With just two weeks of play left before the state playoffs are seeded, things are heating up in the playoff chase. Here’s our look at the Big Central Conference teams in playoff contention in Group 4 as we head into Week 7 of high school football around the state.
And, of course, don’t miss our “Playoff Projection Show,” scheduled for 5 pm on Saturday, October 21st, when we’ll reveal our predicted matchups and seeds for the postseason. It’s all presented by My Family Appliances of Edison, which will be giving away three $100 gift cards during the show to lucky listeners!
All our analysis is based on Gridiron New Jersey’s official playoff calculations performed for the NJSIAA and listed on their website as of 8 pm on October 10. For full standings, click on each supersection’s header below:
4. Ridge (5-1, 4.2): The Red Devils are the highest-ranked Big Central team here. We think the Red Devils still have a shot at a top seed if they can win both their remaining games – at Westfield this Saturday and against Union Friday night next week. Those are both winnable, but they could also drop both, and finish outside the top four. It’s a tightly-packed bunch at the top, including Roxbury, Northern Highlands, and Mount Olive above them, as well as Montgomery and Ramapo behind them.
5. Montgomery (7-0, 4.4): The Cougars are just 0.2 UPR points behind Montgomery, and Ramapo is 0.4 points behind them. The Cougars should win Friday night against Scotch Plains-Fanwood, but have a tough finale next Friday night at Linden. A sweep could get them a top four seed – and a two-seed in the sectionals, meaning home games at least through the semis – if things break right. With two losses – highly unlikely – they should at the very least be in the top eight and get a first round home game out of the deal.
9. Linden (5-2, 10.6): The Tigers are one of three Big Central teams in the 9-12 spots in the supersection, and are just 0.2 UPR points ahead of Woodbridge, 0.4 ahead of Randolph, and 1.6 ahead of Sayreville. Linden has two very tough games to close out the season – at Cranford Friday and home to Montgomery next Friday. A sweep could clinch them a first round home game, but we’re not sure if one win would do it. Check back with us next week!
10. Woodbridge (5-2, 10.8): The Barrons – even with a sweep of their final two games – may not be able to reach the top eight, at least not without a little help. Having winless North Hunterdon at home this Friday doesn’t help, but a win next week at Sayreville would. The safe call here is that Woodbridge opens the playoffs on the road.
12. Sayreville (5-2, 12.4): Do the Bombers have a shot at a home game? They sure do, if they win out. First, it’s an old-fashioned GMC tussle in one of the area’s best rivalries when they visit Piscataway Friday night (6 pm on CJSR). Then, they get Woodbridge next week at home. Two big opportunities for the Bombers. A split, and they should be on a bus to their first round destination.
15. Rahway (3-4, 13.8): We think it’s pretty simple for the Indians. The 17th place team is pretty far behind; that’s Chatham at 18. And it’s doubtful Colonia behind them can catch them at 18.6. But nor do they have a chance at a top eight seed, where 8th place Irvington has a 7.6 UPR. The Indians will start on the road. The question is, can they move up at least one notch from 15 to 14, and avoid having to visit the top-seed? Not that facing Ridge in the opening round – one of the largest Group 4 teams – would be an easy task either.
18. Colonia (4-3, 18.6): The Patriots are in dire need of wins. They have their last two games at home, against Summit and Rahway. The Hilltoppers (5-1) are having a fantastic season, but even the Indians (3-4) are no pushover. Even a weep may not get them in; they may need some help, but we don’t think they’re in at all if they drop one of their final two.
There are no teams from the Big Central in South Group 4, but since the state plays to overall group champions now, we’ll just mention that the top four right now include Millville (5-1), Mainland (7-0), Brick Memorial (7-0), and Winslow (5-2).