Tag: Bernards

Group 2 playoff analysis: Bernards benefits from big win at Del Val, while Terriers drop

With high school football season at its midway point, it’s time to start taking a look at the playoff picture, with Cutoff Weekend just four weeks away. Here’s a look at Group 2 teams in the Big Central Conference, and where they stand:

NORTH (Click here for official standings)

The only Big Central team here is Bernards, whose game Friday night at Delaware Valley was billed as a boon for whoever won. It was the Mountaineers, 17-14, and they jumped from eighth place to third with the victory over the Terriers; it was a solid Strength Index and power points game. OSI went from 49.01 to 53.52, while power point average climbed from 10.75 to 12.80. That puts them behind leader Westwood (4-0, 1.6 UPR) and Caldwell, owner of the state’s longest winning streak, now at 19, dating back to their last three games of 2020.

Caldwell may not lose again this year, and the SI of their last four opponents are all 67 or higher. Bernards, on the other hand, has winless North Plainfield and Bound Brook, plus Governor Livingston and New Providence. The Highlanders have won three straight since starting 0-2. If they can continue that run, it’ll help the Mountaineers.

We don’t think they’re a solid top four team yet – which would mean they’d be a 2-seed in either section and guaranteed home field at least through the sectional semifinals – but if they run the table, they at least have a shot at it. It depends who can come up from behind on them. Bernards has a 3.6 UPR, but at 3.8, Ramsey (4-0) is right behind them. Rutherford, though, in fifth, is a healthy 2.8 UPR points behind Bernards.

SOUTH (Click here for official standings)

Little surprise here that Rumson-Fair Haven is in familiar territory, atop the supersection. It could be surprising when you look at their 2-2 record, until you realize one of those losses is to a multiplier, in Donovan Catholic. And since they also play Red Bank Catholic – another multiplier – on cutoff weekend, well, you can just sew it up right now for the Bulldogs. (Is that fair? Definitely not, but that’s a rant for another time.)

The highest-ranked team here is Delaware Valley, which dropped from third to tenth after Friday night’s home loss to Bernards, its first of the season, leaving them 3-1 on the year. And they’ve still got Hillside to go, with the Comets’ powerful run game. Likely bet that the Terriers will make the playoffs, barring a collapse, but they may be hard-pressed to get a first-round playoff game out of it – unless they can knock off Hillside, Saturday afternoon road game the week before Cutoff Weekend, October 15th.

Johnson is right behind Del Val, at 4-0, having a nice year so far, with a UPR of 11, one full point behind the Terriers, who have a 10 UPR. They’re at New Providence this Friday night, with the Pioneers in 14th with a UPR of 15. That’s a big game for either team, and a loss could relegate whoever’s on the short end of the stick to bubble status, though likely on the inside – and it’s more harmful to New Providence than the Crusaders.

Dayton is in a 16th place tie for the final playoff spot with Haddon Heights. The Bulldogs are 2-2, while the Garnets are 3-1, both with 16.6 UPRs. Dayton will need to keep winning, and have a middle of the road schedule the rest of the way.

They play their next three on the road, and the games get progressively tougher – at Highland Park this Friday night, at Spotswood the following Saturday, and at South Hunterdon on Friday, the 14th – before coming home to face Metuchen the Friday night of Cutoff Weekend. They might have to win out.

The next question is: What about Spotswood? The Chargers are 4-1, their best start since 2016. Can they pick up enough power points and OSI value to get in, even if they go 4-0? The jury is still out and it’s probably too early to tell. JP Stevens is their final opponent – yes, Group 5 JP Stevens – and that will at least soften the blow from the Hawks not having won a game yet this season. (They’ve lost 27 straight, in fact, the second longest streak in New Jersey at the moment.)

Will it be enough? Stay tuned.

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South River – despite a 2-2 mark – sits in 24th place, and would be hard-pressed to make a dent. Then again, their last three games are at Delaware Valley and Governor Livingston, then home to Johnson. Should they win at least two of those, maybe – maybe – they have a shot. Check back in a couple of weeks.

INSTANT REPLAY: Bernards 17, Delaware Valley 14

Bernards rallied from 7-0 and 14-10 deficits to beat Delaware Valley on the road, 17-14, to take the Mountain Valley rivalry trophy, and get clinch the Patriot Gold Division title.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe called all the action on Friday, September 23rd from Tap Webb Memorial Field in Alexandria Township.

Click below to listen:

1st Half

2nd Half

Bernards rallies twice to hand Del Val first defeat, take back Mountain Valley trophy, with 17-14 win

It was a tale of two halves for Bernards at Tapp Webb Memorial Field out in Hunterdon County Friday night, in a game heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The offense just couldn’t put points on the board in the first 24 minutes, managing just a 31-yard field goal by Jonas Gonzalez that left Bernards down 7-3 going into the locker room after Delaware Valley had opened the game with an eleven-play scoring drive to take an early lead.

Typical was a 14-play drive by the Mountaineers that ended the first half without a score.

But with the first possession of the second half, Bernards got a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Connor Laverty to Enzo Britez to take a 10-7 lead, their first TD of the game. The Terriers defense had been settling in to that point, but all of a sudden in looked like Bernards might hold.

Patrick Garlinghouse came out of a pile – almost going down to a knee – and sprinted the remaining 45 yards of a 50-yard touchdown run to give the Terriers a 14-10 advantage with 6:10 to play, but the awakened Mountaineer offense wasn’t done yet.

They put together a seven-play, 71-yard drive, in just 2:40, scoring with 3:24 to go on a two-yard leap into the end zone by Laverty, and after getting the ball back on a four-and-out turnover on downs, picked up a critical first down on fourth down on their next possession to allow Laverty to take a couple of knees to run out the clock.

The defeat was the first of the year for Del Val, which fell to 3-1, while Bernards improved to 4-1, all but giving them the Patriot Gold Division title. They are 3-0 in the division with one game left against winless Bound Brook (0-4), which scored its first points of the year Friday night in a 41-6 loss at Voorhees. The Crusaders have been outscored 110-6 in their first four games.

Click below for postgame reaction with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Bernards junior quarterback Connor Laverty
Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau

Sims, Laverty lead Coach Matt Bastardi’s “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 3

Brearley quarterback Matt Sims and Bernards’ signal caller Connor Laverty are among the Elite QB “Elite Performers of the Week” for Week 3, as chosen by Matt Bastardi. The Dunellen football team also was recognized.

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 3:

Bernards clicking ahead of “Mountain Valley” rivalry game at Delaware Valley

Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau is well aware of what lies ahead Friday night as his Mountaineers visit division rival Delaware Valley: the 30-mile trip, an elite home field advantage, and an explosive Terriers’ offense. But make no mistake, Bernards is embracing the challenge.

“We kind of like that,” Simoneau said. “It’s fun to be the bad guy sometimes.”

The Mountaineers (3-1, 2-0 Big Central Patriot Gold) are clicking ahead of Friday’s Big Central Game of the Week against Del Val (3-0, 1-0 Big Central Patriot Gold). In back-to-back weeks, Bernards captured 35-0 road wins over South River and Voorhees.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action, with pregame at 6:45 and kickoff at 7:00. Click here to listen.

Junior quarterback Connor Laverty tossed three touchdown passes at South River, and then bested it with four at Voorhees. The defense hasn’t allowed a score since the fourth quarter against Hillside — three weeks ago.

But undefeated Delaware Valley will provide a stiff challenge. Bernards has beaten Del Val just four times in 15 tries, and all four wins came between 2018 and 2020, the latter of which is their only “W” in Alexandria. Last season, Bernards turned the ball over six times in a two-score loss off Senator Stout Road.

For the Mountaineers, it’s going to take a complete performance. Laverty is off to an outstanding start to the season under center, and he has numerous weapons at his disposal. Running back Nick Kouflie (5 touchdowns) and wide receiver Enzo Britez (3 touchdowns) are threats to score any time they touch the ball.

On defense, linebackers Charlie Gonnella and Kai Dallimore lead a unit that has allowed more than 6 points just once this season.

Click below to hear Justin Sontupe talk with Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau:

Delaware Valley a “confident bunch” with Bill, Garlinghouse powering the offense

For the last 17 years, over two coaches – first Mike Columbo, now Mike Haughey – one things has been a constant for Delaware Valley football: winning.

They’ve been at least .500 every season in that stretch.

That’s not easy for a public school. It’s the best streak in the Big Central. And when you think of the programs in that league that have been successful for a long time – Phillipsburg and Piscataway immediately come to mind – it’s even more astounding.

The Terriers will put their 3-0 start on the line Friday night when they entertain Bernards (3-1) in the Big Central Game of the Week on Central Jersey Sports Radio. The game not only could determine the Patriot Gold Division title in the Big Central, but will have major playoff implications when it comes to power points and OSI.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe will call all the action. Click here to listen.

Del Val is led on offense by Jack Bill, who threw for 1,682 yards and 14 TDs last year, while rushing for 490 and ten scores. But this year, its a bit more even. Through three games, he’s thrown for 255 and 2 TDs, running for 246 and five scores, while fellow senior Patrick Garlinghouse has rushed for 261 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Defensively, Haughey likes his secondary, which has already notched five interceptions through three games.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Delaware Valley head coach Mike Haughey:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 3: Did we mention multipliers need to go?

On this week’s trip through “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” Mike Pavlichko throws out laurels for Piscataway and Dunellen, points out one of the playoff formula’s quirks, and looks ahead to two huge matchups Friday night, with Central Jersey Sports Radio covering both.

Click below to listen to the Week Three edition of “The Big Central in Two Minutes”:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 0: First Wins, Big Games Ahead

Central Jersey Sports Radio is slimming down!

Our newest feature this year is “The Big Central in Two Minutes” – quick hits and thoughts by Mike Pavlichko – which makes its debut today and will drop every Tuesday morning during the 2022 football season.

In just two minutes, Mike will hit on some of the key points and notes of the week gone by, and the week ahead.

Click below to listen to the Week Zero edition of “The Big Central in Two Minutes”:

VIDEO: Second-half highlights from Bernards’ 21-6 win against Overbrook

In its first season-opening win since 2018 – which came against Metuchen – Bernards defeated Overbrook 21-6 on Friday, August 26, 2022.

The Mountaineers got touchdowns from Tyler Hanratty, Connor Laverty and Jake Caldwell.

Mike Pavlichko has video highlights from the second half, including an interception by Daniel Ferguson – one of four by four different Mountaineer players Friday night – a five-yard score by Jake Caldwell, and the end of a goal line stand by Bernards late in the game.

Bernards had two such efforts in the game, including one from the five-yard line, and the late stand on first-and-goal from the one.

Click here to watch second-half highlights of Bernards’ win against Overbrook on Central Jersey Sports Radio’s YouTube channel.

Bernards finally takes down a South Jersey team, stifles Overbrook 21-6

It’s not often Bernards plays a team from South Jersey, but it’s been a trend in recent years with the new playoff format since 2018.

In 2019, they lost in the opening round 50-10 at Cedar Creek. Last year, the Mountaineers dropped their opener in the Battle of the Beach in Ocean City to Penns Grove 40-20, then got knocked out at home in the second round of the the playoffs, 24-14, by Haddonfield.

So head coach Jon Simoneau challenged his team by bringing in Overbrook, a team that went 8-2 last year and brought back a junior quarterback in DeAngello Conquest who threw for over 1,400 yards last season as a tenth-grader.

Challenge accepted. Mission accomplished.

Bernards topped Overbrook 21-6 with stifling defense – including a couple of interceptions by Daniel Ferguson, and another each from Nicholas Kouflie and Max Austin – and got enough offense for the win. Three different players scored, including a two-yard keeper by Connor Laverty and a three-yard score by Terrance Hanratty – both in the first quarter to stake the Mountaineers to a 14-0 lead – and a five-yard run by Jake Caldwell to give Bernards breathing room at 21-6 after the Rams got it to within eight points.

Click below for postgame reaction from Bernards’ 21-6 season-opening defeat of Overbrook:

Juniors Connor Laverty and Jake Caldwell
Bernards head coach Jon Simoneau