The playoffs start next week for all the public schools who make it in New Jersey, but they start this week for Colonia and Rahway.
Not in the technical sense of the term, but it appears that the winner of Friday night’s game in Colonia will make the postseason in North Group 4 – The Indians are 15th and Patriots 16th coming into the weekend – while the team on the short side of the scoreboard may need to watch the scoreboard and rub a rabbit’s foot.
But that’s how it goes on Cutoff Weekend, and that’s how it will be Friday night when Rahway (3-5) visits Colonia (4-4) for an early 6 pm kickoff on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action. Pregame is at 5:45; click here to listen.
The Patriots are led by all-world quarterback Jaeden Jones, who is having another fantastic year after getting the keys to the car and succeeding Josh Oluremi last year. Both are running quarterbacks, Jones to the tune of 1,074 yards and 17 touchdowns this season, following a 1,661 yard performance on the ground last year as the team’s signal caller. He has amassed 2,034 total yards this year when factoring everything else in, including 927 passing yards and seven touchdowns.
They key for Colonia will be the defense. In their four wins, they’re allowing just over 16 points per game. In their four losses: 44 per game, including 64 last week in a 29-point loss at home to Summit, which should be getting a top-seed in one of the North Group 3 sections when the playoffs are seeded Sunday.
Rahway, meanwhile, has had to rely on contributions from some of its younger players, like sophomore running back Andrew Avent, who’s amassed 661 yards and ten touchdowns this season. But head coach Brian Russo also made a QB change mid-season, swapping in freshman Jaquan Robinson for the last three games, all losses but to very good teams in Cranford, St. Thomas Aquinas and Carteret, a combined 19-4.
Robinson sure has the lineage. His cousin, Amir Robinson, started at the position the last two seasons, and his older brother Ja’Kir led Rahway to a 10-2 record and a state sectional finals appearance in 2018.
Click below for preview interviews with both head coaches: