Cranford looks to keep the beat going when Cougars host Spartans in North 2, Group 3 title game Friday night

Cranford players prep before practice Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Field. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

In two prior state championship seasons, Cranford has gone a combined 22-1.

When you’re hot, you’re hot, and the Cougars are hot again.

Top-seed Cranford is 10-0 in 2021, and will put that perfect mark on the line Friday night in the North 2, Group 3 title game, when the Cougars host third-seed Sparta (8-3) in the North 2, Group 3 title game at Memorial Field Friday night.

It’ll be the Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Autoland. Pregame will start at about 6:30 on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe covering all the action. Kickoff is at 7, and you can listen to the live audio stream by clicking here.

Cranford will be playing in its third sectional finals – all under head coach Erik Rosenmeier – and the Cougars have won twice: in 2011 and 2015, going undefeated that second time.

They’re led by quarterback Shane VanDam, who’s thrown for 1,339 yards and 16 touchdowns, with only two picks all season. Five different receivers have caught touchdown passes, including Will Gallagher, who has half of them.

PRIME TIME MATCHUP: Listen to postgame reaction from Cranford’s win over Woodbridge, a battle of unbeatens on CJSR

And then there’s runningback Colin Murray, who has rushed for 1,718 yards on 2016 carries, with a whopping 29 touchdowns to lead the Big Central.

And with New Providence’s season over, another 68 yards would put him over Charlie Barth to top the league in rushing as well. Last Friday night, in a 42-7 semifinal win over Pascack Valley, he reeled off 212 yards on just nine carries, scoring two touchdowns.

Click below to hear previews of the game and a look at Cranford’s season with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Senior Colin Murray

Head coach Erik Rosenmeier

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