Tag: New Brunswick

Fledgling New Brunswick women’s football team provides opportunities for camaraderie and empowerment, and they’re seeking new players

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You probably didn’t know it, but there’s a women’s football team – 11-on-11, full contact – right under your nose.

Or at least there will be come April, when the New Brunswick-based Tri-State Warriors take the field at the city’s Memorial Stadium.

Yes, it’s regular football alright. The Women’s Football Alliance launched in 2009, and there have been a few teams in New Jersey, but they’ve all gone away.

Enter Rich Harrigan and his best buddy from their college days, Lybrant “LB” Robinson, a former standout defensive end at Delaware State who was drafted in 1989 by Washington.

Scroll down to hear Harrigan talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about the team, and their upcoming open tryouts.

The two are franchise co-owners; Harrigan serves as head coach and offensive coordinator, while Robinson is the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Harrigan has coached with various teams in the league for years.

Over the next few weeks, the team is holding open tryouts. Women must be at least 18 years of age, but Harrigan stresses no experience is necessary. Click on the graphic below to go to the tryout page:

Tri-State Warriors’ co-owner and head coach Rich Harrigan talks with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about the team, his background, end empowering women to play football just like the guys.

Hillsborough – trying to finish unbeaten for the first time in nearly 50 years – still have work to do to bring home a title

Richard Nixon had just begun his second term as president. Fed Ex made its first flight. A Charlie Brown Christmas debuted.

Hillsborough football went undefeated, 8-0-1.

That was the year before the playoff era, and not since have the Raiders gone an entire season undefeated. But they’ll have a chance to do that as the top seed in South Group 5, as Hillsborough (9-0) embarks on the 2021 NJSIAA playoffs Friday night, hosting 8th-seed New Brunswick (4-5).

Kevin Carty Jr.’s team hasn’t really had a hiccup. They closest they came to defeat was trailing 14-0 at home early in the season to Phillipsburg, but they came back to send the game to overtime, and won it 21-14.

Led by receiver/now-runningback and Rutgers commit Thomas Amankwaa, QB Jay Mazuera, tight end/defensive end Will Dixon and runningback Tyler Michinard, and a quality supporting cast, the Raiders may be the favorite through the entire playoffs.

But it won’t matter if they can’t beat the Zebras tonight at Noonan Field.

Click below to hear Dom Savino talk with Hillsbrough head coach Kevin Carty about the Raiders and their opening round matchup with New Brunswick:

South Group 5 Week 9 Breakdown: Hillsborough plays North Brunswick with top-seed on the line, three others appear “in”

In the South Group 5 supersection, four teams appear to be in the playoffs, with one more on the bubble. Here’s the team-by-team breakdown of scenarios heading into Week 9:

Hillsborough: The undefeated Raiders (8-0) have one more obstacle to claim one of the two top seeds here. A win at home Friday night over North Brunswick (6-2) would give them the overall top seed if Washington Twp. (6-2) loses to St. Joseph of Hammonton (7-2). If the Minutemen beat Joe’s, they get the overall No. 1 and Hillsborough would be No. 2, but still get a top seed in their respective supersection. Should the Raiders lose, however, what Washington Twp. does is likely irrelevant. But it could bump the Raiders all the way out of the top four, depending on what Manalapan does at Central Friday night. A win for the Braves would bump the Raiders to fifth, but a loss would keep them at least in the top four, but move them into the South Jersey section with Washington Twp. Bottom line: Hillsborough has a lot more to lose than in this game that to gain. This is as close to a must-win as it gets if they want a top seed.

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

North Brunswick: We ran the numbers a few different ways, and it doesn’t appear there’s a scenario where North Brunswick could get one of the top two seeds – and thus a top seed in the sectionals – even with a win over Hillsborough. It certainly had looked like the two were heading for that collision course a couple of weeks ago with this matchup looming at Noonan Field in Week 9. But any way you slice it, we think the best North Brunswick can do is finish third. The issue is they’re already first in power points, so there’s nowhere to gain there in UPR. They don’t catch Cherokee in OSI with a win, but Cherokee is done playing, with no game this week, so there’s no way for them to drop. But should North Brunswick lose to Hillsborough, they could drop out of the top four. Their only way back in would appear to be with a Manalapan (5-2) loss to Central (6-2).

Old Bridge: The Knights (6-2) sit in 8th in the playoff standings, but it’s going to be a bit precarious unless they beat Sayreville (6-2) in the Battle of Route 9. If they do that, it doesn’t look like anyone can knock them from the top eight and prevent them from getting a first-round home game. A loss, and yes, the Knights can get caught from behind.

East Brunswick: The Bears (7-1) are having a great year; their only loss was to the Knights by a field goal in Week One. They’re in 11th, and it appears they won’t be able to make up enough ground this week to get into the top eight, as they host Franklin (1-7) at Jay Doyle Field.

Edison: The Eagles (5-3) are in the same boat as East Brunswick, albeit a bit further back in the standings. They’re in the playoffs, no doubt, but have Watchung Hills (1-7) at the Eagles’ Nest Friday night, so they won’t make a jump even with a victory.

New Brunswick: The Zebras (3-5) still have a shot at this thing, seeking their first playoff berth since 2016. How do they get in? It starts with a 4-4 win at Monroe Friday night, which may be a toss-up. That alone gets them from 18th to 17th, so that’s going to require some help. They need at least a loss by Marlboro (5-3) at home against Jackson (2-6) Saturday, and we’ll see what else. So, it could come down to some scoreboard watching for the Zebras, provided they beat the Falcons first.

North Brunswick gets big multiplier boost in South 5; Old Bridge falls, Hillsborough stands pat at the top

There was no change in the position of Hillsborough in the unofficial Week 8 UPR standings calculated after Friday night’s games by Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Raiders – who won at Piscataway 36- Friday night – maintained a 2 UPR, and now have a wide lead over the third place team, but the teams have changed places.

Previous No. 3 Washington Twp. – which plays tomorrow at “C” multiplier St. Joe’s-Hammonton – moved up to second place, while Manalapan – which was second – dropped to fourth with a loss. North Brunswick jumped up four places from seventh to third with a win over multiplier St. Joe’s of Metuchen.

Old Bridge – which had been in sixth – dropped to ninth after a 43-6 win over a weak J.P. Stevens team.

Idle East Brunswick – which plays South Brunswick Saturday – stayed the course in 11th place, while Edison broke its 13th place tie with Egg Harbor, which is behind the, now by 0.8 UPR points. Edison crushed Hunterdon Central Friday night in Flemington 42-7; Egg Harbor won as well.

Outside the bubble, a win by New Brunswick would have done wonders for their playoff hopes. A loss to Sayreville, though, actually moved them up from 18th to 17th, and got them to within 0.8 UPR of 16th place Marlboro, which fell a spot.

South Brunswick got a wee bit closer, and can gain a lot more if they beat East Brunswick (6-1) Saturday afternoon.

Aquinas on the verge of tying the modern era Middlesex County shutout record

Forty-eight more minutes.

If the St. Thomas Aquinas football team can blank Governor Livingston over that time period, they will tie a modern era Middlesex County record of seven shutouts in a season, which a number of teams have done.

Shutouts are not easy to come by. Ask any football coach.

One false move, and the second-string runningback is off to the races. It takes focus, skill, and sometimes luck.

All that has been on St. Thomas Aquinas’ side this season.

They are 6-0 on the season, and have won their first six games by shutout.

A win over the Highlanders would give them seven, a mark last reached by Piscataway in 2004. That team went 12-0 and won the Central Jersey Group 4 title, led by future NFL first round draft picks Kyle Wilson, Malcolm Jenkins and Anthony Davis.

When the Cheifs did it, it had been even longer since the last time.

According to an exhaustive search of team records in the Dr. Roger Saylor Collection at Penn State University Libraries – which has every New Jersey football team’s results up until 2010 – the last Middlesex County team to reach seven shutouts in a season before the 2004 Chiefs was South River in 1978.

The Rams turned the trick en route to a state title and an 11-0 season, while JP Stevens did the same in their state title season the year prior, going 10-0-1 in 1977.

Those three schools – maybe to soon be joined by Aquinas – are the only ones from Middlesex County to shutout seven teams in a season in the playoff era.

Seven other Middlesex County teams collected seven shutouts in a season:

  • New Brunswick, during a 7-1-1 season in 1964
  • Highland Park, during an 8-1 season in 1960
  • Highland Park, during an 8-0-1 season in 1958
  • New Brunswick, during an 8-1-0 season in 1943
  • Carteret, during an 8-0-1 season in 1940
  • St. Peter’s-New Brunswick, during a 7-1-1 season in 1939
  • Carteret, during a 9-1 season in 1934

Notable about the two Highland Park seven-shutout seasons is that they came during an unprecedented and still-unmatched stretch of nine years in which the Owls went a combined 71-7-3, with a total of 43 shutouts from 1957 to 1965. A whopping three out of every five wins was a shutout over that span, and they they won 7 state titles, in 1958 and then six straight from 1960-65.

And yet, seven is not the all-time Middlesex County record.

The 1936 New Brunswick team went 7-2-1 officially, but had eight shutouts that year, according to the Saylor records (the tie was 0-0 against Columbia in Maplewood). Those included a 34-0 win over Mexico City, Mexico. There’s also a 14-0 win over Edison High out of Miami with an unknown “B” designation next to it. According to newspaper reports at the time, it was a big to-do. It was the first-ever game between high schools from New Jersey and Florida; the “Edison Eleven” came to New Jersey on a liner ship from Miami. They were greeted in New Brunswick, shown around Rutgers, and toured New York City with the New Brunswick team, all on the dime of the publisher of the Daily Home News, Elmer Boyd.

And that still isn’t the record.

Sitting at the top of the list is St. Peter’s. The now-closed Catholic school in New Brunswick holds the all-time Middlesex County record of nine shutouts in a season, going 10-0 in 1938. However, three of the schools were from out-of-state, including St. Jerome’s of Tamaqua and Mauch Chunk Catholic in Pennsylvania, a powerhouse that only began football in 1935 and was known as “the little Notre Damers,” winning 21 games in their first three seasons. St. Peter’s also played St. Agnes of Sparkskill and St. Catherine’s in New York. In fact, only one public school was on the schedule that year; they blanked Harrison 6-0.

We’ll find out if St. Thomas Aquinas can join such elite company late Friday night.

Week 8 Analysis: Hillsborough surges to No. 1 in South Group 5; three others look safe

There were three football games in Week 7 that were matchups of two teams ranked in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Big Central Top Ten.

Only one panned out to be a competitive game – Cranford beating Woodbridge by ten – while Hillsborough and Union steamrolled their way to shutouts.

For the Raiders, it propelled them to No.1 in the South Jersey Group 5 playoff standings.

Now 7-0, Hillsborough was boosted by beating a strong opponent, North Brunswick, and jumped from fourth last week to the top spot this week. That’s a good example of strength of schedule, and how it can play in a team’s favor. Previous No. 1 Manalapan won, as did Washington Township (which was second, now third) and Cherokee (which was third, now fourth).

However, the race is tighter at the top than before. Following Week Seven, Manalapan led Washington Township by a full UPR point, and Cherokee by 1.2 UPR points. This week, Hillsborough is just 0.2 UPR points ahead of second-place Manalapan, and 0.6 ahead of Washington Township.

Remember, the top seed versus the two seed means little in the state playoffs, at least for now. The top two teams get the number one seeds in separate sections of eight once they break off and snake the brackets, meaning they get guaranteed home field advantage through all three rounds of the sectionals. The regional championships will be at a neutral site. (That could change next year, though, when football plays to a group champion for the first time ever.)

Of course, the Raiders need to keep on winning. The question is not whether, but how much, the Piscataway game next week will hurt them – the Chiefs have an SI value of 48.83, while ‘Boro’s OSI is a 63.65. A win over North Brunswick, which should be around 67 by next week, will help them. And then it comes down to how the teams behind them do. Manalapan has Red Bank Catholic (7-0) this week, after the Shore conference abandoned its pod idea in favor of set matchups. It’s their second multiplier this season, but they can only take one anyway. And, of course, it’s a game the Braves could lose. Washington Twp. has only one game left, against St. Joe’s of Hammonton (6-2). And while Kingsway (3-3) this week won’t drop Cherokee much even if they win, Seneca the next week (OSI likely to be in the 40s) will.

We say if Hillsborough keeps winning, they’ll end up with home field throughout the sectionals.

Further down the list are Old Bridge and North Brunswick in sixth and seventh, respectively. Each dropped just one spot despite the big losses; Old Bridge 44-0 at Hillsborough without injured Owen Haughney, and North Brunswick 42-0 at home to Union. The drops weren’t as bad because both the Raiders and Farmers have high SI values (now 89.78 and 88.99, respectively) and are still worth some power points because they have a lot of wins (Hillsborough 7, Union 6).

The Knights have a road game at JP Stevens which does them no favors this week and a home game against Sayreville on the Cutoff. The Raiders have St. Joseph-Metuchen at home this week and Hillsborough away on Week Nine. Old Bridge likely would clinch a top 8 finish and a guaranteed first round home game if they can win out, and still may if they split (beating JP and losing to the Bombers).

North Brunswick almost has the easier path despite the more difficult games. St. Joseph is a multiplier, so even a loss means they would gain a lot in power points, 28 to be exact, more than any of their other wins so far this season. Beat them (worth 42 points), and they could even end up in the top 4 and get first round through the semis, especially if they win out. Even a loss against Hillsborough might not be the end of the world, given their strong rating, and thanks to the Joe’s multiplier.

After Williamstown at 8 and Southern at 9, things get a little murkier.

Donovan Catholic was forced to take several forfeits earlier this season after using an ineligible player. The NJSIAA ruled that since they’re a multiplier, it wouldn’t be fair for public schools who lost to them to get multiplier points for a win, so they awarded multiplier points for a loss.

In an October 8th post, Gridiron New Jersey wrote: “the NJSIAA has determined that Toms River North and Colts Neck will NOT receive the 42 points for defeating Donovan Catholic, but rather the 28 for a loss.” However, according to Central Jersey Sports Radio’s calculations, Gridiron continues to have 42 points in the power points calculation for Toms River North.

This has affected the standings, as CJSR puts Eastern in 10th, followed by East Brunswick 11th, Toms River North 12th, and Egg Harbor and Edison tied for 13th, with the edge to Egg Harbor due to a stronger OSI. Gridiron has TR North 10th, followed by Eastern, East Brunswick, Edison and Egg Harbor. Gridiron has East Brunswick one spot lower than it should be and Edison one spot higher than it should be.

An email to Gridiron New Jersey sent late Monday afternoon was not returned, and the standings were not corrected as of early Tuesday evening. We’ll keep you posted.

Nonetheless, neither team should have a crack at a home game here, but while East Brunswick (6-1) should be in, and can solidify the math with a home win over South Brunswick Friday night, the Eagles can’t afford a trip-up against Hunterdon Central or Watchung Hills, a pair of one-win teams.

What will be intriguing is whether New Brunswick (3-4) or South Brunswick (4-3) can make a push. The Zebras are 18th and have two decent games left: Sayreville and Monroe. South Brunswick is in 20th and has East Brunswick – the Bears’ 6-1 record means a lot of power points – and Bridgewater-Raritan in Week Nine, also a good game.

The good news for them is the teams ahead of them – all the way up to 16th – are not winning teams. Vineland is in 19th and just 1-6. Lenape at 16th is 2-5. The only .500 team ahead of them is Atlantic City (17th, 3-3).

We’ll paraphrase Lloyd Christmas here: “So you’re saying they have a shot!”

A look at some of the best defensive seasons in Middlesex County over the last two decades

St. Thomas Aquinas is on an unprecedented shutout streak, still not having allowed a point all season through six games, following a 41-0 win at Middlesex Thursday night.

That’s 26 full quarters of football without anyone scoring on the Trojans.

Colonia quarterback Josh Oluremi was the last person to score on Aquinas, coming in the second quarter of a 16-14 Trojans win in the second round of last year’s postseason pod play.

It’s the most shutouts a Middlesex County school has pitched since Piscataway’s dominant 2004 season, one of the program’s – and the area’s – best ever. That year, Dan Higgins’ second as head coach of the Chiefs, led them to their third straight state championship, and a 12-0 record, logging seven shutouts along the way.

They blanked JP Stevens, South Brunswick, Edison, North Brunswick, Union, Linden and Franklin (on Thanksgiving) by a combined 274-0. Perhaps what was most impressive is that the whitewashes against Union and Linden came in the first and second rounds of the playoffs.

No, that’s not even it. The most impressive part of that team was that if featured three – yes, three! – future NFL first round draft picks: Anthony Davis, Kyle Wilson and Malcolm Jenkins.

The Chiefs in 2012 allowed ten or more points just three times, including 26 in an epic overtime win over Phillipsburg in the North 2, Group 4 title game. Piscataway won 27-26 when they stopped a Stateliners’ two-point conversion to win the game on their possession.

They outscored opponents that year by a combined total of 405-66.

In fact, Piscataway has had the most seasons with the most shutouts in recent times under Dan Higgins. To wit, they logged six in 2008 when they went 11-1 and beat Hunterdon Central for the North 2, Group 4 title.

And they logged five 2018, when they won the first-ever North 5 regional championship and became the first Middlesex County team to win 13 games in a season, going 13-0.

They also shutout five opponents each in 2014 and 2011. The only one of those years they did not win a title was 2014, falling in the North 2 Group 5 semis 16-6 to Elizabeth,

Among other Middlesex County schools, Sayreville shut out five in 2003 when they went 10-1, but lost in the sectional semifinals to Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

Dunellen had a dominant defense in 2010, though its ball-control offense was its best defense, known to sometimes hold the ball nearly an entire quarter. They had five shutouts that year – over Cardinal McCarrick, Keansburg, Mater Dei, South River and New Egypt. The Destroyers lost to Shore in the Central Jersey Group 1 title game at Rutgers that year.

And New Brunswick, in its heyday under John Quinn, logged five shutouts once, but in 2004, a year they didn’t win a title. The 2003 championship team with Dwayne Jarrett blanked four opponents.

Most Shutouts in a Season since 2000 by Middlesex County schools:

  • Piscataway, 2004 – 7
  • Piscataway, 2008 – 6
  • St. Thomas Aquinas, 2021 – 6 (all consecutive)
  • Piscataway, 2018 – 5
  • Piscataway, 2014 – 5
  • Piscataway, 2011 – 5
  • Dunellen, 2010 – 5
  • New Brunswick, 2004 – 5
  • Sayreville, 2003 – 5

St. Thomas Aquinas will have a chance to tie that mark by Piscataway next week when the Trojans host Governor Livingston, which has been shutout itself in two straight games heading into Saturday’s home contest against North Plainfield.

Should they pick up their seventh then, they’ll face a stiff challenge to make it eight in a row, as they face currently-undefeated and 10th-ranked Delaware Valley on the road in their regular season finale.

Gill St. Bernard’s heads first CJSR Boys’ Basketball Top Ten

In the first Central Jersey Sports Radio preseason boys’ basketball rankings, Gill St. Bernard’s young but talented group takes the top nod.

Following are the full preseason rankings, with each team followed by last year’s record and postseason achievements:

  1. Gill St. Bernard’s (20-8, Non-Public North B runner-up)
  2. St. Thomas Aquinas (23-5, GMC Tournament champions)
  3. Rutgers Prep (27-2, SCT champions, Non-Public South B runner-up)
  4. Watchung Hills (25-5, SCT runner-up, North 2-Group 4 runner-up)
  5. South Brunswick (25-5, GMC Tournament runner-up, Central-Group 4 champions)
  6. Colonia (22-7, North 2-Group 3 finals)
  7. St. Joseph-Metuchen (19-9)
  8. Bound Brook (25-2, Central-Group 1 runner-up)
  9. Somerville (21-7)
  10. Dunellen (25-2, North 1-Group 1 runner-up)

Also receiving consideration: New Brunswick (20-8)

Woodbridge takes sole possession of top spot in CJ Sports Radio Top Ten

Though they’ve only played one game, the Woodbridge Barrons sit alone atop the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten.

Woodbridge shared the No. 1 position in the preseason and a week ago with Union, but took over on their own after the Farmers were knocked off by unranked Bridgewater-Raritan, which jumped into the poll at No. 5. The Barrons were dominant in a 34-0 win at in-town rival Colonia.

It was a tumultuous week in the Big Central Football Conference, as none of the ten teams in the Week 1 rankings retained the same spot in Week 2.

North Brunswick also entered the rankings after a win over No. 8 New Brunswick, 28-7.

Below are the Week 2 rankings.

This post has been updated to reflect Cranford and South Brunswick also receiving votes.

Union, Woodbridge share No. 1 again in Week One Top 10

Just as in the preseason Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, Union and Woodbridge share the top spot.

Both teams were affected by COVID cancellations in Week One, but only the Farmers were able to play. Westfield’s program shutdown happened far enough in advance that Union was able to find an opponent; they traveled to Eastern down in South Jersey and won 39-15.

Linden, however, cancelled on Union in the middle of the week, too late for the Barrons to find a replacement game. Woodbridge will open at Colonia Friday night.

Below is the Week One Top Ten: