Tag: Manville

Group 1 playoff analysis: Manville stays near the top after blanking South Hunterdon

At the midway point of the season, it’s time to start honing in on the playoff picture, with just four weeks to go before the state cutoff for public schools. We begin our analysis with Group One.

SOUTH (Click here for official standings)

Manville didn’t move an inch in either direction in the South Group 1 UPR standings after a huge 13-0 shutout win at home over South Hunterdon Friday night, but it still helped them immensely.

After missing the playoffs with a 6-2 record at the cutoff last year – and a late loss to Metuchen hurting their cause – the Mustangs are looking solid in a bid to make the playoffs for the first time since 2017.

Manville remains in fourth place, 4-1, with a UPR of 3.6. With the 16th place team having a 16.2 UPR, we think the Mustangs may have locked up a playoff berth with the win, providing they take care of business the rest of the way. And they should; of their next four opponents, Dunellen (on the road Friday night) is the only one with any wins this season (2-2). The remaining three – Belvidere, Highland Park, and on the road at Bound Brook, in that order – all are winless in 2022.

Even with an inexplicable loss to one of those clubs, Manville should still make the playoffs, but should they run the table, it’s a pretty safe bet the Mustangs will open the playoffs at home.

Woodbury is the top team in the supersection, followed by Salem. It’s unlikely Manville would catch either, based on their schedule, and they could slip a bit the next few weeks depending on what teams around them do, and what their schedules look like. For example, the teams ahead of them may have tougher schedules, but they also may be more likely to lose a game than Manville.

The picture will become clearer in a few weeks.

South Hunterdon drops one spot to 9th with the loss. And a defeat to a good team like Manville (or if the Mustangs had lost to the Eagles) actually would do less to hurt them than a loss to lesser teams, which is why the drop wasn’t more precipitous.

But South Hunterdon has a stronger schedule, and only three games left, starting with a road game in Kenilworth against undefeated Brearley this Friday. That’s two big ones in a row for South Hunterdon. (More on Brearley when we look at North 1.)

Middlesex is a bubble team at this point, checking in at 15, with a 16.2 UPR after a 43-42 overtime win over Dunellen. Behind them is Pitman at 16 with a 16.2 UPR and Palmyra with a 16.4 UPR in 17th place.

NORTH (Click here for official standings)

There are a lot of good teams at the top of this supersection, with five undefeated squads among the top seven. From the top down, it’s Mountain Lakes and Wood-Ridge in the top two spots, both 4-0, followed by a pair of Cedar Grove (4-1), Park Ridge (3-1) and another 4-0 team, Waldwick, in fifth.

Brearley is in 6th, also with a 4-0 mark, tied with Weequahic out of Newark with a 5.8 UPR. The South Hunterdon game is critical this Friday night because it’s the best remaining team on their schedule, with a 63.56 Strength Index value.

This week’s opponent for the Bears, Highland Park (0-5), is down to 18.9 in the Strength Index (but NJSIAA rules set a minimum 20 pts for OSI calculation), so even a win their will cause Brearley’s 46.3 OSI to drop. Assuming they get at least 20 for beating the Owls, they will drop to a 41.04 this week (pending the change in value of other teams they’ve played).

“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”:

Manville picks up a solid Week Zero win against Shore Conference foe Keyport.

Out-of-conference matchups are pretty typical in Week Zero, and can be a good measuring stick against potential future playoff opponents.

The Mustangs got out of the gate fast, 16-0, before allowing a 76-yard kick return to make it 16-6 at the half.

Manville picked up a good win Friday night against one of those teams, Keyport of the Shore Conference, was 6-3 a year ago

Senior Shawn Purcell was responsible for the first three Manville scores, with a safety on a blocked punt out the back of the end zone, then touchdown catches of 16 and nine yards from veteran QB Danny Wildgoose, who may even be a more impactful player on defense, another story for another time.

Wildgoose added a three-yard run after Keyport ame out of the break with a score to cut it to 16-12 (and Manville blocked the PAT), then Purcell answered another Keyport score with his third TD of the game, this time an 8-yard run.

Wildgoose threw for 98 yards and two scores, while Purcell rushed for 100 yards even.

Click below to hear Manville head coach Pat Gorbatuk discuss the Mustangs’ season-opening win:

Playoff update: Girls’ Basketball Public Sections

Central Jersey Sports Radio continues taking a look at the playoff picture, with Saturday’s NJSIAA cutoff for state tournament qualification almost immediately on the horizon. We’ve got a section-by-section breakdown of public girls’ basketball teams in the Greater Middlesex Conference and Somerset County. All power points are the official NJSIAA totals as made available on NJ.com as of 6:30 pm Thursday.

Central Jersey Group 4: While Hightstown (16-5) and Jackson Memorial (15-2) lead this section with 375 and 365 points respectively, Monroe (13-3, 357) should stay in third, with only Edison on the schedule tonight before Saturday, and the Eagles already are their lowest power point total, so they won’t gain. After Middletown South (13-4, 342) in fourth, there’s East Brunswick at 14-5, with 327 points. Most of these teams are fairly well in place, with maybe a chance they could nudge up or down one spot. Marlboro (11-7, 311) is sixth, followed by North Brunswick (12-7, 299) and South Brunswick (14-6, 297). Behind them are Montgomery (9-8, 282) and Old Bridge (11-6, 278) in tenth. Sayreville, though 6-12 (171 pts) should be in over Long Branch, which is 5-8 with 155 points.

North Jersey, Scetion 2 – Group 4: While it remains to be seen if Franklin (13-3, 367) is anything like its pre-pandemic self – they were en route to another Tournament of Champions appearance before COVID shut things down – they have steadily improved this year. Westfield (16-4, 409) is the top seed here, but the Warriors could be the definition of a “sneaky two-seed,” if such a thing actually exists. The shouldn’t get caught from behind either by Scotch Plains-Fanwood, which is in third at 14-3, with 366 points. Ridge, at just 9-12, with 293 points, actually checks in fifth, followed by Watchung Hills (9-6, 276) and Woodbridge (11-6, 267). Then Hillsborough is 9th, at 10-7 (264 points). In 14th and 15th, respectively, are Bridgewater-Raritan (3-17, 172) and JP Stevens (4-15, 171).

Central Jersey Group 3: Yes, the Colonia boys are in North 2, but the girls are in Central. That’s how it works when you have boys’ only and girls’ only schools. The Patriots (19-2, 382) are in second place, and the White Division champions of the GMC are likely to stay there. They won’t catch top-seed Ewing (15-1, 394) and the next closest team below them – Wall (14-4) – is 58 points back. Go all the way outside the top 8 and you’ll find South Plainfield (10-8) in 9th with 246 points. It’s unlikely could earn a home game by jumping up, because they can’t get any more residuals. Down at 12 is Somerville (9-8, 215), then JFK (9-8, 199).

Central Jersey Group 2: Manasquan (19-3) is the top team here with 485 points, then New Providence (17-1, 423), but third-place Middlesex (16-2, 369) is well behind them. The question is, can Bound Brook (15-4, 367) gain two points to jump fourth-place Rumson-Fair Haven (12-8, 368)? Not in residuals, and their highest power point total is 16. But if they beat 17-2 Woodbury Saturday? Sure could! Checking in at No. 8 is South River (14-5, 282), then Johnson (11-7, 246) and Spotswood (12-7, 240) in tenth. Metuchen is in 12th at 9-9 (198), and Piscataway Tech is solidly in, but 15th place at 8-10 (157).

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 2: The only area team here is Bernards (5-10, 182) checking in at No. 11. The top seed here is Madison (12-6, 328).

Central Jersey Group 1: After top team New Egypt, at 12-1, 316 points, there’s Woodbridge Academy (15-2, 303). Probably can’t make up that ground, but a 2-seed is nice, too. Somerset Tech (12-5, 254) is in fourth, seven points ahead of Shore (10-10) in fifth. Down to nine we find Perth Amboy Tech (6-9, 154), which won’t crack the top eight. Immediately behind them are Manville (4-13, 150) and Highland Park (6-13, 149). Dunellen (4-14, 121) is in 13th.

Playoff update: Boys’ Basketball Public Sections

Continuing with a look at state playoff seeding projections, we’re taking a look at boys’ basketball public sections in Central and North 2. Remember that unlike most years when the first 16 games on a team’s schedule are counted, only the top 13 power point values are added this year. So, teams playing past their 16th game can still accumulate power points, but not full games’ worth. If a game makes the top 13, the lowest score is dropped, and all that is gained is the difference between the lowest of the 13, and the new score.

(Example: a team’s lowest among it’s top 13 scores is a 15. If it wins a game worth 20 points, the 15 is dropped, and the 20 added, for a net gain of 5.)

The analysis below is based on official NJSIAA calculations as available on NJ.com as of 9 am Tuesday:

Central Jersey Group 4: The top team here is Marlboro (17-2) with 454 points, and Monroe (18-3) is behind in second them at 413. They’re unlikely to get the top seed, but also unlikely to get caught from behind by Jackson Memorial (12-5, 361, 3rd) and definitely not by South Brunswick (12-6, 329, 4th). Both teams could gain since their 13th power point value is a loss, but not enough to overtake the Falcons. Next up from the CJSR area is No. 10 Montgomery (10-8, 244), then East Brunswick (8-8, 242) at 12. Both could move in a tight pack either up or down. Speaking of which, teams 15 through 17 are all from the GMC, and could be make or break this week. Old Bridge is 15th at 7-12 with 208 points, followed by Sayreville (8-10, 184) and North Brunswick (7-14, 176). It’s probably the Bombers and Raiders battling it out for that last playoff spot. North Brunswick has Edison Wednesday, and Sayreville is at St. Thomas Aquinas Tuesday and hosts Colts Neck Friday. Either team could add games before Saturday’s cutoff to get in. This could get interesting.

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 4: You’ve got Watchung Hills (14-3, 361) in the catbird’s seat here, led by Elijah Lewis, who just committed to Adelphi this week. Westfield is 16 points behind, and it may be tough for them to catch up with 13 wins already. How about Franklin (11-6, 341) making a push, though? The Warriors have room for two more wins here, and might be able to make up the 20 point disparity, so look out; they currently sit in third. Ridge is right behind them wrapping up the top four at 13-5 with 326 points, but with 13 wins, they’re less likely to make a move than Franklin. Toward the middle of the pack, JP Stevens (9-7, 275) is tied with Elizabeth (8-5, 275) for 7th, but both have room for improvement this week. Edison (12-6, 260) is right behind, but already has 12 wins, so it’s doubtful the Eagles can crack the top eight. Bridgewater-Raritan (8-11, 250) is 12th, followed by resurgent Piscataway (8-7, 246), which has won four in a row and six of its last eight after a rough 2-5 start.

Central Jersey Group 3: The only area team in contention here is Somerville (5-12, 161 points) in the bottom half of the pack in 12th place, solidly in that bottom half, but solidly in the field of 16. Manasquan is the current top team at 13-4, followed by 14-4 Robbinsville.

North Jersey, Section 2 – Group 3: Here’s some intrigue: South Plainfield out of the GMC Blue is in first at 17-3, with 351 power points, while Colonia from the GMC White at 14-3 with 332 points is in second. It’ll be tough for the Patriots to make up that ground having 14 wins already; getting one of the pair against St. Thomas Aquinas sure would have helped. They’re the only area teams in contention in this section.

Central Jersey Group 2: With 13 wins already, a loss to Immaculata may not have hurt Bound Brook all that much, but it didn’t help either. The Crusaders (13-1, 357) have a slim shot at No. 1 Rumson-Fair Haven (13-2), which is only ahead by six points, with 363. For example, their lowest value is a 15, a win over North Plainfield. A win over Hunterdon Central (which has 7 wins) Tuesday would be worth 6 quality points, 4 group points, and 15 residual points, for a total of 25. Drop the 15, add 25 and the net gain is 10. They’d jump ahead of the Bulldogs, but now it depends what they do. Bottom line: the Crusaders are still in play in the critical final week for a top seed. South River (13-4, 312) checks in 5th here, with Middlesex (9-10) at ten, and Roselle (11-15, 251) and Spotswood (13-5, 248) not far behind them. Metuchen (7-10, 165) appears to be sitting comfortably in 16; don’t expect anyone behind the Bulldogs to challenge them.

Central Jersey Group 1: It looks like Perth Amboy Tech (11-4, 214) is a lock for the four- or five-seed. They currently sit in fifth, and the only real difference as a potential extra home game if things go to chalk. Further down the standings, Highland Park (4-12, 141) checks in at 12, followed immediately by Manville (7-9, 135, 13th) and South Amboy (5-9, 122, 14th). Somerset Tech (3-15, 105) is 14th. Burlington City is the top team here at 12-4

Fundraising University New Jersey’s “Unsung Hero Scholarship Award” goes to Manville’s Brandon Flores

In 2020, COVID was the story, and the inaugural Fundraising University New Jersey “Unsung Hero Scholarship Award” went to St. Joe’s of Metuchen’s Tommy Romond, who kept his team together on the field, despite being apart.

In 2021, the award goes to a Manville senior who helped keep his community together.

That community was, in part, his football team, but in greater part, the entire town of Manville, in the wake of the utter destruction caused by the remnants of Tropical Storm Ida back in early September.

Manville has been through many storms before, and too many to count in recent years, but the tiny Somerset County town probably has never seen a dynamo like Brandon Flores. He had teammates who lost everything. He helped them first, then it was on to anyone who needed assistance, moving out flooded items, passing out bottled water.

Brandon Flores of Manville (source: Hudl)

Just taking care of his community.

For his efforts, Flores receives the “Unsung Hero Scholarship Award,” a $500 scholarship coutesy of John Tuohy at Fundraising University New Jersey.

Click below to listen to Brandon Flores recall the night Ida hit Manville, and what he did for his community in the aftermath:

Click the link above to find out how Fundraising University can help sports teams and organizations raise the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Or contact John Tuohy at 732-772-3354 or jtuohy@fundraisingu.net

You – the fans – get to pick again! It’s the Jersey Central Sports Radio “Highlight Reel Play of the Year.” Watch the video, and vote!

Central Jersey Sports Radio is giving YOU the chance to weigh in on your favorite play of the 2021 high school football season!

We received a lot of entries from high school football coaches all across the Big Central. We spent days, even hours, until we finally narrowed it down to six.

Watch the video below, then scroll down to vote for your favorite!!
Voting ends at 11:59 pm on Monday, Dec. 13.
Remember: Vote early, vote often!

Instant Replay: No. 1 Somerville 45, Summit 22

Click below to listen to the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland from Friday, October 29, 2021.

No. 1 Somerville won its sixth straight game (not including a COVID-related forfeit) 45-22 over Summit to improve to 7-2 on the season and win the Big Central Division 3 title. Summit drops to 5-4.

Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call the action from Brooks Field in Somerville

1st Half

2nd Half

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.

Instant Replay: Manville 51, Bound Brook 27

Click below to listen to the “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland from Friday, October 22, 2021.

Manville set a program record for points scored against Bound Brook, defeating the Crusaders 51-27 to improve to 6-1 on the season. Bound Brook drops to 3-5.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino call the action from LaMonte Field in Bound Brook.

1st Half

2nd Half