Tag: Bernards

It’s 25 straight weeks atop the rankings for Rutgers Prep, with two new teams joining Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten in Week 7

On the strength of a 3-0 week, and a win that solidified their position as the team to beat in the Skyland Conference – a 75-36 thumping as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio last Tuesday afternoon – Rutgers Prep held on to the No. 1 spot in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten for Week 7.

The Lady Argonauts (13-3) had a 3-0 week, which also included an 80-19 rout at Bridgewater-Raritan, and a 76-56 win over Montclair-Immaculate on Sunday. They’re on a seven-game winning streak heading into the final week of the regular season, with the Somerset County Tournament seeding coming up a week from tonight.

St. Thomas Aquinas (15-4) holds in second, while Gill St. Bernard’s (12-4) stays put in third.

Edison (15-2) moves up to No. 4 on the strength of a 3-0 week, while South Brunswick (13-5) moves up two spots to No. 5, despite a 1-1 week in which they beat North Brunswick, but dropped an out-of-conference game to Morristown 54-51.

READ: Edison community and beyond comes together to “Fight For Allie,” help local 11-year old girl beat brain tumor

Bernards (12-5) had a 1-2 week and dropped to sixth, after a win over Delaware Valley, but losses to Belvidere and Dayton.

In seventh is Watchung Hills, which went 3-0, sweeping a week of games from Phillsipburg, Montgomery and Hunterdon Central.

North Plainfield (13-4) makes its debut this season at No. 8, with wins in the past week over Woodbridge and South Plainfield, but a loss to former Skyland Conference foe Bound Brook. (North Plainfield joined the Greater Middlesex Conference this season.)

Hillsborough (10-7) – which fell out of the rankings in Week 4 – rejoins the Top Ten at No. 8 after a three-win week that included victories over Franklin, Hunterdon Central, and previously-No. 9 Mount St. Mary (13-6), which dropped out, along with previous No. 10 Spotswood (15-4).

Below are the full Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten Rankings:

Rutgers Prep girls keep on keepin’ on, lead Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten again

Make it 24 straight weeks at No. 1 for Rutgers Prep in the Central Jersey Sports Radio/Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten, as the Lady Argonauts remain the only team ever to hold the top spot in the rankings, now in their third year.

Rutgers Prep (10-3) went 2-0 in an abbreviated week gone by, with wins at Hunterdon Central and Hillsborough by a combined 166-71. They will take a nearly four-year and 50-game winning streak against Skyland Conference opponents into a huge clash Tuesday afternoon at home against Gill St. Bernard’s, which can be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio. It’ll determine the Skyland Conference Delaware Division winner, and could figure into who gets the top seed in the Somerset County Tournament with the seeding two weeks from today.

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St. Thomas Aquinas (12-3) held in second with wins over South Brunswick and Old Bridge, while Gill (11-3) had a 2-0 week with wins over Hillsborough and Bridgewater-Raritan, keeping them in third.

The rest of the rankings, however, saw some shifts.

Bernards (11-3), Edison (14-2) and Middlesex (12-2) all edged up one spot each to fourth, fifth and sixth, while South Brunswick (12-4) dropped from No. 4 to No. 7 after a 1-2 week that saw them beat Piscataway, but lose to No. 2 Aquinas and unranked Colonia.

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The bottom three also saw some shuffling: Watchung Hills (12-4) moved up two spots to eighth on the strength of a 3-0 week that included wins at Ridge and Hillsborough, and at home over Immaculata.

Mount St. Mary (11-5) dropped one spot to No. 9 after a 1-1 week: a win over Somerville and a loss at Warren Hills.

Spotswood (12-4) entered the rankings after a 3-1 week where they lost to East Brunswick, 56-41, but rebounded with wins at Carteret and at home over South River and Keansburg. Metuchen (12-3) – previously ranked No. 9 – dropped out with a 2-1 week that included a loss at Woodbridge. The Chargers and Bulldogs square off against each other Monday.

Below are the full Week 6 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Few teams lose, but Franklin, Old Bridge girls bow out of Bellamy & Son Paving Week 6 Top Ten

The top four teams in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls Basketball rankings remained the same this week, while Franklin and Old Bridge dropped out, and Metuchen and Watchung Hills joined the group.

From No. 1 to No. 4, neither Rutgers Prep (8-3), St. Thomas Aquinas (10-2), Gill St. Bernard’s (9-3), no South Brunswick (11-2) dropped a single game last week.

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Previously-6th Franklin dropped out after suffering an 0-3 week – albeit losses to Gill, Rutgers Prep and Rumson – and falling to 4-7 on the year. Meanwhile, Edison (12-1) suffered its first loss of the season – falling at Monroe 60-36 – and dropped one spot in the poll from fifth to sixth.

That all paved the way for Bernards (10-3) to move up to fifth on the strength of a 4-0 week.

Middlesex (9-2) and Mount St. Mary (10-4) each moved up a spot to seventh and eighth, followed by two new teams.

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Metuchen (10-2) joins the rankings at No. 9, while Watchung Hills (9-4) takes the last spot at ten.

Below are the full Week 5 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Three teams out, two new ones join Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings

It was a week of losses, some more impactful than others, in the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten. Week Four saw the top five remain the same, but there were many changes in Week Four after that.

Rutgers Prep (6-3) continues to hold the top spot; their third loss of the season came by ten to McDonogh of Maryland. St. Thomas Aquinas (8-2) had a 3-0 week, while Gill St. Bernard’s (6-3) remained in third, despite a two loss-week; one came to top-ranked Rutgers Prep, which has not lost a Skyland Conference regular season game since a December 2018 loss to Franklin. The other came to statewide No. 1 St. John Vianney.

South Brunswick (8-2) holds at No. 4, while Edison (10-0) remains No 5.

Franklin (4-4) moves up from seventh to sixth despite a 2-1 week. Their two wins came in-league over Hunterdon Central and previously-6th-ranked Hillsborough.

Bernards (6-3) – which was tied for tenth with Middlesex last week – moves up to No. 7, while the Blue Jays (7-1) rose to No. 8. Mount St. Mary joins the rankings at 7-4 and in the nine-spot, while Old Bridge (6-3) debuts in tenth.

Dropping out were No. 6 Hillsborough, No. 8 Monroe, and ninth-ranked Colonia. The Raiders (4-4) went 0-3 last week against Rutgers Prep, Franklin and Watchung Hills. Colonia was 2-1 with a division loss to Old Bridge. Monroe dropped a pair of games to St. Thomas Aquinas and Colonia.

Below are the full Week 4 Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Girls’ Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten takes out-of-area losses, but top remains mostly unchanged

Rutgers Prep lost once, St. Thomas Aquinas lost twice, and South Brunswick lost, too. But with all those defeats coming out-of-area or out-of-state, they failed to drop in the Week Four Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten.

While Colonia dropped, it was their fourth loss of the season, and the Patriots’ are the only team below .500 in the rankings, though three of those losses – including their most recent – are out-of-area.

Gill St. Bernards (5-1) was the only team that went unbeaten over the Christmas break, and the Knights check in third, behind Prep (4-2) and Aquinas (5-2), with the Vikings (6-2) behind them.

The Vikings are followed by Edison (7-0) in fifth, then Hillsborough (4-1), Franklin (2-3) and Monroe (4-1) with Colonia (2-3) in ninth. There was a tie for tenth, with Bernards (5-2) holding court, and Middlesex (5-0) debuting at No. 10.

Below are the full Week Three Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Rankings:

Little new in Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball rankings

No. 9 Edison and No. 8 Monroe flip-flopped this week, but other than that, there were no changes to the Bellamy & Son Paving Girls’ Basketball Top Ten for Week Two.

The top five remained the same, led by Rutgers Prep (2-1), followed by St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0), Gill St. Bernard’s (2-1), South Brunswick (4-1) and Colonia (2-3). The Patriots – with two out-of-area-losses – lost at South Brunswick 43-40 last Thursday night, in a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

READ MORE: Price, defense help No. 4 South Brunswick girls stifle No. 5 Colonia at home

Hillsborough (2-1) held in sixth, while Franklin (2-1) kept pace in seventh, while Edison (5-0) moved up a spot to No. 8 and Monroe (2-1) dropped one to ninth.

Bernards (4-1) held in tenth.

Below are the full Week 2 Girls’ Basketball Bellamy & Son Paving Rankings:

Despite losses, top teams remain at the top in Week One Bellamy & Son Paving girls’ basketball rankings

The No. 1 team in the Bellamy & Son Paving girls’ basketball top ten lost this weekend. So did the No. 3 team, and the No. 5 team.

But with all coming to out-of-area opponents, neither slipped in the Week One rankings.

Rutgers Prep (1-1) remains No. 1, followed by 2-0 St. Thomas Aquinas, with Gill St. Bernard’s (1-1) holding in the third spot.

After No. 4 South Brunswick (2-0), Colonia also held in the fifth spot at 1-1.

Dropping out were the ninth and tenth teams – North Brunswick (0-2) and Mount St. Mary (1-2), with Edison and Bernards – both 2-0 – taking their place.

Below are the full Bellamy & Son Paving Week One rankings:

Central Jersey Sports Radio announces “Specialty Awards” for 2022

So many great players, so few awards. When you’ve got multiple deserving players for a single award, it’s time to get creative to honor those who truly deserve to be honored.

So without any further ado, here are Central Jersey Sports Radio’s postseason Specialty Awards for 2022!

Best Rushing QB” Award: Jaeden Jones, Colonia

The top two rushers in the Big Central Conference this season were quarterbacks. Matt Sims of Brearley was No. 2, and topping the list was Colonia junior Jaeden Jones, who succeeded a pretty good runner himself: last year’s “Mr. Dynamic” Award to the most explosive player in the league by far, fellow quarterback Josh Oluremi.

Colonia’s Jaeden Jones (Source: @Jaeden_Jones2 on Twitter)

In fact, Oluremi and Jones share a unique piece of history. So far as we could tell, at least back to the mid-90s – since stats from those years aren’t as readily available as they are now – Oluremi was the first quarterback since then to lead Middlesex County in rushing. (He was second in the Big Central Conference last year to state rushing leader Colin Murray of Cranford, in Union County.)

Now, Jones has made it two years in a row for a QB to lead Middlesex County in rushing, both from the same school. And as for making his own piece of history, he’s also the first quarterback to lead the BCC in rushing in its short three-year history. (Someone remember it when we go digging for that fact in another 20 years, please?

Like Oluremi, Jones’ rushing to passing totals were about a 3:2 ratio in favor of the ground game. Jones threw 86 of 150 for 1,059 yards, but amassed 248 carries of his own on the ground for 1,661 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Jones led Colonia to an 8-2 record this year, and the Liberty Gold Division title. And the best part is, he’ll be back next year.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Jaeden Jones of Colonia:

“Best Backfield Duo”: Kente Edwards and Alex Uryniak, North Hunterdon

While head coach Kevin Kley has called runningback Kente Edwards “the most feared runner” in the Big Central, he’s been blessed enough to have a “backup” – yes, we put that in quotes – who he says “could be the starter on any team in the league.”

And he’s not fibbing.

Edwards got banged up against Colonia in Week Five and missed the better part of the next four games, and if you closed your eyes and ears and just looked at the stat line, you wouldn’t know it was Alex Uryniak taking the bulk of the carries.

North Hunterdon’s Kente Edwards (#3, left) and Alex Uryniak (#22, second from left) at midfield for the coin toss before the North 2, Group 4 title game against Randolph in Annandale on November 12, 2022. (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Edwards had been averaging 160 yards a game, and even had 161 against Colonia. But in the first two playoff games, Uryniak ran for 433 yards and five touchdowns, while QB Luke Martini started throwing like a beast (more on him later) in the games Uryniak didn’t top 100. Uryniak ended up with 1,012 yards on the season and 13 scores, giving the Lions two thousand-yard rushers, as Edwards finished with 1,442 and 15 touchdowns.

Go ahead, pick your poison.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with the two-headed monster runningback combo of Kente Edwards and Luke Martini:

“Rising Star” Award: Jett Genovese, Phillipsburg

On a team with so many standouts, and a ton of balance among key players, Jett Genovese was able to run it all with precision for Phillipsburg.

Four runningbacks carried for over 300 yards, with none more than Xavier Moore’s 851. And through the air, Genovese found four different targets for more than 150 yards, with none more than Michael Scerbo Jr.,’s 476. That connection should be hooking up a lot again next year, as both players are sophomores.

But it was Genovese who was able to find his way through it for the Stateliners,

Phillipsburg quarterback Jett Genovese (Photo courtesy @HanisakPhoto)

And though Phillipsburg was knocked off by West Orange in the North 2, Group 5 final, Genovese came up big when it really counted – against Easton. He threw for 86 yards and three touchdown passes, while distributing the ball to five different runningbacks, led by Moore’s 114 yards, and Caleb Rivera’s two rushing touchdowns.

We have a feeling we’ll be talking about Jett a lot over the next couple of years.

Click below to Genovese talk about his first year as a starting QB for P’burg with Justin Sontupe:

Best Returning QB-WR Tandem: Michael Schmelzer, Jr. and Matt D’Avino, Montgomery

Montgomery had a very good season in 2022, starting 5-0 for the first time in school history.

And though the finished 7-3, with a first-round playoff loss to Northern Highlands – the North 1, Group 4 Champions and Group 4 finalist – they are the only team that can make this claim: they will have the top returning quarterback and the top returning receiver in the Big Central Conference when they come back to the field in 2023.

Montgomery QB Michael Schmelzer, Jr. (left) and WR Matt D’Avino are interviewed after a 27-20 home win over Somerville on September 16, 2022 heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio (Photos: Mike Pavlichko)

Quarterback Michael Schmelzer, Jr., threw for 1,658 yards and 21 touchdowns, good for fourth in the conference, but Luke Martini of North Hunterdon, Matt Yascko of Edison and Frankie Garbolino of North Brunswick are all graduating.

Wide receiver Matt D’Avino was second in the conference with 1,053 yards and 14 touchdowns, just one yard behind – and one TD ahead of – Derek Vaddis of North Hunterdon, who’s also graduating.

These two have been playing catch for many years now, and will get one more year together with the Cougars. We’re looking forward to watching.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Michael Schmelzer, Jr. and Matt D’Avino of Montgomery:

“Nobody Scores” Award: Bernards Defense (represented by Enzo Britez)

They may not have been St. Thomas Aquinas from a year ago, which tied a playoff-era Middlesex County record with seven shutouts, but they came pretty damn close.

In an 8-2 season with just one regular season loss, the Bernards Mountaineers played locked down D for the majority of 2022, shutting out six opponents en route to a clean 4-0 division sweep to the Big Central’s Patriot Gold title.

Bernards senior Enzo Britez (Source: @enzobritez on Twitter)

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Bernards defensive back Enzo Britez:

“Walk Off Defender” Award: Zamir Hawk, Hillside

Walkoff is a term most commonly used in baseball, but Barris Grant uses it to talk about Zamir Hawk, his senior nosetackle. Specifically, his efforts in Hillside’s two playoff wins this season, that got them to the North 1 Group 3 title game.

Hawk, a senior, had 67 tackles this year, and 15 for a loss, along with four sacks and a pick-six.

But he came up the biggest on the biggest of stages.

In the playoff opener against Parsippany Hills, the Comets scored 19 unanswered points to win and advance. But even after taking the lead in the fourth quarter, it wasn’t for good until Hawk’s pass breakup on a last-ditch effort by Par Hills effectively gave Hillside the win.

Zamir Hawk of Hillside (Source: @Hawk_973 on Twitter)

And if that wasn’t big enough, following an even bigger comeback by the Comets against River Dell, his interception sealed yet another win, propelling Hillside into the sectional semifinals.

Don’t challenge this kid!

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Hillside senior Zamir Hawk:

“Playoff Beast”: Luke Martini, North Hunterdon

North 2, Group 4 Champion North Hunterdon had all kinds of players put up all kinds of great numbers this year.

But when push came to shove, and the season was in crunch time, senior quarterback Luke Martini stepped it up a notch.

It started with the Milk Can Game against Voorhees, their big rival, when – with top runningback Kente Edwards nursing a lower body injury – Martini threw for 166 yards and three touchdowns against the Vikings in a 35-7 win.

But it didn’t stop there. He continued his hot streak into the playoffs, all the way to the sectional finals. First came 253 yards and four touchdowns against Middletown North in the opening round. Then 231 yards and two TDs in the second round against Morris Knolls. And finally, in the sectional title game, with everything on the line, in a wild ballgame that saw a combined 84 points, he threw for 411 yards and five scores against Randolph.

North Hunterdon QB Luke Martini (Photo: Mike Pavlichko)

Summing up, out of his 2,306 passing yards – best in the Big Central by about 400 yards – and 22 touchdowns on the season, that four-game stretch generated 1,061 yards and a whopping 14 touchdowns.

That’s what we call a playoff beast.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk to Luke Martini about his incredible playoff run:

“Injury-Be-Damned” Award”: Adam Bowles, South Plainfield

It’s one thing to play great defense on a team that went from 2-8 to an undefeated regular season like Adam Bowles did in South Plainfield, but it’s another to do it with your arm in a cast.

Yet that’s exactly what he did for the latter half of the 2022 season.

The senior linebacker tallied 129 tackles – 77 solo – while also notching 7 1/2 tackles for loss, a sack, three quarterback hurries, and three interceptions. And he played the last five games of the season in a cast!

South Plainfield linebacker Adam Bowles (Source: @datboiadamd1 on Twitter)

Click below to hear Bowles talk with Justin Sontupe about toughing it out this season for the Tigers:

“Full 48”: Robert Orzol, Old Bridge

One of the oldest cliches in sport is they saying: “We’ve got to play the whole ___ minutes.”

But in no circumstance was it ever more true that for Old Bridge defensive lineman Robert Orzol.

We documented this game with Old Bridge head coach Matt Donaghue here, but the gist is this: after a missed field goal that would have given the Knights the lead in a Week Two game at South Brunswick, the Vikings needed to gain a first down to take a couple of knees and run out the clock. But a fumble on the second snap caught the eye of Orzol, who dove on it, giving the ball back to Old Bridge. They won the game on a touchdown.

Old Bridge DL and playoff-clinching here Robert Orzol (Source: @OrzolRobert on Twitter)

That’s an amazing enough story on its own. Fast forward to Cutoff Weekend, and Old Bridge finished 17th in the South 5 standings, oh-so-close to a playoff spot. But not so fast.

The NJSIAA playoff seeding rules conduct a top-down head-to-head tiebreaker throughout the entire bracket, meaning if the team in third, for example, beat the team in second, they flip-flop. And down the list they go until they get to number 17.

That was Old Bridge. South Brunswick was 16th. But not for long.

Yes, Old Bridge won the head-to-head. Orzol was the hero again, weeks later, as the Knights made the playoffs, all thanks to Orzol’s fumble recovery.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Robert Orzol – whose never-give-up attitude almost singlehandedly got Old Bridge into the playoffs:

“MVP” Awards: Matt Sims of Brearley and Shawn Purcell of Manville

For the first time, Central Jersey Sports Radio is giving out an “MVP” award, to the players who are, well, most valuable to their team.

While there were so many great players this season, and many with an abundance of talent, two players stood out as perhaps the most critical to their success. And it might not surprise you to see that they’re both from small Group 1 schools: Brearley and Manville

Brearly QB Matt Sims with head coach Scott Miller (left). (Source: @mattsimss6 on Twitter)

Brearley’s Matt Sims finished just behind Jaeden Jones in the Big Central in rushing, with 1,523 yards and 26 touchdowns, the sixth highest total in the state of New Jersey. (That also makes it two quarterbacks leading the Big Central on the ground this season.) He also threw for 1,063 yards and ten touchdowns, an astounding number when you consider he not only didn’t complete anywhere near a hundred passes, but he didn’t even attempt 100 passes, going 67-of-99.

But the most astounding number was this: Sims accounted for 75% of his team’s yards from scrimmage this year.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Brearley senior QB Matt Sims:

Meanwhile, Manville’s Shawn Purcell really could have received this award for a two-year body of work.

Last year, he carried 117 times for 1,176 yards and 15 touchdowns, while this year accounting for 1,238 yards on the ground on just 106 carries, hitting paydirt 22 times. He also excelled on kick returns, and has five career interceptions at cornerback. (He’d probably have more if anyone dared throw at him.)

Manville’s Shawn Purcell (Source: Twitter)

Manville should have made unprecedented back-to-back playoff appearances, amazingly missing out last year at 6-2 at the cutoff, but that’s neither here nor there. In the end, Manville was 14-5 the last two seasons with Purcell as the focal point of the offense. And that’s the best two-year record for the program since a 14-4 run in 1968 – when the Mustangs went 9-0) and 1969 (when they went 5-4). Arguably, it’s even better with better win totals in both seasons.

These seasons don’t come along every year in a small town like Manville, but Purcell was a big reason why they did.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Manville senior RB/CB/KR Shawn Purcell:

Another week of honors go to Kelley, Laverty, and Hollomon: Coach Matt Bastardi’s “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 8

As public schools head into the playoffs, we have another week of honors from Coach Matt Bastardi of Elite QB and his “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 7. This week’s quarterback award winners are Dylan Kelley of Watchung Hills, Connor Laverty of Bernards, and Mike Hollomon of Pinrgy.

A former high school and college quarterback who has either played the position or coached it for over 40 years, Elite QB trains players at all position levels, with an emphasis on QBs.

Click below to listen to hear Matt Bastardi of Elite QB highlight his “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 8:

Honors go to Sims, Kelley, Laverty, Seamon, among those honored as Coach Matt Bastardi’s “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 7

Heading into the final week of the regular season, we have more honors from Coach Matt Bastardi of Elite QB and his “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 7. This week’s quarterback award winners are Matt Sims of Brearley, Dylan Kelley of Watchung Hills, Connor Laverty of Bernards, and Ryan Seamon of the Hillsborough JV.

Metuchen runningback Evan Toth also is honored as a skill position player.

A former high school and college quarterback who has either played the position or coached it for over 40 years, Elite QB trains players at all position levels, with an emphasis on QBs.

Click below to listen to hear Matt Bastardi of Elite QB highlight his “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 7: