As we head into the final four weeks of the regular season before Cutoff Weekend in high school football, it’s time to start taking a closer look at the race for the playoffs. Here’s a look at Group 4; note that we only give a detailed breakdown of the North section since South 4 doesn’t include any teams from the Big Central Conference, the only such supersection in the state.
Ramapo is the leader in this section, with Randolph right behind, but both UPRs are in the twos (2.2 for Ramapo, 2.4 for Randolph). That oddity is because while they are 1-and-2 in OSI, Ramapo is fourth in power points, while Randolph is third. (OSI weighs 60%, power points 40% in the state UPR formula).
The highest Big Central team is North Hunterdon in fifth, and there are a bunch of league teams sort of right behind them, and they play two of the three in the next couple of weeks. The Lions have a 5.6 UPR, followed by Wayne Valley (5.8) and Colonia (6.6). Rahway is eighth with a 9 UPR, and Montgomery – with a 10 UPR – is in tenth, followed by Sayreville (10.4 UPR).
That’s a fairly good-sized gap in the middle of the pack. It essentially means that the top seven teams are all tightly packed in the top of the power point and OSI standings; i.e. there’s no team in the top seven that’s very high (say, fourth) in one and very low (say, 12th) in the other.
North Hunterdon can really solidify things and maybe make a run at a top-four seed (and home field through the sectional semifinals) with wins the next two weeks. They host Colonia Friday night – where Central Jersey Sports Radio will have live updates during the Sayreville at East Brunswick game, which kicks off at 7:00 – and next week, North Hunterdon travels to Montgomery.
Now back to that gap: it’s a lot to make up, and if nobody can do it, we’ll have Rahway, Monty, Sayreville, Chatham and maybe more battling it out for that eighth spot, which means a first-round home playoff game.
Ridge in 14th is a good bet to make the playoffs, but Linden in 15th is a little more on the bubble, but at least on the good side.
Woodbridge, however, at 1-4, is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2018. They are in 18th, with a 17.4 UPR. They may need to run the table, which would include not only winning at Perth Amboy this weekend and beating in-town rival JFK at home next week, but then winning out in Clinton over North Hunterdon on October 14th, and beating Sayreville at home on the Friday night of Cutoff Weekend.
Put it this way: for the Barrons, the playoffs start now.
Again, there are no Big Central teams here, but with the NJSIAA going to group finals for the first-time ever this year, it warrants a brief look.
The top two teams here are Middletown South (3-1) and Millville (2-1). They might not be were it not for the multiplier effect, as Middletown South lost to Red Bank Catholic – and still has Donovan Catholic later on. Millville beat St. Augustine two weeks ago.
There’s only one undefeated team in this section: 4-0 Pennsauken, in 6th place right now, with a 7.2 UPR. Their power point total is what hurts them