Tag: Brearley

Group 1 Week 9 Breakdown: Brearley stands alone in the North, and is Manville finally in?

With only four Group 1 teams overall in playoff contention from the Big Central, we’re combining our unofficial projections for North and South 1 into one story. Take a look below:


Brearley: The only team from the Big Central in this supersection, the Bears already have played their Week Nine game, dispatching of Dayton in Kneilworth 40-6 to improve to 7-2. The win didn’t move the needle, though, so Brearley gains a spot to 11th place with an 11.2 UPR, and their finish is at the mercy of the teams below them. A win by Weequahic could drop them to 12th, since they would gain in power points, even though they’re behind Brearly significantly in that department; that’s the system! We think they’re around a 12 or 13 even if everyone behind them wins.


South Hunterdon: The Eagles (6-1) sit in 11th place at the moment, with a 12.2 UPR. Believe it or not, a win over Morrisville (PA) drops them to 12th, one place behind Middlesex, all on its own. So, South Hunterdon isn’t in any danger of getting a first-round home game. A loss – unlikely as it may be – could move them squarely out of the playoff picture entirely. If tragedy struck, they could get back in with a Glassboro loss to Woodstown, and/or maybe some other help.

MORE CUTOFF WEEKEND COVERAGE: A team-by-team breakdown of every Big Central team’s postseason standing and chances heading into Week 9

Middlesex: The Blue Jays sit in 12th, and we’ve already documented their move up even if South Hunterdon beats Morrisville. A win over Bernards could vault Middlesex into the top eight, and give them a first-round home game, if they get a little help from behind, In particular, an Asbury Park (4-3) loss at Manasquan (5-2), not out of the realm of possibility. A loss to Bernards keeps the Blue Jays in the bottom eight, starting the playoffs on the road.

Manville: Ah, the cause celebre for a couple of weeks, the Mustangs (6-1) sit in 16th place, currently “in,” but will they stay there? Let’s look at the two scenarios. Should Manville beat 2-6 Metuchen at home Friday night, they pull up into 14th just on that. Maple Shade and Glassboro could both pass them with wins and knock them out. If Manville loses, we think they’re out. So it’s “lose and your out” and “win and wait” for the Mustangs.

Brearley drops one place in North 1 after forfeit win against Dunellen

Brearley’s next-to-last game of the regular season wound up going by the wayside Thursday night after a COVID-related forfeir by Dunellen. Even with the win, which won’t be factored into the official UPR standings until next week, Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Week 8 calculations after Friday night’s games shows the Bears down a spot from 11th to 12th, a product somewhat of Dunellen being a weak opponent.

However, they still could move depending on the outcome of games today, as 11th place Kittatinny and 13th place Weequahic still have games to be played Saturday. Either way, Brearley is in the playoffs, and locked in as a bottom eight seed, meaning they’ll start the postseason on the road in two weeks.

Week 8 Analysis: Brearley a good bet for a top 8 finish in North 1; can Belvidere make it?

Brearley’s win over Bound Brook last Friday night made the Bears one of the biggest gainers of the week in the UPR standings, climbing out of the near-cellar with a 3-2 to record and in 15th place all the way up to 8th, now with a mark of 4-2.

They didn’t do it with smoke and mirrors, it was just a huge boost to their power point average, which went from an even 8.00 to a 10.33; but even that only got them over two teams. The win against the Crusaders helped them get all the way to 11th from 17th in OSI, even though they went up by fewer than two OSI points.

This section can be a volatile one; from six or seven down, everyone is tightly packed. Expect more fluctuation this week.

Add to that, a COVID-related cancellation by Dunellen will give Brearley a forfeit win this week. The Destroyers – a low power point (10) and Strength Index (23.45) team – don’t help them, but next week, a win over currently 2-4 Dayton might. The Bears might need some help this week and next; we’ll know more when we see the results of this week’s games, and when the SI values are locked heading into Week 9.

As for Belvidere, the County Seaters are 3-2 and tied with Secaucus and Shabazz for 17th place. They are one of four teams across the state with two or fewer losses to not be in the playoff picture; Manville is another. The trio is two full UPR points out of a playoff spot, with UPRs of 18.2, while Butler sits in 16th with a 16.2 UPR. Hoboken is just above at 16.2.

But here’s how quickly things can turn:

Belvidere ranks 14th in power points with an 8.40 average. But the next team up is Kittatinny at 8.43, then Cresskill at 8.50, and Weequahic and Wood-Ridge tied at 8.67, and Wallington at 8.83. That just 0.43 points separating six teams. A jump of a half-point could surge Belvidere right into the thick of things. And they only need two of those other five to falter, which isn’t our of the realm of possibility; Secaucus is just 1-4, Butler is 3-4, Hoboken is 3-2, Wood-Ridge is 3-4.

Maybe things don’t look so dire for the County Seaters after all? They host 2-5 North Warren tomorrow night, then play at 1-4 Roselle Park on Cutoff Weekend. Certainly a pair of winnable games. If they can sweep, will the rest play in their favor? Stay tuned.

Brearley continues playoff push with huge road win, 34-20 over Bound Brook

Don’t give Brearley any bulletin board material. They don’t care. Never have, never will.

That seems to be the attitude of the 2021 version of the Bears, who snapped a two-game losing streak at the perfect time, beating Bound Brook on the road Friday night 34-20.

The win didn’t clinch Brearley a playoff berth, but it was their most highly-rated opponent remaining in their final three weeks. Without a win, they might not have a fighting chance at making the playoffs in North Jersey Group 1.

But they got that win, playing ball control offense and using a three-touchdown performance from senior Quinn Lonergan. The runningback not only had two touchdowns and 107 yards rushing, but he had 68 yards receiving, and a touchdown.

Click below for postgame reaction from Brearley’s win over Bound Brook Friday night:

Brearley senior runningback Quinn Lonergan

Brearley head coach Scott Miller

Week 6 Group 1 Playoff Analysis: Brearley’s path to the playoffs; Manville’s playoffs have already begun

Though in the midst of a two-game losing streak, Brearley – on the strength of a 3-0 start – is in 15th in the North Group 1 supersection, and the only Big Central team with a hope.

And they do have hope. But much of it will ride on their game at Bound Brook Friday night. With Dunellen and Dayton in their final two games, Brearley may very well need to win out. Dunellen will get the Bears a minimum 20 OSI points, and probably ten power points. That’s a negative when your OSI is 36.58, although it would boost their power point average, currently an 8.

Bound Brook is the biggie, with an OSI of 49.08 and a power point value of 17. That’s a big jump when your power point average is 8; it would go to 9.5 to be exact. That would at least be enough the fend off any challenges from behind. After the top seven teams or so, the rest of the supersection is not necessarily weak, but let’s say there’s parity. Which means for Brearley, which at least is on the right side of the bubble – two spots in – a playoff spot is theirs for the taking; they control their own destiny.

Incidentally, Belvidere is in 19th. That’s only three places out of a playoff spot, but they’re 4.6 UPR points out of a playoff spot. With their remaining schedule, of Dayton, North Warren and Roselle Park – 4-11 combined – there may not be that much room for improvement.

South Jersey Group 1:

Paulsboro (4-1) and Woodbury (6-0) lead the pack here, followed by Shore (4-1) and Salem (5-1). Then you have to go all the way down to number eleven to find Middlesex, which is 2-3, and South Hunterdon, which is 5-1. The Blue Jays have the better OSI (39.08 compared to the Eagles’ 10.83) but South Hunterdon has the higher power point average (10.83 to Middlesex’s 8).

They should both solidly be in, barring a total collapse, but reaching the top eight might prove impossible, as there’s a lot of ground to make up. A half dozen teams behind the both of them would have to go on the world’s greatest tear, and the law of averages says that’s not going to happen. On the other hand, Middlesex has a 12.8 UPR and South Hunterdon has a 13.2 UPR. To get to an 8th seed right now they’d have to get that down to a 7.6, which is a lot of ground to make up.

Then, we come to Manville. With the destruction the town faced on a massive scale back in early September when Ida tore through, it’s amazing they’ve been able to play football, let alone so well. But the Mustangs – who only wound up cancelling one game, their opener, which goes down as a “no contest” – despite a 4-1 record are in 19th place. Can they make up enough ground? Perhaps.

Right now, their power point average is a 9.8, the highest of any team out of the top 16. Their OSI is a 30.59, the 22nd best team in the supersection overall. Can they gain? Well, if so, it won;’t be thanks to a win over Highland Park Friday night. The 0-6 Owls are worth 7 power points, and their 11.60 OSI will be set to a minimum of 20 for OSI calculations.

Their finale against Metuchen may turn out to be better than originally though, as the Bulldogs – who started 0-4, but have since won two straight – are worth 14 power points all of a sudden, and their OSI is a SI is a 36.16. That wasn’t the case two weeks ago. The Buldogs lost Spotswood this week after hundreds of students at SHS had to quarantine following a positive test from a student who attended a homecoming dance (per an NJ Advance Media story), but picked up Johnson, a team they lost to 16-6 on September 11th, but which is the Crusaders’ only win of the season.

If you’re a Manville fan, you’re a Metuchen fan the rest of the season, too.

And while the final stretch of the season really is a playoff for Manville – a loss would almost assuredly end their postseason chances – the big one is next Friday night at Bound Brook. The Group 2 Crusaders have three wins, and are a 17 power point game, plus provide a 49.08 jolt to their OSI.

And let’s face it, this is all dependent on what everyone else does, and it;s not out of the realm of possibility that they still might not make it, even if they finish 7-1.

But that would be a damn shame.

Who are the eight undefeated teams left in the Big Central heading into Week 5?

As we head into Week Five of nine in high school football across New Jersey, there are dozens of undefeated teams remaining in the state – 52 to be exact.

Eight of them reside in the Big Central Conference.

The North Jersey Super Football Conference leads the pack with 19, including Immaculata, which is playing in the Independence Red Division after leaving the fledgling Big Central over a disagreement about their division and scheduling.

So who are these eight teams? Who’s having their best success in years? We take a closer look:

Hillsborough (4-0) ad Ridge (3-0): We put these teams together since they square off tonight in Basking Ridge, so one will have suffered their first loss of the season. The Raiders started 2019 with a 4-0 mark, and a win tonight would give them their best start since they won seven-in-a-row to start the 2014 season. That year, the Raiders made it to the Central Jersey Group 5 semifinals, where they lost 28-6 to eventual champion Manalapan, which beat South Brunswick 21-7 for the title at Rutgers.

Each team has a Bellamy & Son Player of the Week to their credit. Thomas Amankwaa of Hillsborough won for his outstanding performance in a 21-14 overtime home win over Phillipsburg a couple of weeks ago, including two touchdowns, a two-point run and an interception on the Liners’ possession in OT that clinched the come-from-behind win. Ridge quarterback Mike Olivo was honored this past week, as he accounted for all seven of his team’s touchdowns (three passing, four rushing) in a 49-20 win over Hunterdon Central.

READ MORE: Big plays in big spots earn Hillsborough’s Tommy Amankwaa Week Two Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Honors

READ MORE: Seven touchdown performance earns Ridge’s Olivo Week Four Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Award

It’s the best start for the Red Devils under second-year head coach Andy West. Bill Tracy was at the helm when Ridge last won three straight to start the year; they went 6-0 to begin 2018.

Bottom line, this kind of start is nothing new for these ballclubs.

Woodbridge (5-0): The Barrons did this last year, and the year before.

In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, they went 5-1, only losing their final game, in the first week of pod play to Somerville in a highly-anticipated 1 vs. 2 matchup. The Barrons had been No. 1 all season, with Somerville working its way to No. 2.

The ‘Ville took a 39-26 decision at Priscoe Field, and then both teams’ seasons ended due to COVID and contact tracing.

READ MORE: Whitaker and Desiderio postgame reaction after Somerville knocks off Woodbridge

Isn’t it great to see high school football back?

The year before, Woodbridge was 10-0 heading into the North 1, Group 4 title game, but lost 37-7 at Northern Highlands.

Cranford (3-0): The Cougars also got off to a hot start last year, beginning the year 3-0. But they were stopped by Woodbridge in their fourth game and finished 6-2, losing in their finale in pod play to St. Joseph-Metuchen.

READ MORE: Cranford wins a battle of top Union County QBs, Cougars off to 2-0 start

Cranford has Scotch Plains-Fanwood at home tonight, then hosts Colonia next Friday, before traveling to the other side of Route One for what could be a battle of two undefeated teams at Priscoe Field on Friday, October 15th, in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

If you’re looking for the Cougars’ next best start prior to last year, you’d have to go back to 2015, when Cranford ran the table at 12-0 and won the North 2, Group 3 title with a 50-23 win over Chatham at Kean University in Union.

Linden (3-0): Yes, make it three teams out of eight in what we felt heading into the season was one of the more balanced and competitive divisions in the Big Central, Division 4. In addition to Woodbridge and Cranford, the Tigers are unbeaten, and none of the three teams obviously have played each other yet.

It’s a nice turnaround for Linden, which managed just five games last year due to COVID and ended up 1-4. They had a 7-1 start to their 2018 season, but lost their opener before winning seven straight and dropping their last two.

This is their best start since going 7-0 to begin the 2014 campaign, which they finished 10-2, bringing home a North 2, Group 5 trophy; they beat Elizabeth for the title 27-20 at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.

St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0): The Trojans are on a historic streak. It’s the first time they’ve had this kind of success in North Edison in quite some time.

READ MORE: St. Thomas Aquinas finding historic success, wins fourth straight by shutout

Aquinas has not gone unbeaten in its first four games since starting the 1992 season 6-0-1, their streak stopped on November 7th of that year by Edison. (Fun side note: current Eagles offensive coordinator Matt Yascko had two touchdown catches in that game; the other went to Justin Garbolino, whose son Frankie is the QB at North Brunswick. Yascko’s son QB’s for Edison.)

They’ve not started a year with four straight wins since 1989, when the Trojans went ran the table in the regular season and finished 10-1, their lone loss coming in the Parochial South A final to Notre Dame, 9-6.

Look for a piece on the Trojans later today on cjsportsradio.com.

Delaware Valley (4-0): The Terriers got off to a 5-0 start last year, finishing 6-1 in the COVID-shortened campaign.

Del Val runs record to 4-0 with 40-7 cruise past Governor Livingston

A win tonight against a tough Bernards team would match that effort, and give them a shot at their best start since 2015 when they began 6-0. They also went 7-0 to start 2011 and 8-0 in 2003, finishing 9-1 with a playoff loss to Spotswood.

We got to see them early on against North Plainfield, and the Terriers looked impressive, nearly pitching the shutout before allowing a late touchdown.

Brearley (3-0): The Bears had an 8-2 year in 2019, and won eight straight games in that campaign, but after suffering a season-opening loss to out-of-conference West Essex.

READ MORE: Brearley off to hot 2-0 start, looks to keep it going against rival Roselle Park in Week 3

They’re off to their best start since 2018 when they went 5-0, but their season-opening win was a forfeit by Highland Park, which didn’t have enough personnel to play the game. Going by true on-field wins, you’d have to go back to 2015, when the Bears won their first eleven games, and were the top-seed in the North 2, Group 1 playoffs.

They lost in the finals at Kean 34-12 to second-seed Hoboken.

What team has the longest active winning streak in Big Central play?

The answer to that question may surprise you.

Hint: it’s not any one of the undefeated teams we mentioned above.

The answer? It’s Bernards!

The Mountaineers are 3-1 this season, but their loss came to Penns Grove in the Battle at the Beach in Week Zero. Last year, after a season-opening loss to Hillside – which they avenged this year in the Rumble on the Raritan at Rutgers – Bernards won their final eight games to finish 8-1.

Of those, six came against Big Central opponents (the other two wins were against Monmouth and Immaculata). So, the Bernards winning streak in league is nine games.

After that, it’s Somerville and Woodbridge tied with 8 straight in league play (Somerville’s loss this season was to Northern Highlands).

Union – who’s only loss this season is to Millville, out of conference – has won six straight against BCC competition, while Del Val and Brealy each have won five-in-a-row.

This Week in the Big Central – Episode 4: The Mr. Old Bridge

A pair of big wins for a pair of Raiders, and the Big Man in Old Bridge.

Those are some of the highlights of Episode 4 of “This Week in the Big Central,” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

We take a closer look at the top-ranked North Brunswick’s big win at Old Bridge, thanks to a big night from Marqis Perry. Then Hillsborough came up with a statement win over Phillipsburg in overtime.

Later, host Mike Pavlichko talks with Bellamy & Son Paving Big Central Player of the Week Tommy Amankwaa, and sits down with Mr. Old Bridge, Ron Mazzola, to talk about his PA work for Old Bridge and Spotswood, work with GMC wrestling and gymnastics, and great moments in Knights’ football.

Then, Dom Savino slides into the chair across from Mike to preview Week Three action in the Big Central.

Brearley off to hot 2-0 start, looks to keep it going against rival Roselle Park in Week 3

Brearley head coach Scott Miller had been saying all summer his team’s success in 2021 would be a direct result of its offensive line, whether they could jell, and how far they could progress.

Through two games, the results are better than he could have imagined.

And that’s a big reason why the Bears are off to a 2-0 start.

Of course, the skill positions need to come through, and that’s where the numbers have been.

Brearley won its opener against Johnson two weeks ago 36-0, then went to Charger Stadium and beat Spotswood Saturday afternoon 32-0.

Offensively, quarterback Matt Sims ran for 175 yards on 24 carries and scored a pair of touchdowns, then threw for another 49 yards and scored twice more. Runningback Quinn Lonergan added a touchdown and rushed for 137 yards in the victory.

And the defense? What else can you say other than they’ve pitched two shutouts.

Miller knows Roselle Park – a big rival just a short, two-mile drive away – will be a big challenge this Friday night, so he’s not having his team take their collective feet off the gas pedal anytime soon. And wins will be crucial with a late-season stretch of Bernards, New Providence and Bound Brook on the schedule.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Brearley head coach Scott Miller about his team’s 2-0 start to the season:

Union’s Davison Igbinosun named Week One Bellamy & Son Paving Big Central Player of the Week

With a big came that spurred a big comeback that gave Union a big win, Farmers senior Davison Igbinosun has been named the inaugural Bellamy & Son Paving Big Central Player of the Week for Week One.

Each week, league coaches will be allowed to nominate a player from their team for the award, with this week’s eligible games including Week Zero, in which only a fraction of the Big Central teams played. Players who also received serious consideration will be listed each week on the Honor Roll.

Igbinosun – a Rutgers commit – had a great stat line in a 40-21 road win against St. Joseph-Metuchen (0-1): eight carries for 106 yard and three touchdowns, three catches for 104 yards and another score, as well as nine tackles on defense, two TFLs and an interception.

But, it was how and when those scores happened that clinched the award for Igbinosun. Two of his rushing touchdowns came in the third quarter, giving Union a 21-14 lead after trailing 14-6 at the half.

The Farmers are now 1-1.

Every Bellamy & Son Paving Big Central Player of the Week will receive a custom football at the end of the season, and one will be chosen for a $500 scholarship.

Click below to hear Dom Savino’s interview with Union’s Davison Igbinosun:

Honor Roll…

Three other players made this week’s Big Central Honor Roll:

Senior runningback Quinn Lonergan of Brearley rushed for 113 yards and four touchdowns on just 15 carries as the Bears started the season with a win, blanking Johnson 36-0 at home. Lonergan matched his junior campaign’s touchdown output, where he scored four TDs on 44 carries, rushing for nearly 300 yards behind thousand-yard rusher Derek Graichen.

Monroe’s Benjamin Bussiere had a big game in a 52-20 season-opening home win over Franklin. The junior receiver had seven catches for 113 yards and three touchdowns, and amassed 145 kick return yards, including a 96-yard kickoff return in the third quarter, the first of four straight scores that helped the Falcons pull away, after leading only by 11 at halftime. On defense, Bussiere also recorded eight solo tackles.

Also making the Honor Roll was North Brunswick’s Tamir Jenkins. The junior linebacker was a defensive force against arch-rival South Brunswick in a 56-21 season-opening victory. Jenkins had 9 tackles and a TFL, but also forced and recovered two fumbles, one of them a 74-yard scoop-and-score. He also had a rushing touchdown on offense, the first of his scholastic career.