Tag: Manville

Week 7 Friday night Playoff Analysis: Group 1

Through the end of the season, Central Jersey Sports Radio will be updating unofficial playoff standings following Friday night’s games. Full analysis after the weekend will come during the week as the official standings are released by Gridiron New Jersey.

Here’s a look at unofficial standings after games of Friday, October 13th in Group 1. Results are calculated using scores on Gridiron New Jersey as of 9:30 am on October 14th:

Brearley’s 36-14 loss to Middlesex last night drops the Bears one spot further to No. 19, and their UPR down to 17.4, one power point rank spot. They go from 1 UPR point ouot of the playoffs to 1.8 points behind 16th place Glen Ridge. Roselle Park is tied with Brearley at 17.8 after a big win over Dunellen, jumping from 23-20, but with a weak Newark Collegiate next week, we think they’re out.

A win for South Hunterdon in its last NJSIAA-member school game of the year – they play rival New Hope-Solebury out of PA next week – keeps them in fourth, with the same UPR as last week, at 5.2 points. Middlesex improved its UPR from 8.4 to 6.8 with a win over Brearley, but the Jays hold in seventh. However, their lead over the ninth place team is bigger. Last week it was 0.6 points over Audubon, and Woodbury was tied for seventh with them. Now, they lead 8th place Penns Frove by 0.6 UPR points, and have a 1.6 point lead over ninth place Woodbury.

Dunellen’s 52-24 loss to Roselle Park last night puts the Destroyers out of the top 16 for now, at No. 17, 1.6 UPR points behind 16th place Salem, but the Rams are just 1-6. Two wins is the minimum for the playoffs. So, as of now, they wouldn’t make it. Salem hosts 2-5 West Deptford today, then is at 3-3 Woodbury next week.

Manville, right behind Dunellen, is in 18th at a 19.4 UPR, but with 1-6 Bound Brook next week, shouldn’t be a factor. That said, there are a number of winless teams behind Dunellen, so it may be the Destroyers dueling it out with Salem for that last spot, and doing some scoreboard watching in the process.

Week 7 Playoff Analysis: Group 1

With just two weeks of play left before the state playoffs are seeded, things are heating up in the playoff chase. Here’s our look at the Big Central Conference teams in playoff contention in Group 1 as we head into Week 7 of high school football around the state.

And, of course, don’t miss our “Playoff Projection Show,” scheduled for 5 pm on Saturday, October 21st, when we’ll reveal our predicted matchups and seeds for the postseason. It’s all presented by My Family Appliances of Edison, which will be giving away three $100 gift cards during the show to lucky listeners!

All our analysis is based on Gridiron New Jersey’s official playoff calculations performed for the NJSIAA and listed on their website as of 11:30 pm on October 10. For full standings, click on each supersection’s header below:


18. Brearley (3-3, 17.4): The Bears are the definition of a bubble team. They’re .500 on the year, one UPR spot out of a playoff spot. It essentially means they have to move up two notches in either OSI or power point rank, or one of each. Ahead of them are Boonton (17th, 16.6 UPR) and Glen Ridge (16th, 16.4 UPR). They probably can’t catch 15th place Shabazz with a UPR of 14. They have a solid schedule, with 9 residuals currently available between Middlesex at home Friday, then a tough trip to Columbia Park to take on the Blue Jays. A sweep by Brearley would put them as high as 10th without anyone else playing, so we think they would get in. A split would leave it out of their hands, but they still could get in. Two losses may not end their hopes, but it sure would lean that way.


4. South Hunterdon (6-1, 45.68): A win for the Eagles last weekend over Dunellen helped move them up two places into fourth, and a top four finish is not out of the question. They just might need some help. They visit Dayton (1-5) this week, which already doesn’t help matters. But then, next week, they visit New Hope-Solebury (PA) for their annual rivalry game. But that doesn’t count toward power points or OSI, so it’s up to the Dayton game. A win would let them tread water, but they’ll be at the mercy of the three teams behind them, and maybe even others – like Audubon, who’s way back, but right behind them in OSI. If they jump them, they won’t in the UPR standings, but they will knock the Eagles down one notch in OSI, tying them with Florence. And then what happens with the Flashes (5-0, 0.6 UPR behind) and Shore (4-2, 0.8 UPR behind)? Toby Jefferis and his team may be doing a lot of scoreboard watching the next two weeks.

7. Middlesex (5-1, 8.4): The Blue Jays are on the right side of the top eight bubble. And they have a decent schedule that can help them – at Brearley Friday night and home to New Providence next Friday. Pulling off a sweep should assure them they’ll be at Mountainview Park to open the playoffs. A split or two losses make it hard and harder. Still maybe too early to tell.

16. Dunellen (4-2, 16.6): On paper, it’s a simple proposition for the Destroyers. Win both their remaining games – at Roselle Park Friday and home to Brearley next Thursday – and we think they’re in. A split, and they may need some help, we’ll know more next week. A loss would make it really difficult, but we’re not sure it would be impossible. The thing is, the closest team to them is Salem with a 1-6 record and a 17 UPR. So, even though they’re 0.4 UPR points behind, if Salem doesn’t get a second win (neither of their opponents is over .500) they won’t make it, per NJSIAA rule; two is the minimum. Dunellen may not have to worry about them, or 19th place Maple Shade. But…

18. Manville (2-5, 20.8): The Mustangs’ chances are slim thanks to closing with Highland Park on the road this Friday, and Bound Brook at home next Friday; they’re a combined 1-11 on the season. Ready for a roller coaster ride? Even a sweep won’t move the needle here. But if Salem can’t win one of its last two games, they’re out of the equation, which means Manville only has to get to 17 to make it. Can they? Tough to say. But put this in your back pocket: If by some residual miracle they make it to 17 and Dunellen is 16, or vice versa, the Destroyers get the head-to-head tiebreaker.

You Choose! What will be our Big Central Game of the Week for Week 7??

We have two weeks left in the high school football season, and now we’re letting you tell us what you want to hear! That’s right. We want to know: What should be the Big Central Game of the Week for Week 7 this Friday night?

We’re giving you five options of games to choose from:

  • Phillipsburg at Union: Some high level football here; the Stateliners were Number One in the polls for the first several weeks of the season, and Union has improved from a year ago
  • Somerville at Hillsborough: The Raiders are in contention for a top-seed in South 5, while the Pioneers are much improved
  • Piscataway at Sayreville: A classic GMC matchup between longtime rivals, and the game our listeners picked last year
  • Edison at South Brunswick: Another classic GMC game, this one with two teams looking to improve their playoff standing
  • Manville at Highland Park: Two small schools, with the Mustangs trying to stay in the playoff chase, and the Owls looking for their first win since 2016

So here are the basic rules!

  • Vote as early and often as you would like!
  • Share the poll on social media with your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter.
  • The matchup with the most votes will be the game we broadcast Friday night on Central Jersey Sports Radio, complete with pregame coverage with the coaches from each team, a live broadcast, and postgame recap on the site with reaction from the winning team’s coach and a standout player.
  • Voting will close at 5 pm Monday, with the winner being announced Tuesday on Twitter. (Follow us at @CJSportsRadio on Twitter if you don’t already!)

Good luck to your favorite team – vote early and often!

Note: In the event a game turns out to be unavailable for broadcast or for other any reason, Central Jersey Sports Radio reserves the right to choose an alternate game, if necessary, regardless of the final vote.

Week 6 Playoff Analysis: Group 1

The playoffs are right around the corner. With just three weeks to go before Cutoff Weekend – when the NJSIAA seeds the state playoffs – teams across the state are jockeying for position, whether its pushing for a top seed, trying to hang on to a first round home game, or just make the field of 16.

As always, Central Jersey Sports Radio has you covered with our analysis of every team’s playoff scenario as we head down the home stretch, and this year, it’s all sponsored by our friends over at My Family Appliances on Route One South in the Wick Plaza in Edison.

And not only will they be presenting our live “Playoff Projection Show” on Saturday, October 21 at 5 pm, where we’ll give our projections for all the playoff matchups, but they’ll be giving away three $100 gift cards on the show to lucky listeners.

For now, here’s our team-by-team look at where all the Big Central teams in contention for the playoffs stand as we head into Week Six. For the full standings, click on the header for each supersection to go to the corresponding page on Gridiron New Jersey, which handles all the calculations for the NJSIAA.


15. Brearley (2-3): The Bears – finalists last year in North 1, Group 1, are the only Big Central team in the running in the North Group 1 supersection this year. Park Ridge, Cedar Grove, and Butler all hold the top three spots, followed by Waldwick, so if Brearley does make the playoffs, a long trip up North could be in store. They’re definitely a bubble team at this point, with a pure 15 UPR (meaning they are 15th in both power point and OSI average). Right behind them is Shabazz (3-3, 15.4 UPR) and then North Warren (3-3, 16.4). They may just be battling it out with those three teams, as 18th place Glen Ridge’s UPR drops all the way to a 19.2, which is 4.2 behind Brearley. In Group 1, that’s a lot of ground to make up. The Bears should take care of Highland Park, but those last two games could be interesting: home to Middlesex next week, then at Dunellen’s Columbia Park Friday night of Cutoff Weekend. The Destroyers’ resurgence this year – they’re 4-1, with their most wins since 2019 – will help Brearley’s cause schedule-wise, but they probably need to at least win one of those last two games, maybe both, to get stay on the right side of the postseason bubble.


6. South Hunterdon (5-1): The Eagles are having another nice year, following a seven-win season in 2021 and a six-win campaign a year ago. Sitting in sixth with a 6.6 UPR, there’s a tight group of teams behind them ready to pounce for a top eight finish and first round home game, so Toby Jefferis’ squad may really need to keep winning here down the stretch. They’ve only got two remaining games that count: both are on the road, with Dunellen this week and Dayton next week. Cutoff Weekend is their rivalry game with New Hope-Solebury, which does not count for power points or OSI since it’s an out-of-state game.From seventh to 11th place, Woodbury, Keyport, Shore, Riverside and Middlesex are all within 2.8 UPR points, so a lot can happen here down the stretch.

11. Middlesex (4-1): Speaking of those Blue Jays, they may have a chance at a top seed depending how they finish, and everyone else bunched in the pack does. Middlesex already has a loss to South Hunterdon – so keep that in your back pocket in case they end up next to each other and a head-to-head tiebreaker comes into play – but has a good win over Dunellen. Their schedule is good the rest of the way in terms of presenting an opportunity. That is to say, running the table the last three weeks may give them a shot at a top eight seed. Currently, they’d need to go from a 9.4 UPR to around 8, which is not a tall order in three weeks. The games? Roselle Park this week and Brearley the next – both of whom have two wins – and New Providence at home the following week, which has three.

15. Dunellen (4-1): The Destroyers are having a really nice season. They don’t have the best schedule, but are in the thick of it: on the bubble with three weeks to go, and on the right side of it, too. Friday night will be a huge test against South Hunterdon, but a loss may not hurt them much. With an OSI of 34.48, a loss to the Eagles (69.01 SI at the moment) would be worth about 34.5 points, right at Dunellen’s average. And even their power point average would drop to just an 8.5. Bottom line: a win would be amazing, but a loss might not be the end of the world, depending what the teams behind them, do. There are a couple who are particularly close, including Manville (0.8 UPR points behind) and Pennsville (1 behind). Asbury park and Salem are both a bit more off the pace, but neither has won a game yet. The NJSIAA rule is a team cannot make the playoffs with fewer than two wins, and that might be a stretch for both of those squads. So really, Dunellen likely only has to fend off either Manville or Pennsville, but not both.

16. Manville (2-4): The Mustangs have already reached that two-win qualification marker, but might need more to hold on to the last playoff position. As we described with Dunellen, they may only have to fight off Pennsville behind them. That’s because after Asbury Park and Salem, Maple Shade and Gatewat – tied in 20th place – have 21.6 UPRs, five full points out of 16th place. In Group 1, that’s a lot of ground to make up unless you play – and beat – some very good teams. Manville’s trouble could be that their last three opponents are a combined 2-14, with an SI average of 31.65. Manville’s OSI is 35.78, so even wins could bring their average down. Power points would be helped a little bit; they have a seven average. At Belvidere this week will be worth 10 for a win, at Highland Park next week is 7 at the moment, and Bound Brook at Ned Panfile Stadium on Cutoff Weekend is worth 11 as we speak. Those are three winnable games, and they may need to win all three. You may ask about Pennsville (3-2) behind them, as they will figure into this race with Dunellen. They have Overbrook (3-2) this week, then go to Penns Grove (2-4) and Pitman (1-3) on Cutoff Weekend.

Mid-Season Playoff Analysis: A look at the small schools heading into Week 5

We’ve reached the middle of the high school football season in New Jersey, and it’s time to start thinking about the playoff races.

Presented by sponsor My Family Appliances on Route One South in the Wick Plaza in Edison, here’s our look at where the smaller schools stand – Groups 1 and 2 – in the chase for the postseason heading into Week Five.

But first….

Playoff Qualification Primer

The NJSIAA uses the United Power Ranking (UPR) to determine where teams are seeded. Without getting into all the behind the scenes calculations and caveats, each team’s UPR is based on two factors: their rank in the supersection based on power points and on OSI.

Power points are an average and based on the traditional formula that’s been used – albeit altered from time-to-time – over the years. Teams get six points for every win, group points based on the group of the opponent, and residuals – 3 for every win by a team you beat, 1 for every win by a team you lost to.

OSI is the Opponent Strength Index, and average of all the opponents played. Teams get the full value of a team’s Strength Index for a win, half for a loss. A win over an opponent with an SI of 80 gets and 80, a loss gets you 40 points. SI varies based on results throughout the year.

Teams are ranked in each category. OSI values are worth 60 percent of the formula, power points 40 percent. That added number makes the UPR, with lower numbers better. The best UPR a team can have is a 1, which is first in both power points and OSI.

The UPR is calculated for the NJSIAA by the website Gridiron New Jersey. Central Jersey Sports Radio also does its own unofficial calculations throughout the season, and will unveil its playoff projections in our annual special broadcast, this year on Saturday, October 21 from 5-7 pm, presented by My Family Appliances in Edison.

North Group 2

The only Big Central Conference school in the North Group 2 supersection in Bernards, and the Mountaineers are in really good shape. They’re in second place overall, which means if the playoffs started today, they would be the top seed in North Jersey, Section 2, Group 2.

Westwood is the overall No. 1 team at the moment, and they’d be the top seed in North 1, Group 1. Both teams are 5-0.

Caldwell (4-0) – which is on the state’s longest active winning streak, currently at 32 games – is not far behind Bernards, just 6/10 of a UPR point in back of them, while Hanover Park (4-0) in fourth is just one full point off the mark.

The Mounties’ schedule is about average for the last four games, with North Plainfield, Bound Brook, New Providence and Governor Livingston. Sure, they might have to win out to retain a top seed, but with that schedule, they should.

South Group 2

Currently, Pt. Pleasant Boro (4-0) and Rumson-Fair Haven (2-2) sit in the top two spots, with the highest-standing BCC team being New Providence checking in at No. 6. The Pioneers are 3-2 with a 6.4 UPR, and if they keep playing how they’ve been, have a really good shot at a first round home game in the playoffs. Their schedule is good, with three of the last four teams already having three or more wins (Johnson and Middlesex have three wins each, Bernards is 5-0).

Then, it’s down to 11th place for Spotswood, despite the fact the Chargers are 5-0. That’s partly a product of their schedule, which isn’t great throughout.

They already toughened up their schedule by dropping Bishop Eustace for their opener and adding Bordentown, but having Highland Park on the schedule hurt them, as does having JP Stevens on Cutoff Weekend.

Last year’s Chargers were 6-3 at the cutoff – missed the playoffs – and finished 7-3. Their losses were to Roselle Park, Johnson and Brearley. They’ve already beaten the Bears. The Panthers are this weekend and the Crusaders in two more weeks.

Win the games they should and Spotswood will be in the playoffs. Any loss along the road could make things dicey.

Delaware Valley (3-2) is right behind the Chargers, and is also a good bet to make the playoffs, though with their schedule, they should have a little more margin for error.

Can Johnson make the playoffs? Sure, why not. ALJ is 3-1, and out of the picture right now in 20th place, but they have three solid opponents the next few weeks before closing with winless South River. New Providence is this week and a road game at Spotswood comes in two weeks. Both are teams ahead of them in the standings at the moment, and even a split would do wonders for the Crusaders’ chances.

And even a loss to Hillside – which comes in the middle of those two games – would not be the end of the world. Johnson’s OSI is 36.43, and a loss to the Comets (76.25 SI) would get them 38.13 points. Inotherwords, a loss to Hillside is worth more than a win over South River.

North Group 1

Last year, Brearley held on to their standing enough to pick up a first-round home game, then hosted another thanks to a first-round upset by Kinnelon.

This year, it’s a different story for Brearley, which is 2-2, but finds itself in 15th place. There are a lot of .500 teams ahead of them, with the highest being in ninth. Again, we’re seeing the lack of small schools with quality records hurt the small schools that have playoff aspirations.

Their wins have come over Roselle Park and Dayton, a combined 2-6. The Bears might just need wins over two of their three strongest opponents remaining: South Hunterdon (4-1) this week, Middlesex and Dunellen (both 3-1) the last two weeks.

Roselle Park (2-2) is in an even worse situation than Brearley. They’re also .500, but stand in 21st place with a 21.2 UPR, 4.6 UPR points (not insurmountable) out of 16th place. Keep an eye on the Panthers here, who have an opportunity still with a huge game Friday night at home against unbeaten Spotswood (5-0), then go to Middlesex next week, and host Dunellen the week after.

South Group 1

The highest team in the standings heading into Week 5 is South Hunterdon (4-1). The Eagles are in good shape for making the playoffs, but not quite a lock for a first round home game yet.

They’ve only got three games left that count before the cutoff, with big rival New Hope-Solebury (PA) on the schedule for Cutoff Weekend. Out-of-state games don’t count for playoff calculations in either power points or OSI, so they will need to solidify their position.

One slip up the next three weeks could find the Eagles on the road in the first round of the postseason. Right behind them in eighth place is Middlesex (3-1). Their schedule is good after a home game with Belvidere this weekend, but they still will likely need to win out to clinch a top eight position and a first-round home game.

Go down to 13th place and you’ll find Manville, which is 2-3. Hard to believe that a couple of seasons ago, with six wins at the cutoff, they missed the playoffs. Here they are sub-.500 and well into the field.

We’d still consider them a bubble team for now, but at least they’re on the right side of it, with a 15.8 UPR, and 1.8 UPR points ahead of 17th place Pennsville.

A little further down is Dunellen (3-1). The Destroyers are having a nice season, and if they can stay healthy, could be a nudge in the playoffs – even more than they are to opponents in the regular season. And their schedule is strong enough that if they keep winning, they will do more than just tread water in the standings. A loss or two and they could be doing some scoreboard watching.

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 2: Ramblers winning big, Red Devils’ debut”

We’re back with another episode of “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” as veteran CJSR sportscaster Mike Pavlichko shares notes, stats, and observations on area high school football.

This week, a look at Hunterdon Central’s first-ever appearance in our polls, Big Central win streaks, and the early dominance of Carteret.

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

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

That’s right, it’s Season Two of “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” and veteran CJSR sportscaster Mike Pavlichko is back with his thoughts and observations on area high school football.

In our first edition of this 2023 season, Mike Pavlichko gives plaudits to the two coaches who got their first wins at their schools this past weekend, two big wins for Carteret and St. Thomas Aquinas over South Jersey parochial powers, a coach’s take on JP Stevens, and cramping issues.

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

2023 Big Central Preview: Freedom Silver

Questions abound for 2022 Freedom Silver winner Manville, which lost an enormous number of Mustangs to graduation. The question, though, is who might take their place?

Manville may still be in the mix, as the naming of defensive coordinator Dave Markowitch as head coach keeps another homegrown talent at the helm and provides some continuity.

South Hunterdon – 6-3 a year ago – might be the next best challenger to the Mustangs, led by veteran mentor and “program guy” Toby Jefferis.

After that, there are even more questions: Can Middelsex’s youth learn from experience? Can Chiekezie Ogbuewu have an even better year this year for Dunellen’s “offense in a phone booth?” And can Belvidere get in the win column for the first time under second-year head coach Jordon Schreffler?

Click below to listen to Mike Pavlichko’s preview of the Freedom Silver Division from the Big Central Conference’s inaugural Media Days:

Gorbatuk classmate, longtime assistant Markowitch keeps continuity at Manville

When Pat Gorbatuk left the coaching sidelines in football and wrestling to become the school’s next Athletic Director, promoting from within made complete sense.

That’s why he made the strong suggestion to outgoing AD Steve Venuto to hire Dave Markowitch, who’s been his special teams coordinator for the last eight years – and also coached offense and defense prior – to be the Mustangs’ next head coach.

It makes perfect, logical sense: someone who’s not only already in the school – he’s an assistant wrestling coach and track and field coach, too – but grew up in Manville, and graduated from Manville. That was in 1999.

Gorbatuk was his classmate, and graduated a year later.

The idea was to keep the coaching staff together – which happened – and keep the Mustangs’ program on the same track it was on under Gorbatuk’s leadership.

Manville football was 8-2 last year, 14-5 over the past two seasons, with two sets of back-to-back winning campaigns in the last six non-COVID-shortened years.

But for the last two seasons, Gorbatuk also had exceptional talent, including a generational talent in Shawn Purcell, who will be a preferred walk-on at Rutgers under Greg Schiano this fall.

There will be a lot of new names on the turf in Manville this season, just not on the coaching staff.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Manville head coach Dave Markowitch about his upcoming first sesason at the helm of the Mustangs’ football program:

Manville football, wrestling coach Pat Gorbatuk promoted to Athletic Director

The good news is, Manville’s Pat Gorbatuk is staying in town.

But it’s bittersweet for him to leave his posts as football and wrestling coach, posts he has held for the last 12 and 16 years, respectively, to become the next Athletic Director, replacing Stephen Venuto.

On the football field, his teams went 40-72 with three playoff berths, but that came after 1-9 records the first five seasons. Since 2016, the Mustangs have been .500 or better all but two seasons, one of them the very difficult COVID year, going 35-27 in that span

In wrestling, his teams amassed 230 wins, including a 23-3 campaign this past year, as well as four division titles, three sectional finals appearance, and two state place-winners, both in the last nine years: Brian Kuhlman in 2015 and Michael Tyle in 2018.

Gorbatuk also had two stints coaching boys’ and girls’ track and field for nine seasons between 2009 and 2020.

The draw for Gorbatuk has always been the sense of community in Manville, a small town, and one of the smallest high schools in Central Jersey.

Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talked with Gorbatuk about his new job, and the ones he leaves behind; click below to hear the interview: