Can Woodbridge or Sayreville earn a top four seed? And what about the jumble of teams at the bottom? Here’s a team by team unofficial look at the scenarios for all the Big Central teams in the North Group 4 supersection:
Woodbridge: The Barrons (6-2) sit in 5th place right now, but at one point were looking at a top seed. They’re reeling a bit after consecutive losses to still-undefeated Cranford and Scotch Plains-Fanwood. But can they finish in the top four to get first-round advantage through the sectional semifinals? The short answer is “Yes.” The long answer is they’ll need some help. It starts and ends with beating Linden (3-4) at Priscoe Field Friday night. Then, it appears they would need no more than one of the following three teams to win: Ramapo, Middletown South or Morris Knolls. If only one wins, Woodbridge can end up as the four seed, maybe even a three. If any two of those schools wins this weekend, Woodbridge can’t crack the top four. There’s a crack in the door, and we’ll see what happens.
Sayreville: The Bombers (6-2) are in sixth, right behind Woodbridge, and have a big “Battle of Route 9” matchup with Old Bridge (6-2) Friday night at Vince Lombardi Field. Where will they be when the head back up North? With a win, even they have a crack at the top four, but they need even more help than the Barrons. A Sayreville victory would also need losses by Woodbridge, Ramapo, Morris Knolls, Mount Olive and Middletown South. We believe if even one of those teams wins, the Bombers still will be top eight seed with a win, giving them a first round home game, at a minimum. In fact, they can even pass Woodbridge, as the Knights are much more valuable in power points and OSI than Linden, the Barrons’ opponent.
Colonia: Sitting in 11th, the Patriots (6-2) face Scotch Plains-Fanwood this weekend. Even with a victory over the Raiders and some help, it’s likely the Patriots can only get as high as ninth, so it’s looking like they’ll be on traditional green turf when they open the playoffs next weekend.
Ridge: The Same can be said for the Red Devils (5-2), who sit in 12th, one spot behind Colonia. The best they can do, even with a home win over Elizabeth (3-5) and some help, is finish in 9th. So the Red Devils will be away from home, too.
North Hunterdon: In 15th place sits North Hunterdon (4-4), which is pretty much assured of a bottom four finish, this a 7 or 8 seed. With a trip to Voorhees (1-7) Friday night, the Vikings’ don’t provide enough power points to make a move up, but no one behind them has the wherewithal to knock them out either, by our calculations. We peg them for one of the last two spots.
Linden: The Tigers sit in 16th place behind North Hunterdon. They get Woodbridge (6-2) on the road here on Cutoff Weekend, and with a win, still are looking like a bottom four team. A loss could drop them out of the picture entirely. They trio to keep an eye on is Montgomery, Bergenfield and Warren Hills. If at least two of those teams win – and the Tigers lose to Woodbridge – we say they’re out, finishing in 18th place.
Montgomery: This won’t be easy for the Cougars (3-4), but getting help may be the easiest part. They have undefeated Cranford (7-0) at home this weekend, but Monty has been a different team of late, since moving Alex Benitez back to his natural runningback position and putting sophomore Michael Schmelzer at quarterback. Do they have a shot against the Cougars? Absolutely. We’ve always thought the Big Central’s Division 4 was tough, and full of parity. We’ve beaten that drum all year. Let’s put it this way, with a win, Montgomery could finish as high as 14, if Chatham, North Hunterdon and Linden all lose. A loss may leave them needing all kinds of help, and too many possibilities to mention here.