It’s down to the final weekend of the regular season in high school football, and Cutoff Weekend is just days away. This week, Central Jersey Sports Radio will bring you exclusive, team-by-team analysis of all the playoff scenarios for the 57 public schools in the Big Central Conference.
It’s all brought to you by My Family Appliances on Route 1 South in the Wick Plaza, Edison.
And don’t forget to join us for our “Playoff Projection Show” on Saturday at 6 pm (moved to an hour later) as Mike Pavlichko brings you all the playoff projections, with analysis and commentary by Marcus Borden, live in studio!
With that, here’s a look at Group 4, with all scores and playoff standings based on Gridiron New Jersey’s official calculations as of Sunday, October 15, 2023. Click on the heading to see the standings at Gridiron New Jersey:
4. Ridge (6-1, 4.2 UPR): We think the Red Devils already are at their ceiling. The top six at least should be favored over their respective opponents this weekend, at least based on records. So, assuming no upsets, we peg Ridge are the overall fourth-place team. If all win, it’ll be Roxbury, Ramapo, Mount Olive and Ridge, putting the Red Devils in with the overall top-seed Roxbury. If they’re the only one to lose, they could fall to six, but they’re still safe for a first round home game. The top of this supersection is really good, so it’s a pick-your-poison scenario as to which No. 1 team you want to potentially face in a title game.
6. Montgomery (8-0, 5.2 UPR): It appears that the Cougars have a mathematical shot at a top four appearance, which would guarantee first round home games through at least the semifinals of the sectionals. They first need a road win over Linden (6-2) Friday night, but also need losses by Ridge to Union (4-4) and Northern Highlands (6-2) against Wayne Hills (1-7). The latter isn’t likely, but that is why they play the games, right? Or we’d just declare a champion, right? So, the most likely scenario is a fifth-place finish for the Cougars, right behind Ridge. But since Linden is a strong opponent, we don’t think a loss hurts Montgomery a lot. We’d project them at six, if everything else goes the way we think it will.
8. Linden (6-2, 9.0 UPR): With a win over Montgomery, we think the Tigers keep pace and hold in eighth. With a loss, a lot can happen. They may not drop much if the teams around them lose, but if those behind them win, they could drop as low as 12th. The problem is this: at least two teams behind them are guaranteed to win. Ninth place Morris Knolls (4-3) and 10th place Randolph (5-3) play each other this weekend, as do 11th place Sayreville (6-2) and 13th place Woodbridge (6-2). So, the Tigers need to hand Montgomery their first loss of the year if they want a home playoff game in the first round.
11. Sayreville (6-2, 10.4 UPR): We believe the Bombers still have a shot at a first-round home game. The first step is a win at Woodbridge (6-2) this Friday night. That should be a fantastic game, and it’s why Marcus Borden will be there covering it for Central Jersey Sports Radio. (Follow him here for live updates, and we’ll have postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen on our site after the game.) With a win, Sayreville could end up as the eight or seven overall seed, depending on how other teams do. We think they need at least a loss by Morris Knolls to Randolph and Middletown North to get as high as seven. A Randolph loss in that combo may limit them to the eighth spot. A Bomber loss to Woodbridge, and they could be looking at as low as a 13th seed, but we don’t think that’s the most likely scenario. Bottom line is there’s still a lot to play out here.
13. Woodbridge (6-2, 12.4): The ceiling for the Barrons appears to be the eighth spot, but like Sayreville, it starts with winning their matchup on Friday night at Priscoe Field. (Have we mentioned a lot is on the line there? I think we have.) Again, they’ll need help. A Morris Knolls loss is better than a Randolph loss, and Middletown North should be watched on the scoreboard as well. A loss, and if all breaks wrong elsewhere for the Barrons – like a Rahway win over Colonia and an Orange (6-1) win over Lincoln (5-2), they could end up at 15. We don’t see the Barrons falling out of the top 16, but keep an eye on that Orange game for the next couple of teams we talk about. That will be a factor in the bottom of these standings, and it’s a 4:00 start at Caven Point Saturday afternoon.
15. Rahway (3-5, 15 UPR) and 16. Colonia (4-4, 17.4 UPR): We’re going to put these two together since they’re next to each other in the standings (as well as neighbors geographically) and are playing each other Friday night in what we consider a “play-in” type of game, which we’ll be airing live on Central Jersey Sports Radio at 6 pm, pregame 5:45 – click here to listen. A Colonia win and they still might need some help with a loss by Chatham (2-6) at Montville (5-3), which is highly likely. There could even be a scenario where the Patriots get no higher than 17th, but with Rahway 16th. And a Colonia win means they would jump the Indians based on beating them head-to-head. Rahway may be able to get in with a loss. On the other hand, a Rahway win would be more definitive, in that Colonia probably can’t get in with help, and Rahway could go as high as 13, though we think more of a 14, maybe a 15, depending how things shake out. Again, Orange-Lincoln could be a big factor here, and we’re going to get that result late in the day Saturday with it being a 4:00 kickoff in Jersey City.
There are no area teams here from the Big Central, but it looks like as far as top seeds go, if both No. 1 Mainland (8-0) and No. 2 Millville win this weekend, it looks like they will flip, as Millville has a stronger in opponent in Cherokee (6-1) while Mainland has Egg Harbor Township (1-7).