Tag: North Brunswick

Phillipsburg, Aquinas get first-place votes, but Stateliners end up topping final Media Poll

With three first-place votes and a 10-2 record, the Phillipsburg Stateliners have finished 2023 as the top team in the Big Central Media Poll.

P’burg was the preseason No. 1, as well, and held the position until a late-September loss to Hillsborough in the Rumble on the Raritan. The Stateliners’ only other loss came in the North 2, Group 5 final to Union City; they came back to beat Easton on Thanskgiving, the first time they’ve beaten the Red Rovers back-to-back since 2002 and 2003.

St. Thomas Aquinas finished second in the final media poll, three points behind Phillipsburg. The Trojans (10-1) got two first-place votes. They finished the regular season undefeated with a Thanksgiving Eve victory at Immaculata, their only loss coming to DePaul in the Non-Public B semifinals.

Ridge – which finished 8-2 and made it to the North 2, Group 4 semifinals – came in third, whiel National Silver Champion North Brunswick (8-1) finished fourth.

Coming in fifth is Bernards (12-1), which set a program record for wins and took home its first-ever state sectional title three weeks ago when the Mountaineers rallied to beat Lakeland in overtime for the North 2, Group 2 Championship. They were also Patriot Gold Division Champions.

The bottom five includes Sayreville (8-3) in sixth, Hillsborough (8-3) at No. 7, Liberty Silver Division winner Montgomery (8-1-1) at eight, followed by Watchung Hills (8-3) and St. Joseph-Metuchen (7-3) at nine and ten.

Summit, Hillside, and Westfield also received votes.

Below is the full Final Big Central Media Poll for 2023:

Philipsburg ends season right where it began: No. 1 in the rankings

The final Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten of the 2023 high school football season finds Phillipsburg not where they were when we last left them, rather, back on top.

The Stateliners finished 10-2 after a loss in the North 2, Group 5 title game, but a victory over Easton for the second straight year, the first time they’ve done that in 20 years. They were also Big Central Conference American Silver Division Champions, one of five division champs to finish in the Top Ten.

The Stateliners are followed by St. Thomas Aquinas, which finished 10-1 and was the champion of the United Gold Division. The Trojans are 19-3 in two seasons under Tarig Holman, and 28-4 since the COVID-shortened season.

Ridge (8-2) – which finished second to P’burg in the United Silver – finished in third in the final rankings.

In fourth is Bernards, which at 12-1 set a school record for wins, and won the North 2, Group 2 title, its first state sectional title in program history. The Mountaineers were the only Big Central team to win a championship this season, but lost at 17-0 at Westwood in the Group 2 semifinals. They also were the Patriot Gold Division Champions.

North Brunswick, the National Silver Division Champions, finished fifth, with a record of 8-1, that lone loss coming in the first round of the playoffs by a single point to Freehold Township.

Montgomery checks in at No. 6, and like North Brunswick, suffered its only loss of the season in the playoffs, ending at 8-1-1, with the Liberty Silver Division title.

The final four teams include Hillsborough (8-3) in seventh, followed by Sayreville (8-3), St. Joseph Metuchen (7-3), and Watchung Hills (8-3). Summit, which had been tied for tenth in the last ranking after cutoff weekend, dropped out, finishing 7-3.

Below are the full Central Jersey Sports Radio Final high school football rankings for 2023:

Ridge holds at No. 1 in Big Central Media Poll, and this week, grabs a vote

For the last several weeks, Ridge has been the No. 1 team in the Big Central Media Poll, but the Red Devils had done it without a first place vote.

This week, they got one, in the final rankings before the start of the playoffs. North Brunswick and St. Thomas Aquinas split the other four first place votes.

Hillsborough fell from sixth to fourth after a Friday night home loss to Westfield, and Summit dropped out after a Saturday afternoon loss at St. Joseph-Metuchen. Watchung Hills took the vacant spot and joined the rankings at No. 10.

Below are the complete Week 9 rankings in the Big Central Media Poll:

North Brunswick holds top spot in CJSR rankings heading into playoffs

In the final Central Jersey Sports Radio high school football rankings before the playoffs begin for public schools around the state, North Brunswick maintained its No. 1 position, after finishing its regular season 8-0.

The Raiders are in the top spot for a fifth straight week, followed by Ridge, which held in second.

The rest of the rankings saw a shuffle thanks to previous No. 3 Hillsborough’s home loss Friday to unranked Westfield, and previous No. 8 Summit’s loss to then No. 10 St. Joseph-Metuchen on Saturday. The Raiders dropped to sixth, while the Hilltoppers fell into a tenth-place tie with Watchung Hills, which is back in after a one-week absence.

The next Central Jersey Sports Radio top ten will be the final one of the season, once the last Big Central team is eliminated from the state playoffs, or after Thanksgiving games are played, whichever comes later.

Below are the full Week 9 Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings:

FRIDAY Cutoff Weekend Playoff Analysis: Group 5

It’s Cutoff Weekend, and we’re the place to get all the updated playoff standings all week long, with our coverage brought to you by My Family Appliances on Route 1 South in the Wick Plaza, Edison.

We’ll have more analysis throughout the day Saturday as scores roll in. And don’t forget to join us for our “Playoff Projection Show” on Saturday at 6:00 pm as Mike Pavlichko brings you all the playoff projections, with analysis and commentary by Marcus Borden, live in studio!

Here’s an updated look at the Group 5 supersections based on Friday night results as reported to Gridiron New Jersey.


Passaic Tech clinched the top seed with a win over Paterson Eastside Thursday night, while also capping off its first perfect regular season since 1998. Phillipsburg‘s win over East Brunswick didn’t hurt them at all in power points, OSI rank or UPR, still 0.2 ahead of Union City, which also won Friday night.

Watchung Hills and Plainfield remained in fourth and fifth, respectively. The Warriors beat Elizabeth Friday night by a touchdown, but the Cardinals are in action Saturday against Franklin. We’ll see if that hurts them any, even with a win. They’re just 0.4 UPR points ahead of 6th place Montclair (5-3), which plays at Columbia (4-3) Saturday.

A loss by Union and a huge win by Westfield saw both those teams go in opposite directions Friday night. The Blue Devils beat Hillsborough on the road to improve to 4-4, and climbed from 13th to 7th pace. But the Farmers lost to Ridge and dropped from 6th to 8th place, tied with Ridgewood, which lost Friday night. It that tie remains, Union would get the tiebreaker, with a higher OSI at 52.20, compared to 48.36 for the Maroons.

Bridgewater-Raritan‘s win over Old Bridge was a big one, pushing the Panthers to 3-6 on the year, and elevating them from 15th to 14th, tied with Morristown, and if it remains that way, they Panthers get the tiebreaker with a 45.66 OSI, and Morristown with a 43.86 OSI. The Colonials lost Friday night, while Bayonne won to move from 17 to 16, with Eastside moving out to 17.

We’re taking BR off the bubble. They’re in, making it six Big Central teams in this section, with Phillipsburg the top-seed in what we think should be North 2; PCTI will get the top seed and probably be in North 1.

Key Saturday Games to Watch:

  • #5 Plainfield at Franklin
  • #6 Monctlair at #11 Columbia


The loss by Hillsborough to Westfield ended any chance the Raiders had at a top seed, having entered the night in second place. They fall to No. 5, behind No. 1 Cherokee, Toms River North, Washington Twp., and Marlboro. A win by North Brunswick over Cranford puts the Raiders up a spot to 6th place, right behind Hillsborough by one UPR point. Their standing is still up in the air though depending on two Saturday games, 4th place Marlboro hosting Middletown North and 7th place Rancocas Valley hosting Highland Regional.

Hunterdon Central moved up a spot from 9th to 8th with a win over Perth Amboy, while a South Brunswick loss to Somerville dropped the Vikings from 8th to 12th, so it looks like they start on the road. They look locked into the 12-seed at the moment, but everyone else in the BCC will have to wait for those two games tomorrow.

Key Saturday Games to Watch:

  • #4 Marlboro vs. Middletown North
  • #7 Rancocas Valley vs. Highland Regional

Cutoff Weekend Playoff Analysis: South Group 5

It’s down to the final weekend of the regular season in high school football, and Cutoff Weekend is just days away. This week, Central Jersey Sports Radio will bring you exclusive, team-by-team analysis of all the playoff scenarios for the 57 public schools in the Big Central Conference.

It’s all brought to you by My Family Appliances on Route 1 South in the Wick Plaza, Edison.

And don’t forget to join us for our “Playoff Projection Show” on Saturday at 6 pm (moved to an hour later) as Mike Pavlichko brings you all the playoff projections, with analysis and commentary by Marcus Borden, live in studio!

With that, here’s a look at the North Group 5 supersection, with all scores and playoff standings based on Gridiron New Jersey’s official calculations as of Sunday, October 15, 2023. Click on the heading to see the standings at Gridiron New Jersey:


2. Hillsborough (7-1, 2.8 UPR): We think it’s simple for the Raiders. A win over Westfield (4-6) Friday night at home would sew up second-place overall – if Toms River North loses at Red Bank Catholic (6-1) on Friday – and the top-seed in Central Jersey Group 5. (The South’s top seed would go to overall No. 1 Cherokee.) A loss, and Toms River North moves up to second regardless since RBC is a multiplier, leaving ‘Boro looking at anywhere from a three to a five seed, depending on how Washington Twp. and Marlboro do this weekend. Wins from them would push the Raiders further down; losses by both would keep Hillsborough third, we believe.

7. North Brunswick (7-0, 6.6 UPR): These Raiders’ have a huge game Friday night at home against Cranford (4-3), one of the bigger playoff implication games this weekend. Their ceiling appears to be right where they are now, at No. 7, but we don’t think everything is going to break that way. Assuming North Brunswick beats the Cougars, giving wins to everybody else from one through nine – which seems realistic except Rancocas Valley (6-2) vs. Highland Regional (4-3) could be a toss-up – and we think puts the Raiders in sixth, which would make them the three seed in Central 5, putting them on a collision course with Toms River North potentially – on the road – in the sectional semifinals. Put a North Brunswick loss in that scenario, and we think they end up seventh, the four-seed in Central 5, with a potential all-Raider semifinal in Hillsborough in the second week of the playoffs. How could you not root for matchups with the same school nickname?

8. South Brunswick (5-3, 9.2 UPR): The middle of three Big Central Conference teams lined up from seven through nine, the Vikings visit Somerville (4-4) Friday night in another critical game that could go either way. Looks like seven might be the ceiling for South Brunswick if they come home winners from Brooks Field and things break the right way for them with teams around them losing. North Brunswick’s matchup with Cranford being a toss-up, plus Rancocas Valley, makes it all the more complicated to predict where the Vikes’ will actually finish. A loss, and South Brunswick could drop to ninth, losing a first round home game in the process.

9. Hunterdon Central (5-3, 10.6 UPR): With a home win over Perth Amboy (2-6) likely, the Red Devils probably can’t get any higher than the eight seed, but jumping up to a first round home game isn’t impossible if things break the right way, including the North Brunswick-Cranford and Rancocas Valley-Highland Regional tossups (they need losses by the the Raiders and RV). But unlike the two teams above them, who play more solid opponents, a defeat to the Panthers could drop them to 11th or lower, so this is a big win for Central if they can secure it Friday night.

OUT: We tried everything in the book, giving the Knights a win over visiting Bridgewater-Raritan (2-6) Friday night, and losses to the four teams above them in both OSI and power point average – Cherry Hill East, Howell, Eastern, Williamstown, Vineland, and Southern – and could only get them as high as 17. That’s where they finished last year with a big win on Cutoff Weekend, but they got in based on an NJSIAA head-to-head tiebreaker rule with South Brunswick, which they had beaten in the regular season. This year, it’s Howell at 16, and they haven’t played, so that loophole is out, and – we believe – so are the Knights.

Unbeatens keep winning, North Brunswick still atop CJSR rankings, St. Joseph-Metuchen back in for first time since preseason

There was very little change in the Week 8 Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, the next-to-last before the playoffs begin.

North Brunswick – still unbeaten at 7-0 – remains a unanimous pick for No. 1, with Ridge, Hillsborough and Phillipsburg all following in their same spots, along with Montgomery and St. Thomas Aquinas holding on for a fifth place tie again.

The bottom four saw a shift, as Bernards, Summit and Sayreville all moved up one spot each to occupy seven though nine, while St. Joseph of Metuchen is back in the rankings for the first time since the preseason, checking in at No. 10 with a record of 5-2.

Watchung Hills – in seventh last week – dropped out after losing for the second time in the last three weeks.

Here’s the full Week 8 Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten:

Week 7 Friday night Playoff Analysis: Group 5

Note: This article contains an update to the North 5 standings and analysis due to a technical glitch on our part which didn’t include quality or group points for any of the teams. The below reflects the updated standings.

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 5. Results are calculated using scores on Gridiron New Jersey as of 9:30 am on October 14th:

A quick look shows the Stateliners held steady with their win over Union, though their lead over third-place Union City has shrunk from 0.8 UPR points to 0.2 points. The question is: can they hang on with a win over winless East Brunswick next week, or will it hurt them? And will they get some help from Union City or others behind them? The Soaring Eagles play at 3-5 Clifton next week.

Watchung Hills holds in fourth, their UPR from from 3.4 to 4, while Union drops from fifth to seventh with their loss last night to the Stateliners, and Plainfield holds in sixth with a 6.2 UPR. Bottom line is all those teams should be pretty safe for first round home games if they close with wins next week.

Westfield dropped to 11th place; the Blue Devils host Ridge Saturday afternoon.

As expected, Bridgewater-Raritan went from the wrong side of the playoff bubble to the good side – 17th to 16th – with a huge home win over Elizabeth Friday night. The Minutemen dropped to 20 and should be out; they’ll guarantee that if they lose next week, having only one win, where the NJSIAA minimum is two.

Piscataway dropped to 18th place with its loss to Sayreville at home Friday night. The Chiefs visit New Brunswick next week, and even a win may not help them; the Zebras are winless, and without any other results entered, a win there would drop them from 18th to 21. It doesn’t look good for the Chiefs.

Hillsborough’s win last night, coupled with a Marlboro loss, puts the Raiders up a spot into third, while North Brunswick – which defeated winless East Brunswick Friday night – drops from No. 5 to sixth place. They will try and recoup those points when they play a solid Cranford team at home next Friday night.

Hunterdon Central holds in ninth as the Red Devils snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Franklin, while South Brunswick’s win over Edison gave them a big boost, moving the Vikings from 12th into eighth place.

Old Bridge’s win at New Brunswick didn’t move the needle, as expected, keeping the Knights in 18th place. Franklin and Edison would have a lot of ground to make up. The Warriors are in 21st place, with Edison behind them at No. 22.

Then again, there are three teams in front of them who may not qualify for the playoffs. Williamstown (17th, 0-8) definitely won’t, since they have one game remaining and won’t meet the two-win threshold by the NJSIAA for playoff qualification. That might also be the case for Vineland (19th, 1-5) and Eastern (20th, 1-6), except they both still have two games left: one today, one next week. But even if they don’t, they still play into the UPR formula, so Franklin is 6.2 UPR points out of a playoff spot; Edison is 6.6 points out. That’s a lot of ground to make up. The one caveat here is that Edison plays St. Thomas Aquinas next Friday night and will be guaranteed at least 24 power points if they lose (way more if they win). That would up them from a 7.63 power point average to 9.45, a jump of five spaces (as of today) in power point rank, shedding 2 points off their UPR number.

Bottom line: Old Bridge has a chance, Edison may be a longshot. Vineland and Eastern are the games to watch today. Franklin should be out.

Week 7 Playoff Analysis: Group 5

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 5 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 9:30 am on October 10. For full standings, click on each supersection’s header below:


2. Phillipsburg (5-1, 2.4 UPR): The Stateliners remain in the second spot this week, but their lead has slimmed a bit over the third place team, which now is Union City, just 0.8 UPR points behind. Watchung Hills is just one point back. A win at Union this weekend would help bolster their cause, but it remains to be seen if a win over East Brunswick at home on Cutoff Weekend would hurt them. The Bears – at the moment – are the second winless team on P’burg’s schedule, which otherwise has three ranked teams – Sayreville, Ridge, Hillsborough – and two others (Hunterdon Central and Union) that had been ranked in the past couple of weeks.

4. Watchung Hills (6-1, 3.4 UPR): The Warriors rebounded off their first loss of the season to Montgomery with a road win against a very good Plainfield team. Things get no easier the next two weeks, with St. Joseph-Metuchen at home, then a road game at Elizabeth – which just stunned Elizabeth for its first win – on Cutoff Weekend. There’s a slim chance that if the Warriors could win out, they could get a top two finish and a top seed, but a lot of scenarios would have to break right. We’ll have a much better idea after this weekend.

5. Union (4-3, 5.8 UPR): The Farmers held steady this week in fifth, despite the loss to previously-winless Elizabeth, but they fell one spot in OSI standing and dropped in their UPR by 0.6 points. If things go right, they could end up with a top four finish, but they would also have to pull off two huge upsets, topping No. 4 Phillipsburg at home then No. 2 Ridge on the road in successive weeks.

6. Plainfield (4-2, 6.2 UPR): The Cardinals are a good example of what playing a strong schedule does. Despite their loss to Watchung Hills last Saturday, they gained 0.4 UPR points and moved from seventh place to sixth in the standings. Two teams (5-2 Montclair and 3-4 Clifton) are right behind them, within one UPR point, so there could be some movement there, but it looks like the Cardinals won’t finish in the top four, which only guarantees them a first-round home game.

10. Westfield (3-3, 11.4 UPR): The Blue Devils had a big win over Somerville Saturday, and climbed up five points in the standings in the process. We called them a bubble team last week, but no more. And with two challenging games remaining, we’re not even sure going 0-2 the rest of the way – with a loss to Ridge at home this week and Hillsborough on the road next week – can keep them from the postseason. We’re calling Westfield in, clinching a berth with their win against the Pioneers.

15. Piscataway (4-3, 15.2): Another example of how your schedule affects your standing, PIscataway dropped in UPR to 15.2 (by 0.2 points) and fell a spot from 14 to 15 this week with a victory over winless East Brunswick. The last two weeks, the news is a mixed bag. The Chiefs host a huge game this weekend with old GMC rival Sayreville (Friday night at 6 on CJSR – click here to listen) that they very well may need to make the playoffs, because their season finale against currently winless New Brunswick isn’t going to help them either. That would make it two winless teams and two two-win teams (Franklin and Monroe) killing their schedule. So it makes this Friday night uber-important.

17. Bridgewater-Raritan (1-6, 16.6 UPR): The Panthers are a win shy of the minimum wins required by the NJSIAA (2) to make the playoffs, but if they get one at this point, it will give them a huge jump against the six losses they have, even if it does come against one-win Elizabeth and/or two-win Old Bridge. They might need to win both, they might need to win just one, depending on what the teams around them do. We’ll have a better idea after next week.


4. Hillsborough (6-1, 3.8 UPR): Thanks to No. 1 Cherokee and No. 2 Toms River North continuing to win – and even Marlboro, which has won its first division title since 1994 – it doesn’t look like the Raiders have a shot at a top four seed. The likely scenario is they finish fourth – giving them a two seed in whatever section they land – assuming they can close out the season with two wins over Somerville and Westfield. And both of them are at home.

5. North Brunswick (6-0, 5.2 UPR): Ah, the schedule. A road trip to winless East Brunswick this weekend may not hurt their cause much, but won’t help them either. The Raiders already dropped a spot from fifth last week to sixth this week, but with a win over the Bears – and another next week at home to Cranford – North Brunswick may be able to keep from dropping further, depending what everyone else does. As long as the Raiders don’t lose to East Brunswick, we’ll assume they start the playoffs at Steve Libro Field.

9. Hunterdon Central (4-3, 10 UPR): Here’s the benefit of a good schedule: despite a third straight loss, the Red Devils didn’t drop this week in the standings, though their UPR did go from a 9.6 to a 10, showing a fall of one ranking spot in power points. They are 0.8 UPR points behind eighth-place Atlantic City (6-1, 9.2 UPR). Can they finish in the top eight and get a first round home game? It might be doubtful, considering they visit Franklin this week and host Perth Amboy the next, a significant drop in their schedule from the likes of Ridge, Phillipsburg and Hillsborough the past three weeks.

12. South Brunswick (4-3, 10.8): If you figured this out and looked at the math, yes, the Vikings are just 0.8 UPR points behind Hunterdon Central, but three places back. IN fact, there are five teams within 1.6 UPR points of each other, from Atlantic City to Hunterdon Central, Kingsway, Freehold Township and South Brunswick. It just means anything can happen in the middle of the pack here, but we still think the Vikes end up in the bottom eight and playing on the road in the first round.

18. Old Bridge (2-5, 19.8): For the Knights, 32. UPR points is a tough hill to climb. They’ve won two of their last three – albeit against East Brunswick and Monroe – and visit New Brunswick this week (0-7) and host Bridgewater-Raritan next week (currently 1-6). We don’t think it’s enough to move the needle, unless the Knights get a lot of help, but it’s tough to tell if it’s possible until the Strength Index numbers lock next week and we know for sure how much each game is ultimately worth.

19. Edison (3-4, 20.2 UPR): Despite being a spot below the Knights, the Eagles have an extra win, and have a better shot at making the postseason a year after winning their first sectional title since 1991. Now, they might have to beat St. Thomas Aquinas to get in, but we’ll see. Assuming they beat South Brunswick this weekend, Edison would be a very good playoff candidate with a victory over the Trojans. A loss – even with the multiplier – might leave them in 17th, and then it depends what teams like Howell, Southern, Williamstown and even Old Bridge might do. Some of that help could come this week, so again, the picture will be clearer after this weekend.

Week 7 Big Central Media poll finds Ridge at the top for third straight week; Sayreville back in

The top eight in the Big Central Media Poll remained unchanged this week, with Ridge holding down the top spot for the third consecutive week, even though North Brunswick pulled in three of the five first place votes and St. Thomas Aquinas got the other two, just like the previous two weeks.

With Union losing to Elizabeth, the Farmers (4-3) drop out of the poll, and Sayreville comes back in at the tenth and final spot.

Spotswood (8-0), Union and Hillside (4-2) each got one vote, but didn’t make the top ten.

Below is the complete Big Central Media Poll for Week 7: