum of 20 for OSI calculations.
Their finale against Metuchen may turn out to be better than originally though, as the Bulldogs – who started 0-4, but have since won two straight – are worth 14 power points all of a sudden, and their OSI is a SI is a 36.16. That wasn’t the case two weeks ago. The Buldogs lost Spotswood this week after hundreds of students at SHS had to quarantine following a positive test from a student who attended a homecoming dance (per an NJ Advance Media story), but picked up Johnson, a team they lost to 16-6 on September 11th, but which is the Crusaders’ only win of the season.
If you’re a Manville fan, you’re a Metuchen fan the rest of the season, too.
And while the final stretch of the season really is a playoff for Manville – a loss would almost assuredly end their postseason chances – the big one is next Friday night at Bound Brook. The Group 2 Crusaders have three wins, and are a 17 power point game, plus provide a 49.08 jolt to their OSI.
And let’s face it, this is all dependent on what everyone else does, and it;s not out of the realm of possibility that they still might not make it, even if they finish 7-1.
But that would be a damn shame.