There’s still a lot to be decided in the South Group 2 supersection heading into Week 9, leaving a lot of question marks. But all will be answered this weekend. Here’s a team-by-team unofficial look at all the Big Central teams in the grouping:
Hillside: Sitting in third, the sky’s the limit for the Comets (6-1), but it’s not entirely in their control. With a win over Rahway Saturday afternoon, they could vault all the way up to first with a little help. But there’s a caveat to all of the below. Let’s lay out the scenario first. If Willingboro wins at Haddon Heights and Point Pleasant Boro beats a very good Middletown North team, Hillside likely stays in third. Point has the stronger opponent, so if they win, they’ll get the top seed. If they win and Willingboro loses, Point can finish first and Hillside second, so the Comets get the second overall seed, and a top seed in the sectional. If Point loses and Willingboro wins, Hillside could end up the top overall seed, and Willingboro No. 2. There’s one potential fly in the ointment, though: if Delaware Valley beats undefeated St. Thomas Aquinas Friday night in North Edison. With the Trojans 7-0, that game is worth an enormous amount of power points, and Del Val could leap as high as second, pushing Hillside out of the top four. So the Del Val-Aquinas game looms large here.The dire scenario for Hillside is if they lose to the Indians, which on its own would drop the Comets to tenth. They would need both a New Providence loss at Spotswood (not likely) and a Raritan loss to Shore (likely) to climb back into the top eight and earn a first-round home game. That’s a big swing for Hillside. A lot is at stake.
Bernards: Sitting in fourth at 6-2, the Mountaineers have Middlesex (3-4) this Friday night. And while the Blue Jays’ won’t hurt them – unless they lose of course – a win doesn’t really move the needle either. Power points would nudge up a bit, OSI down a wee bit, leaving their UPR still at 6. With a Hillside loss, they can get to third, but no further, even with losses by Willingboro and Point Pleasant Boro. Both are just that far ahead, with 4.2 and 3.2 UPRs, respectively. But again, watch out for Del Val, which could screw this all up for the Mountaineers. And should they lose to the Blue Jays, it’s a similar scenario to Hillside; they would drop out of the top eight and need help to climb back in. Hey, winning cures all.
Delaware Valley: While Hillside and Bernards have much more to lose than gain, the Terriers (7-1, 7th place) are quite the opposite. A loss on their own to Aquinas (7-0) Friday night in North Edison on its own leaves them in 8th, but really 7th, since Camden – ahead of them – is out of the playoffs after a recent altercation in a game with Pleasantville led to several disqualifications, and an NJSIAA automatic ban from this postseason. Even wins by teams behind them like New Providence, Overbrook and Raritan likely couldn’t bounce them from the top eight – although a Raritan (3-4) win over Shore (6-1) could vault them into the top four as well, though it’s not very likely. The Terriers would still be ninth, and get the eight spot with Camden being pulled. But should Del Val beat Aquinas, they vault into second all on their own. Coupled with a Point Pleasant Boro loss and a Willingboro win – remember, Point has the tougher opponent, so this could be the more likely scenario – it’s possible Del Val vaults all the way up to Number One. Overall. That’s a heckuva ride.
New Providence: A weak last game leaves not much room for the Pioneers (7-1) to improve. In fact, even a win drops their power point average and OSI marginally, and a win at Spotswood (1-6) Saturday – without any other factors considered – moves them from 10th to 11th place. If the Pioneers can get Raritan to fall to Shore – which seems like it would benefit a number of Big Central teams – that would get Charlie Barth and company up to 9th, and then into 8th when Camden is taken out of the equation. And if disaster strikes and New Providence lost to the Chargers? Well, we still don’t think the Pioneers drop into the bottom four of the section.
Roselle: Sitting in 17th, the Rams (4-3) play at Bound Brook (3-5) on Friday night at LaMonte Field. Should the Rams win, even if everyone behind them who plays this weekend wins, Roselle would likely end up in 15th – 16th overall, but up a spot with Camden pulled from the group. Lose, and they’re out. Likewise…
Bound Brook: The Crusaders are in 20th place, but yes, Virginia, they still have a shot. Beating Roselle also gets them to number 16 overall, bumping up to 15th, we believes, once Camden is yanked.