The battle of unbeaten teams in Week Seven at Priscoe Field lived entirely up to its billing.
For tension, entertainment, big plays, and yes, even for playoff implications.
While the loss looks like it dropped Woodbridge out of playoff contention, it kept Cranford as the leader of the pack in the North Group 3 supersection.
It didn’t actually put any distance between them and the teams behind them, even though their power point average jumped about two-and-a-half points. In fact, one of the the teams behind them crept even closer. Cranford had a UPR of 1 – the best you can get last week – and it kept that ranking this week. But West Morris (5-2, 2nd place) rose from a 2.8 to a 2.4 UPR, moving up one place in power point rank from fourth to third.
The third place team, though, moved a bit further back. Actually, West Essex (6-1) dropped despite a win; they were a 3.2 UPR last week. They were overtaken by River Dell (5-2) which has a 2 UPR, two-tenths closer than last week’s third place team.
Still, if Cranford can take care of business with road wins at Linden and Montgomery this week an next, they’ll finish as a top seed, and likely the top overall seed.
Winning takes care of everything else, we like to say.
The other two likely playoff teams here – who played each other last week – went opposite directions in Week Seven, and met in the middle
Summit took its second loss of the season, falling to Warren Hills, and fell from 9th to 12th in the standings, while the Blue Streaks climbed from the wrong side of the bubble at 17th to 13th. Both are 5-2, with Summit having an 11.29 power point average, and Warren Hills at 11.86. UPR is close, too: 11.8 for the Hilltoppers, 12.6 for Warren Hills.
Summit had a bye this week, and we think should be in, even with a loss to Somerville next week (CJSR, 7 pm). But should they win, depending what other teams do this week, they could jump up to the top eight and earn a first-round home game. Right now it looks like a stretch, with only one team ahead of the – Old Tappan – having two losses. (Old Tappan, interestingly, only has a 9.71 power point average, one of only four single digit power point teams in the top 20 of the section. But their OSI ranks 11th, which is how they’re in.)
As for Warren Hills, they have Somerville this week, and could make a big jump. Not helping them is the fact that their regular season finale next Friday night is against longtime rival Hackettstown, which is 0-7, and only has an SI value of about 45, which is a tick above the Blue Streaks’ average. So they’re probably relegated to a bottom eight seed.
North Plainfield sits in 18th, a not-so-insurmountable 1.4 UPR points behind the No. 16 team in the standings, Demarest. The question is: Can wins at Johnson this week (2-5) and South River next week (3-3) help their cause? Johnson is worth 14 power points (their average is 8.71) but only 36.41 in OSI value (their average is 41.74). And the Rams are worth 17 power points, but will be about a 47 in SI value. It might wash out, but it that enough to pick up a couple of places in power points and move into 16th? Absent anything else, they could jump to about a 10.22 in power point average, which would vault them over four teams (not considering anything they might do the next two weeks) and gain 1.6 UPR points; remember, they’re 1.4 out now. Is it enough to more than offset losses in OSI?
We’ll have to see.