Cutoff Weekend Playoff Analysis: Group 1

Dayton and Dunellen players stand during the National Anthem before their game at Columbia Park in Dunellen on September 1, 2023. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

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 1, 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:


19. Brearley (3-4, 19.4 UPR): The Bears aren’t out of it yet, but they will have to beat Dunellen (4-3) at Columbia Park in Middlesex County Thursday night to even have a shot at it. Then, they’re going to need some help. But we think they’ll get it. The reason? Shabazz (4-3) hosts Glen Ridge (5-3) and both are behind the Bears. Obviously they both can’t win. Either result seems to put Brearley at 15, and they could even get as high as 14. We think it’s a win-and-they’re-in scenario for head coach Allen Phillips and company in his first year succeeding long-time veteran skipper – and current BCC President – Scott Miller.

OUT: In 19th place is Roselle Park (3-4), but a victory over 1-win Newark Collegiate won’t give them enough juice to finish in the top 16.


4. South Hunterdon (7-1, 5.2 UPR): This supersection is a mess, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just all over the map. It’s led by Schalick (8-0, but only a 3.8 UPR, the lowest among any of the overall No. 1s), Glassboro (4-3, 4 UPR0, Woodstown (5-2, 4.2 UPR), then the Eagles. But they don’t play an NJSIAA team this weekend, so they’re pretty much keeping one eye on the scoreboard this weekend while playing at rival New Hope-Solebury Prep (PA) Friday night. A Shore (5-2) loss to at Group 3 Holmdel (7-0) isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and that could help knock South Hunterdon up to No. 3, as could a Middlesex loss to New Providence. It’s a tight top of the supersection, with just 7 UPR points separating the top ten teams, so this is very fluid.

7. Middlesex (6-1, 6.8 UPR): Things will be a little less fluid for the Blue Jays since they don’t play an out-of-state opponent. We think a win over New Providence could get them as high as third, depending what the very tight grouping around them does. But, yes, they would even jump South Hunterdon in that scenario. With a loss, we think the worst they can do is finish in eighth. Reality is probably in the middle somewhere, in the range of a 4-6 overall finish.

17. Dunellen (4-3, 18.4 UPR): It appears that if the Destroyers beat Brearley Thursday night (follow Marcus Borden for updates here) they still might need some help getting into the playoffs at 5-3. A win and they would stay in 17th place overall. A loss might keep them there, too. The difference would be that they will need some help. Since the many teams around them are scattered (i.e., different teams to catch in power point average than in OSI) there are simply too many possibilities at this date. Some things to look at though: Manville is right behind at No. 18, and they should beat one-win Bound Brook Friday night, but that may not move the needle. Then three of the next four teams behind them are winless. Only Pitman (currently 24th) has enough wins to get in the playoffs, and is close enough to make an impact. Dunellen needs a win, then they’ll be training their eyes on the scoreboard.

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