The South Group 3 playoff race only has two Big Central teams in it, and both are easily in the playoffs.
We’ll start with Somerville, which looks pretty well assured of a top eight finish, and at least a first-round home game.
The Pioneers are in 6th in the standings, with a 5-1 mark, after a 47-26 win over St. Joseph of Metuchen Saturday in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland. Though the multiplier points they picked up – 42! – moved them from 8th to 4th in power point rank, they dropped a little more than two OSI points to 6th from 5th.
The only team above them to lose was No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven, to powerhouse and undefeated Red Bank Catholic, which is 7-0. The Bulldogs were so far ahead, they still held on to the top spot, despite losing about three OSI points.
Running the numbers for a forfeit loss to Phillipsburg – which will come into play next week when all the season’s COVID forfeits are added back into team numbers – even that only drops them to seventh. Could they finish out of the top eight? Well, it ‘s a big drop.
Right now, the Pioneers have a 6.2 UPR, followed by Manasquan at 6.4 in seventh and Wall in 8th at a 6.4 UPR. But the drop to Triton in ninth is to a UPR of 10, and Delran is a 10.2 UPR. We don’t think they have enough of a quality schedule to catch Somerville, even if the Pioneers were to split their last two games against a pair of 5-2 teams, at Warren Hills this week, and next week at home against Summit (7 pm on CJSR).
Rahway, meanwhile, is also a good bet for the playoffs. The Indians are 2-3, and their most likely course is to split the next two games, at least on paper. They visit South Plainfield this weekend and Hillside next. Even should they lose to Hillside – which has not lost since the Rumble on the Raritan when they faced Bernards at Rutgers – the Comets are a strong enough opponent it won’t hurt too much.