Tag: Colonia

Group 4 playoff analysis: North Hunterdon leads BCC teams packed tightly behind them

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.

NORTH 4 (Click here for official standings)

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.

SOUTH 4 (Click here for official standings)

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

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 4: Liners stake their claim, and who had the biggest upset?

On this week’s trip through “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” Mike Pavlichko weighs in on Phillipsburg’s claim to the No. 1 ranking in the league, who had the biggest upset wins of Week Four, and whether Somerville should be in a division with Group 5 schools/

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

Stateliners grab another first place vote, still lead Big Central Media Poll, as other teams shake up

Another week, another vote for first in the Big Central Media Poll for Phillipsburg.

The Stateliners picked up a season-high 48 points and got four of the five first-place votes in Week Four, ahead of North Brunswick, which got the other first-place vote.

The teams don’t play each other this regular season, and could only meet if they both make the inaugural Group 5 final at Rutgers’ SHI Stadium the first week of December.

Hillside climbed a spot to third, while St. Thomas Aquinas jumped three spots from seventh to fourth.

The poll saw a bit of a shakeup this week, with previously-third ranked Hillsborough dropping two spots to fifth after a 34-0 loss at P’burg Friday night. Previously-No. 7-ranked St. Joseph-Metuchen dropped two spots after losing to unranked Elizabeth Saturday, 23-21. And Sayreville dropped from No. 6 to No. 9 after a 22-0 loss to No. 2 North Brunswick.

Montgomery – 5-0 for the first time ever- continued its ascent, up two spots to fifth. Colonia (5-0) dropped a spot simply by other teams making gains, and North hunterdon – which got votes last week – entered the poll in tenth.

Ridge (2-2) dropped out as well.

The full Week 4 Big Central Media Poll is below:

Phillipsburg takes stranglehold on top ranking in Week 4 CJSR Top Ten

Thanks to a 34-0 home win over then-undefeated and third-ranked Hillsborough Friday night, Phillipsburg took both first place votes in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Week Four high school football rankings.

The Stateliners are still followed by North Brunswick, close behind, which has the same record through the first four weeks as P’burg: 4-0.

For the first time this season, no teams dropped out of the rankings, and there were no “Also Received Votes.” All ten teams that got votes are in the rankings, just in a different order.

Click below for the full Week Four Top Ten:

Converted RB Jones gets it done through the air, on the ground, and on D, wins Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week honors for Week 3

Jaeden Jones was never a quarterback, but you might not know it to look at his stat line.

The Colonia junior threw for 132 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-16 passing Friday night in a 28-25 win over Linden. But that’s not what earned him Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Honors for Week 3 of the high school football season.

There were also the 31 carries he had for 151 yards and three touchdowns, plus the ten tackles and a forced fumble he had from his safety position on defense.

Colonia mentor Tom Roarty approached Jones in the off-season, after the departure of Josh Oluremi, who rushed for 1,594 yards and 20 touchdowns last season, while throwing for 954 and 6 touchdown passes, and was named “Mr. Dynamic” in Central Jersey Sports Radio’s postseason awards last year.

This year, Jones has taken the baton and run with it.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Colonia junior quarterback/safety Jaeden Jones:

Honorable Mentions

  • Michael Schmelzer, Montgomery – In a game heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio (which means we got to see it) the junior quarterback ran a masterful offense, knowing when to hold ’em, fold ’em, or pass ’em. In a 27-21 win over Somerville, he was 11-of-18 passing for 190 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw a two-point conversion pass and rushed six times for 72 yards.
  • Chiekezie Ogbuewu, Dunellen – Just a junior on a team with fewer than two dozen players, Ogbuewu – a runningback/d-back – played both sides of the ball with energy to spare. An impact right from the jump, he scored an 80-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, and added a five-yard run and a pair of two point conversions in a 51-13 win over Belvidere on Thursday. He carried 11 times for 144 yards, while logging ten tackles – 7 solo and 2 for a loss – on defense against the County Seaters.
  • Caidan Holmes, Sayreville – The senior quarterback only threw six times against Edison, but in a 14-6 win, he completed five fo those passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, while scoring the other TD himself on the ground, part of a 21-carry, 66-yard night on the ground for the Bombers.
  • Shawn Purcell, Manville – What doesn’t the kid do? In a 46-7 win over Dayton, Purcell – a senior – rushed for four touchdowns, rattling off 195 yards on just nine carries. Among his TDs on the ground: a 63-yarder and a 59-yarder. He also had a 44-yard touchdown reception, and logged four tackles on defense. For those counting, that’s five of the Mustangs’ seven TDs in the game.
  • Khiri Summers, South Brunswick – The senior was all over the field Friday night – in his first game back from an ankle injury – to be the sparkplug in a 29-16 win over East Brunswick. He did a little bit of everything, and played every snap on offense, defense and special teams. He hauled in two passes for 14 yards, rushing 12 times for 68 – including a touchdown – and as a safety, registered 6 tackles and two pass breakups. He also had a 70-yard kick return for a touchdown.
  • Patrick Smith, South Plainfield – In a 53-30 win over rival North Plainfield Friday night, the junior runningback needed just seven carries to amasss 155 yards and four touchdowns, of 60, 55, 18 and 1 yard. On defense, he had eight tackles and two pass breakups.
  • Matt Sims, Brearley – In a 46-26 home win over Roselle Park Thursday night, the QB continued his big number senior season for unbeaten (3-0) Brearley. He was 11-of-16 for 203 yards and three touchdowns, while also eclipsing the century mark on the ground: 101 yards on 10 carries, and three trips to the end zone. On defense, Sims logged seven tackles and two pass breakups.

Other Nominations

  • Laivon Balthazar, Perth Amboy – In a narrow, 10-8 win over JFK Friday night, the Panther sophomore was 11-of-15 passing for 182 yards, and carried three times for 65 yards – and the only touchdown of the game for Amboy.
  • Patrick Garlinghouse, Delaware Valley – The senior carried the ball 27 times for 176 yards and scored three times, while registering 13 tackles at linebacker in a 33-13 win over New Providence. Down the stretch, he had several key first down gains to secure the win, and came up with big stops on D.
  • Trey Lazar, Spotswood – The junior, who plays both QB and wide receiver on offense, had 18 rushes for 135 yards and two touchdowns – which came in the fourth quarter to put the game away – in a 28-6 win at Highland Park on Friday night.
  • Ben Solimini, East Brunswick – The senior signal caller tried to will his team to victory Friday night, but fell short 29-14 against South Brunswick, despite his 17 carries for 1997 yards and two touchdowns, including a 75-yard score.
  • Zahmir Dawud, North Brunswick – In a 33-7 win over Old Bridge Friday night, the senior wide receiver had five catches for 81 yards.
  • Gabe Perez, JFK – In a tight, 10-8 loss to Perth Amboy Friday night, Perez had five catches for 62 yards. Though they didn’t win the game, a fourth-quarter pick in the end zone and a 4th-and-long pass in the fourth quarter set up a touchdown for the Mustangs to pull them within two, but they missed the two-point try for the tie.
  • Jakir Thomas, Carteret – In a 25-11 Friday night win over Plainfield, the sophomore runningback was a workhorse: 23 carries for a hard-fought 113 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, he had three pass breakups from his cornerback spot in the fourth quarter.
  • Jonathan Lobello, Hillsborough – As the Raiders have formed a strong defensive identity in 2022, Lobello has been a big reason why. The senior had seven tackles, two interceptions, and another two passes broken up in an active night, part of a 21-11 home win over Ridge.
  • Connor Laverty, Bernards – In a 35-0 win over Voorhees Friday night, the junior quarterback had four touchdowns, all in the first half, going 16-of-20 passing for 179 yards.
  • Kente Edwards, North Hunterdon – The senior runningback gave it all he had in a 48-21 loss to No. 1 Phillipsburg Friday night: 13 carries fro 189 yards and a touchdown, plus 12 tackles and an interception on defense.

Phillipsburg continues reign atop CJSR, Big Central Media Polls

For the second week in a row, it’s Phillipsburg atop the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings, as well as the Big Central Media Poll.

In fact, the week three rankings have the same top three teams in the same order: the Stateliners, followed by North Brunswick and Hillsborough.

After that, things start to get different. But one common thread was Montgomery, which is off to a 4-0 start, making its debut in both polls this week: 6th place in the CJSR Top Ten, and tied for 7th in the Media Poll with two other teams, including Colonia, which also made its debut in the media survey.

Edison dropped out of both polls this week as the Eagles lost their second straight game, while North Hunterdon – after losing at top-ranked Phillipsburg Friday to fall to 3-1 – fell out of the media rankings, but remained in the CJSR Top Ten at No. 9.

Delaware Valley also received votes in both polls, but didn’t make the top ten, while North Hunterdon did get votes in the media poll, along with Edison and Bernards. Del Val entertains Bernards Friday night in the Big Central Game of the Week on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with kickoff set for 7 pm at Tap Webb Memorial Field in Alexandria. Click here to listen.

One other note is that the polls seem to be tightening, with fewer teams getting votes each week as the season begins to settle in, with next week being the mid-way point of the season. In Week 2, there were 16 teams receiving votes from the five voting members of the Media Poll, compared to 20 in the preseason rankings. This week, the number was down to 14.

Scroll down to see both polls in their entirety:

Phillipsburg overtakes North Brunswick for No. 1 in the CJSR Week 2 Top Ten

A solid road win over Phillipsburg appears to have been enough for the Stateliners to just edge out North Brunswick, taking the top spot in the Week Two Central Jersey Sports Radio High School Football Top Ten.

Both teams got a first place vote in Week Two, but Phillipsburg had one extra point with Hillsborough also picking up a second place vote.

The Raiders held in third, while Sayreville edged up one place to fourth, and St. Joseph of Metuchen – one of three new teams to the poll – debuted at No. 5, off to a 2-0 start.

Hillside climbed one to sixth, and is tied with North Hunterdon, which moved up from ninth.

Colonia, which also received votes last week, made it in at No. 8, while St. Thomas Aquinas is in at No. 9, followed by Edison dropping a spot to tenth after a loss Friday night to then-No. 1 North Brunswick.

Previously No. 2 Somerville, No. 6 Bridgewater-Raritan and No. 8 Ridge dropped out, but the Red Devils also received a vote.

Below are the full Week 2 rankings:

St. Joe’s is the favorite, but here’s how all 16 teams can win the GMC Tournament

No team worth its weight in stirrups and rawhide enters the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament bemoaning its seed and wishing they were someone else.

If you’re picked as one of the top 16 teams in the league and make the “big dance,” there’s reason to think you have a shot, or else why get up in the morning?

The way the tournament is laid out, with enough time for every team’s No. 1 starter to pitch three games – that is, if Mother Nature cooperates on Monday – just about everyone has a shot, since there are so many good No. 1s in the county.

So why should 16th-seed South River have hope like top-seed St. Joe’s or third-seed Middlesex has hope that they can win it all?

Click below to listen to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko break down all 16 teams:

Rutgers Prep girls leave no doubt about it; they’re No. 1 in Bellamy & Son Paving final top ten of the year

When Central Jersey Sports Radio began its coverage of high school basketball last season, in the pandemic-shortened year, Rutgers Prep was the preseason No. 1 team. The went wire-to-wire with it last year, finishing 13-0, winners of the one-off Skyland Conference top pod.

To challenge themselves, they even played Saddle River Day the next day, after winning the pod final, and won that game, too.

They didn’t go undefeated in 2021-22, but they were by far the best girls’ team in the area, again, and once again, have gone wire-to-wire to finish No. 1 in the final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten, to be CJSR’s Team of the Year.

They finished 29-3, going all the way to the Tournament of Champions title game, where they fell for a second time this season to the state’s undisputed No. 1 team, St. John Vianney. Winners of the Somerset County Tournament, the Non-Public South B and the Non-Public Group B state titles, their only other loss came out of state, early in the season, to Westtown (PA).

That’s a run of 17 straight polls where the Lady Argonauts were No. 1, the only team to have that ranking in the entire – albeit brief, so far – existence of Central Jersey Sports Radio.

While Prep was no surprise this year – and would be a safe bet at a preseason No. 1 next year with key players like sophomore Mikayla Blakes and junior Katie Ledden returning – one surprise was Hillsborough.

The Lady Raiders made a late run in 2022, going all the way to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4 finals where they lost to eventual Group 4 champion Westfield. They got their first ranking of the season in the final top ten, at No. 4.

Below are the final Bellamy & Son girls’ basketball rankings for the 2021-22 season:

Gill St. Bernard’s boys finish No. 1 in final Bellamy & Son Paving Top Ten

In the middle of February, St. Thomas Aquinas made a statement with a win over Gill St. Bernard’s in the Hearts 2 Hands Showcase at Roselle Catholic. Key players were missing for both teams, but it established the Trojans as the No. 1 team in the Bellamy & Son Paving Rankings.

But then, Gill beat Rutgers Prep in the Somerset County Tournament Final, and Rutgers Prep beat Aquinas in the Non-Public South A semifinals, en route to a sectional championship.

Aquinas beat Gill, which beat Prep, which beat Aquinas, which beat Gill….

Ultimately, Gill St. Bernard’s will close out the season as the No. 1 team in the final Bellamy & Son Top Ten.

The Knights – with a host of Division 1 players, including Georgetown-bound Denver Anglin and junior Mackenzie Mgbako – finished the season 20-7, with only three of those losses coming to New Jersey schools. They lost to Aquinas, took then-No. 1 Camden to the wire, and lost to eventual Tournament of Champions winner Roselle Catholic in Non-Public North B title game.

Rutgers Prep finished second, going 26-4, and bringing home the program’s first-ever sectional title. They rallied to beat Red Bank Catholic in the Non-Public South A title game down at Lenape High School.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the GMC Tournament Champion came in third, at 27-2, also the White Division Champions.

One previously-unranked team made it into the final rankings: South Plainfield. The Tigers finished 23-7, won the Blue Division in the GMC, and made it all the way to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 3 finals, where they lost to Colonia, 56-52 in double-overtime. They finished seventh in the final rankings, while the Patriots finished fourth.

Below are the full final rankings: