Tag: North Brunswick

Group 5 playoff analysis: Phillipsburg and North Brunswick hold top spots overall in North and South, but will it hold?

With the second half of the high school football season officially kicking off this weekend, it’s time to examine the playoff races with a closer eye. Here’s a look at where the Big Central teams in Group 5 North and South stand, using official standings calculated by Gridiron New Jersey.

NORTH 5 (Click here for official standings)

There’s little surprise here that Phillipsburg, which has established itself as one of the top teams in the state this year, is leading the pack in the supersection. In fact, they have the top OSI in all of Group 5. Only Cherokee has a better power point average, but that’s because they have played two multipliers already, Holy Spirit and St. Augustine. (More on that when we get to South 5).

The Stateliners are 4-0 with a UPR of 1, OSI 74.01 and an 18.5 power point average. Right behind them is Ridgewood, also 4-0, UPR 2, OSI 70.13 and an 18.25 power point average. Should they keep winning, P’burg should be able to hold on to at least one of the top two spots. The ‘Liners and Maroons are the only undefeated teams in the section. The schedule is favorable, having played their first four games all against ranked teams (Sayreville is 8th, Ridge has been previously ranked, North Hunterdon is 10th and Hillsborough is 5th). The last four are at Hunterdon Central, home to Bridgewater-Raritan and Union, before closing at East Brunswick on the Friday of Cutoff Weekend.

That’s could be a good news/bad news scenario for the Stateliners – or maybe not – when it comes to the overall No. 1 seed. Ridgewood’s first four games were weaker than P’burg’s. Their next three opponents (Eastside Paterson, Wayne Hills and Montclair) are all 2-2, while Ramapo is 4-0. If both teams win out, it’ll come down to who has the stronger schedule the rest of the way.

The next Big Central teams down the list, after Passaic Tech third and Clifton fourth are Westfield in fifth (3-2, 5.8 UPR) and Watchung Hills (3-2, 6.6 UPR) in sixth. With a decent gap between them and the number nine teams Morristown and Bridgewater-Raritan, with 10.6 UPRs – following Union City and West Orange – if the Blue Devils and Warriors keep winning, they will likely finish in the top eight, which would guarantee at least a first-round home game. A top-four seed could be in play as well, depending on how well they do down the stretch, and if any of the teams above them slip.

Bridgewater-Raritan is having the epitome of an up and down season; at 2-3 they’ve yet to win back-to-back games. To get to a first-round home game, they’d have to string a couple of wins together. They have Ridge, then visit Phillipsburg and Elizabeth, before a Cutoff Weekend home matchup with Old Bridge.

Speaking of which, Elizabeth – on the strength of Saturday’s massive win over St. Joseph-Metuchen – jumped from 16th to 11th in the standings, now with a UPR of 10.8. At 1-3, a few wins in a row would boost them even further. The Minutemen have a shot, with Somerville this weekend, then at Union, Bridgewater-Raritan home, then a Cutoff Weekend Friday night visit to Watchung Hills. All of those teams have Strength Index values well above their current OSI, so anything would be a big boost.

Union and Piscataway are in the last two playoff spots at the moment.

The Farmers are 15th at 1-3 with a 15.4 UPR. But, remember: a minimum two wins are needed to make the playoffs, so even if they finished there, they would still need to win one more game to even be eligible. Union has games at Hillsborough, home to Elizabeth, at Phillipsburg and home to Ridge – a tough slate.

The Chiefs are 2-2 and in 16th place. They have a decent schedule upcoming: Old Bridge this Friday, followed by road games at East Brunswick and Sayreville, then home to New Brunswick in a game originally scheduled for Friday night of cutoff weekend, but which has been moved to Saturday afternoon.

Both teams will have to win a few, and try to hold off the teams behind them.

SOUTH 5 (Click here for officials standings)

North Brunswick is now at the top of the pile in the supersection, breaking a previous tie with Toms River North, which – of all things – had at least something to do with Cherokee leading – by a wide margin – the power point rankings, due to the new double-multiplier rule this year; two are allowed by the NJSIAA, and the Chiefs took full advantage with Holy Spirit and St. Augustine on the schedule.

The Raiders are 4-0, with a 1.4 UPR, a full point ahead of Toms River North (5-0). But whether their strength of schedule is good enough the rest of the way to hold onto that spot is another story. Their next three opponents – Franklin, New Brunswick and East Brunswick, are a combined 1-12, which does no favors for their power point average. It’s an 18.25, but right now, Franklin and East Brunswick are only worth 11; New Brunswick is worth 14.

Cherokee – at just 2-2 – is in third (UPR 2.8) – with Hillsborough alone in fourth, despite a loss to Phillipsburg last Friday night. Those Raiders are still a pretty good bet for a top-four seed, which would guarantee home field through at least the sectional semifinals, as long as they get back to their winning ways. Their schedule is strong enough, at least from a Strength Index perspective, that they could make a push forward, with Union, Hunterdon Central, Somerville and Westfield ahead.

It’s a long trip down to the next Big Central team, with Washington Township in fifth, followed by Rancocas Valley, Kingsway, Atlantic City, Marlboro, Southern and Lenape. Then, three BCC teams: Edison 12th (3-2, UPR 13), South Brunswick 13th (2-2, UPR 13.6) and Old Bridge 14th (3-2, UPR 13.8). Those teams all could go truly any which way. A top-eight seed and a first-round playoff game would be a challenge; it’s highly unlikely all three could end up there, anyway. They could get close, but any of them could also miss the playoffs if they don’t win some games down the stretch.

And then there’s Hunterdon Central. The Red Devils are seeking their first playoff berth since 2018, when they bowed out in the opening round to 5th-seed Manalapan. At 2-3, they have a 16.4 UPR, one point behind the two teams tied for 15th – Cherry Hill East and Howell – with 15.4 UPRs each. Central is a bubble team right now, just on the outside looking in. If they could pick up a win the next two weeks – either this Friday night at Stewart Field against top-ranked Phillipsburg, or next Friday night at Hillsborough – then take care of business the last two weeks with wins at home against Franklin and at Perth Amboy, the Red Devils should be in. Going 2-2 with wins in those last two games may not be enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ridge (2-2) dropped out as well.

The full Week 4 Big Central Media Poll is below:

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

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

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

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

Click below for the full Week Four Top Ten:

It’s strong defense again for No. 2 North Brunswick, in 22-0 win over No. 4 Sayreville

Second-ranked North Brunswick pitched its second shutout of the season, continuing with the stifling defense it’s played all season long, and got two touchdowns from Zahmir Dawud, en route to a 22-0 win over fourth-ranked Sayreville at Steve Libro Field Friday night.

The Raiders led 8-0 on a Zahmir Dawud 12-yard touchdown run and two-point conversion in the second quarter, and then added one more late score before the break, on the brother connection: a six-yard touchdown pass from Frankie Garbolino to his younger brother, Jack.

Dawud added a five-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to give the Raiders a 22-0 lead, and the final margin.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with North Brunswick head coach Mike Cipot about the win:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 3: Did we mention multipliers need to go?

On this week’s trip through “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” Mike Pavlichko throws out laurels for Piscataway and Dunellen, points out one of the playoff formula’s quirks, and looks ahead to two huge matchups Friday night, with Central Jersey Sports Radio covering both.

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

Phillipsburg continues reign atop CJSR, Big Central Media Polls

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

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

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

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

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

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

Scroll down to see both polls in their entirety:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 2: Great Starts and Wild Finishes

On this week’s whip around “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” Mike Pavlichko explains why North looks at some great starts for North Hunterdon, South Plainfield and Hunterdon Central, and the very early playoff standings that have come out, plus much much more!

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

One more first place vote puts Stateliners atop Big Central Media Poll in Week 2

After Week One, North Brunswick got three first place votes and Phillipsburg two from the Big Central media, but after Week Two – despite both teams winning – they flipped, and now the Stateliners sit atop the Big Central Media Poll heading into Week Three.

The Stateliners got 48 points from the five voters, the most of any team so far this season; the Raiders got 45 last week.

After North Brunswick in second, Hillsborough climbed a spot to third, with Hillside up two to fourth, and St. Joseph-Metuchen making its debut – after receiving votes last week – at No. 5. All the top five teams are off to 2-0 starts.

Sayreville – despite a win – dropped to sixth, while North Hunterdon’s 3-0 start got them from the also-ran category to No. 7.

Edison held in eighth, despite its first loss of the season, which came at the hands of North Brunswick, but without starting QB Matt Yascko and wide receiver Malcolm Stansbury, due to injury. Ridge dropped from sixth into an eighth-place tie with the Eagles, while St. Thomas Aquinas – which also got votes last week – also made its debut.

Dropping out were #3 Somerville, #9 Bridgewater-Raritan and #10 Delaware Valley.

The poll also got a little tighter this week in that only 15 teams received votes. Last week, 16 got nods for the top ten from the Big Central Media, down from 20 in the preseason poll.

Below are the full Week 2 rankings:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are the full Week 2 rankings: