Tag: Rahway

Two long TD runs from Thomas help Linden to 28-20 win over Rahway

In Linden’s season opening win against Elizabeth at Kean University exactly one week ago, Te’quan Thomas sensed his team needed a big play, and he ran one in from more than 20 yards out to give his team the win.

This Friday night against Rahway after his team jumped out to a 14-0 lead and then gave it away in the second quarter, Thomas – the reigning Bellamy & Son Paving Big Central Player of the Week – scored a 50-yard touchdown to give his team a 21-14 lead at the break.

Then after a Rahway field goal to open the second half, Thomas responded with a 69-yard score to make it 28-17.

The Tigers (2-0) held Rahway (1-1) to a field goal the rest of the way for a 28-20 victory.

Click below to see postgame reaction from Linden senior Te’quan Thomas and head coach Al Chiola, presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

2023 Big Central Preview: United Gold Division

Coming off a year in which Cranford won a state title, their move to a new division put them in with the behemoth that has become St. Thomas Aquinas, which won the United Gold Division in its inaugural season in 2022.

But both teams have lost significant talent, but should be right back in the mix, while their three other divisional foes will look to make a push.

That includes Rahway, which won four games last year, but had to deal with the death of a beloved teammate, Ali Muhammad.

MORE ’22 COVERAGE: Hall stands tall after teammate’s tragic passing to win Week 2 Bellamy & Son Player of the Week Honors

There’s also Summit, which finished 6-5 after starting the year 0-3, and has more experience back this season. And then Scotch Plains-Fanwood, nearly a playoff team two years ago, but coming off a two-win season that is likely more an exception to the rule for Austin Holman’s program.

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

North Group 4 Playoff Analysis: North Hunterdon appears locked into a No. 1 seed

With Cutoff Weekend coming up Friday and Saturday this week, Central Jersey Sports Radio is taking a look at every team in the Big Central to see where we think they’ll land in the playoffs.

We’re not looking at tiebreakers just yet, and even adding the few residuals to be had can make for infinitely more possibilities – although there are none up for grabs from any Big Central opponents at this point – so we’re not doing those either. But we are looking at where we think teams will fall in the top 16. Tune in to our Playoff Projection show Saturday at 6 pm on Central Jersey Sports Radio for all our unofficial pairings.

Below is our analysis, with each team’s current ranking in the UPR standings noted.

(Click here for official standings on Gridiron New Jersey)

#1 North Hunterdon: Even if the Lions (7-1) were to lose Voorhees (3-4) at home Friday night, it still wouldn’t matter what Irvington, Ramapo, Randolph, and Morris Knolls do behind the, We think North is set as the top overall team, meaning they would be the North 2, Group 4 top seed. Who gets the other No. 1 seed is still very much up in the air; Irvington’s not a lock with a tough game against West Orange.

#7 Ridge: The Red Devils (5-2) – contrary to our initial take – can’t quite grab the second overall position and the other No. 1 seed. We thought if they’d won at Union (2-5) and had a ton go right, including losses by six other teams around them, they could do it. But two of those teams – Randolph and Morris Knolls – play each other. So unless both decide to use an ineligible player and are granted losses (yes it could happen!) a No. 1 seed is out of the realm of possibility, we now believe, for Ridge. A top four finish is possible, though, if the Red Devils win. Undefeated Wayne Valley should beat winless Mount OIive, so beyond that huge upset, Ridge would need Ramapo (5-2) to lose to Ridgewood (5-2), and Randolph (6-1) to lose to Morris Knolls (6-1). On paper, those games could go either way. So, if Ridge wins, we call that a 50-50 shot. A loss, and Ridge could drop as low as nine, going on the road for the first round if everything breaks the wrong way around them.

#8 Colonia: The Patriots and the next few teams have so many possible scenarios and combos of winning and losing and other teams’ results, so we’ll just give their range. They could legitimately go as high as No. 7 overall, guaranteed at least a first-round home game, or drop as low as 13 in a worst-case scenario.

#11 Rahway: With Colonia being a strong team with just one loss, should they beat the Patriots, they could finish as high as an eight or nine overall, meaning a first-round home game is still in play. But we believe they’re in regardless of what happens; it looks like the lowest they can drop is 14 with a loss.

#12 Montgomery: Even with a loss to Linden, it looks like the Cougars are in, but destined to be on the road in the first round, as we peg them for a range of No. 10 to No. 15 overall.

#14 Sayreville: Similar to Montgomery, we think Sayreville is in whether they beat Woodbridge or not Friday night, and in the same 10-15 overall range.

#16 Woodbridge: Here’s where things start to get tricky. We thing the Barrons aren’t guaranteed of anything, even if they beat Sayreville Friday night, and the reason is the tiebreaker. If somehow, the Barrons end up a spot ahead of Linden, the Tigers have the tiebreaker by virtue of winning their regular season matchup. That’s even the case if Woodbridge finishes 16 and Linden finishes 17, regardless of power points, OSI or UPR. So, the Barrons need to finish two spots ahead of Linden if they end up at No. 16. Win, and it’s easier: they just need a loss by Linden and nothing else, and they’ll be the last team in. With a loss, they would not only need Linden to lose, but also Barringer to win Friday night against Nutley and Bergenfield to beat Pascack Valley on Saturday. Those have to happen to bump Linden to 18 so that Woodbridge avoids the tiebreaker. *We think.

#17 Linden: The Tigers, even though they’re behind Woodbridge, have it easier. With a win, even if everything else breaks wrong – including the Barrons winning – we have them at 17, with Woodbridge in 16th, and Linden getting the tiebreaker over the Barrons. We’ll see how it shakes out. And, as stated above, they could still get in with a loss, if things break right regarding Barringer and Bergenfield losing.

UNOFFICIAL: Group 4 Playoff Standings Update

North Hunterdon keeps on winning, and keeps solidifying its position as No. 1 in the North Group 4 standings. Here’s a look at Central Jersey Sports Radio’s unofficial standings for both Group 4 supersections following Friday night’s Week 7 games:

With a win over Woodbridge, North Hunterdon remains a solid No. 1 – first in both power points and UPR – while Irvington remains No. 2, but dropped in UPR from 2 to 2.6, which is more breathing room for the Lions, whose only loss was a “good” loss – according to the OSI – to Phillipsburg.

Ridge‘s home win over Westfield helped it stay in 7th, inching closer to sewing up a top seed and a first-round home game in the sectionals. The Red Devils are at Union next Friday, and a win there should lock it up.

Colonia dropped from No. 9 to No. 10 based on other teams’ results, but still has to play this weekend – today at red-hot Summit, which is 3-3 but has won three in a row.

Rahway has pulled up behind them, from 14 to 11, after a win Friday night over Carteret, which snapped a three-game skid. And right behind the Indians are Montgomery, which pulled up from 13th to 12th after snapping a two-game losing streak with a win over Scotch Plains-Fanwood Friday night.

Sayreville drops from 10th to 14th with Friday night’s loss to Piscataway, which would have produced a good amount of power points to get the Bombers – we think – closer to the top eight. Now, that may not be possible.

On either side of the bubble are Woodbridge and Linden, both of whom lost Friday night. The two flip-flopped last week’s position, with the Barrons now in 16th and the Tigers now 17th. Why? The Barrons’ loss to North Hunterdon was “better” – according to the OSI – than the Tigers’ loss to Cranford.

Bottom Line: North Hunterdon should get that top seed. Ridge could wrap up a first-round home game with a win against Union, but might still be able to get it with a loss. Colonia may be in play for a top eight seed since they have two games to work with. Rahway and Montgomery maybe not so much. But we think they’re in the dance, so to speak. Sayreville should be. Woodbridge has Sayreville next week, and Linden is at Montgomery: consider them must-wins, and root against Middletown South.

In South 4, Middletown South and Hammonton switch places, but still hold the top two positions.

Group 4 playoff analysis: North Hunterdon continues to rise; is a top-seed in play?

With just three weeks before Cutoff Weekend, we take a deeper dive into the playoff standings, after Week 5 results are tabluated by Gridiron New Jersey.

NORTH 4 (Click here for official standings)

After a big win over Colonia last weekend, North Hunterdon (5-1) continues to make its push up the standings, climbing from fifth last week to third this week. They boosted their power point average from 13.4 to 17 with a 25-point win over then 5-0 Colonia last week. Their OSI went from 58.77 to 63.01.

Randolph (5-0, 1 UPR) sits at No. 1, followed by Morris Knolls (4-1, 2.4 UPR), while the Lions are a 2.6 UPR. That’s oh-so-close. But there are a few snags in the plan if North Hunterdon wants one of the two No. 1 seeds. They are already second in power point average, so there’s little room to climb. They’re also just 0.29 UPR points behind Morris Knolls, and 1.05 behind Randolph, which leads the group, so there’s little room to climb there as well.

But both teams are in the same boat as they try to gain – or not lose – based on their upcoming schedules. Other than Montgomery this Friday, home to Woodbridge and Voorhees the final two weeks isn’t all that great. But neither is Morris Knolls’ schedule, with 0-6 Morris Hills at home this week, at 0-6 Mount Olive next week, and home to 5-0 Randolph on Saturday of Cutoff Weekend.

Irvington (4th, 4-2, 4.8 UPR) has taken a major hit losing two straight after a 4-0 start, and they don’t exactly have a schedule to make much of a dent either.

Bottom line? If North Hunterdon can take care of business and run the table the next three weeks – not an impossible task, on paper – it could come down to some scoreboard watching on Cutoff Saturday.

Colonia, meanwhile, despite dropping to 5-1 with that loss in Annandale last Friday night, didn’t drop. The Patriots remain in seventh; it was a “good loss” at least OSI-wise. They have a 6.8 UPR, and a 1.8 UPR lead over ninth-place Chatham. If they can dust themselves off – and QB Jaeden Jones is healthy after suffering what appeared to be a lower leg injury in the third quarter against North Hunterdon – and win their last three regular season games against Perth Amboy, at Summit, and at Rahway – a distinct possibility – they should hold on to a top eight seed and get at least a first-round home game in the playoffs.

Montgomery (5-1, 9.6 UPR) took a hit with its first loss of the season last week, but could be in play for a top-8 seed if they get back on the saddle, though they may need some help. It’s a tight jumble in the middle of this section, with Ridge (3-2, 11.4 UPR) and Sayreville (3-2, 11.4 UPR) tied right behind them.

A win for Monty over North Hunterdon would pay huge dividends, but they would also have to win at Scotch Plains and back in Skillman against Linden the last two weeks to get that first-round home game gaurantee. Ridge is at South Brunswick, home to Westfield, and at Union. Sayreville hosts Franklin and Piscataway before closing at Woodbridge. It all looks pretty even to us, but Montgomery may have the upper hand among the three.

Rahway (3-2) is in 13th place after dropping two in a row, with a 12.4 UPR. They may need to win two of three to really solidify a playoff spot, but they have a challenging schedule. This Friday they visit St. Thomas Aquinas, which is red hot, and hasn’t lost a conference game this season. They they host Carteret and Colonia to close things out.

Linden (3-2, 15.6 UPR) is in 15th and Woodbridge (2-4, 17.4 UPR) are bubble teams at this point. The Tigers are at least on the right side of things, and close with Summit, then Cranford at home, followed by a road game at Montgomery, while the Barrons have JFK, visit North Hunterdon, then host Sayreville. They’re on the wrong side of the bubble and appear to have the tougher schedule.

Too close to call for those two at this point.

SOUTH 4 (Click here for official standings)

There are no Big Central teams in the South 4 supersection, but with Group Finals in the picture this year, take note that Middletown South and Hammonton are in the top two slots here, and South still has a second multiplier to play; they lost to Red Bank Catholic a couple of weeks ago, and visit Donovan Catholic the Friday of Cutoff Weekend.

They should be a lock for a top-seed because of that. Hammonton is also a good bet to hold on, as well, at 5-1 and with a mostly strong schedule the next two weeks against Timber Creek and Delsea, a combined 10-1.

Group 4 playoff analysis: North Hunterdon leads BCC teams packed tightly behind them

As we head into the final four weeks of the regular season before Cutoff Weekend in high school football, it’s time to start taking a closer look at the race for the playoffs. Here’s a look at Group 4; note that we only give a detailed breakdown of the North section since South 4 doesn’t include any teams from the Big Central Conference, the only such supersection in the state.

NORTH 4 (Click here for official standings)

Ramapo is the leader in this section, with Randolph right behind, but both UPRs are in the twos (2.2 for Ramapo, 2.4 for Randolph). That oddity is because while they are 1-and-2 in OSI, Ramapo is fourth in power points, while Randolph is third. (OSI weighs 60%, power points 40% in the state UPR formula).

The highest Big Central team is North Hunterdon in fifth, and there are a bunch of league teams sort of right behind them, and they play two of the three in the next couple of weeks. The Lions have a 5.6 UPR, followed by Wayne Valley (5.8) and Colonia (6.6). Rahway is eighth with a 9 UPR, and Montgomery – with a 10 UPR – is in tenth, followed by Sayreville (10.4 UPR).

That’s a fairly good-sized gap in the middle of the pack. It essentially means that the top seven teams are all tightly packed in the top of the power point and OSI standings; i.e. there’s no team in the top seven that’s very high (say, fourth) in one and very low (say, 12th) in the other.

North Hunterdon can really solidify things and maybe make a run at a top-four seed (and home field through the sectional semifinals) with wins the next two weeks. They host Colonia Friday night – where Central Jersey Sports Radio will have live updates during the Sayreville at East Brunswick game, which kicks off at 7:00 – and next week, North Hunterdon travels to Montgomery.

Now back to that gap: it’s a lot to make up, and if nobody can do it, we’ll have Rahway, Monty, Sayreville, Chatham and maybe more battling it out for that eighth spot, which means a first-round home playoff game.

Ridge in 14th is a good bet to make the playoffs, but Linden in 15th is a little more on the bubble, but at least on the good side.

Woodbridge, however, at 1-4, is in danger of missing the postseason for the first time since 2018. They are in 18th, with a 17.4 UPR. They may need to run the table, which would include not only winning at Perth Amboy this weekend and beating in-town rival JFK at home next week, but then winning out in Clinton over North Hunterdon on October 14th, and beating Sayreville at home on the Friday night of Cutoff Weekend.

Put it this way: for the Barrons, the playoffs start now.

SOUTH 4 (Click here for official standings)

Again, there are no Big Central teams here, but with the NJSIAA going to group finals for the first-time ever this year, it warrants a brief look.

The top two teams here are Middletown South (3-1) and Millville (2-1). They might not be were it not for the multiplier effect, as Middletown South lost to Red Bank Catholic – and still has Donovan Catholic later on. Millville beat St. Augustine two weeks ago.

There’s only one undefeated team in this section: 4-0 Pennsauken, in 6th place right now, with a 7.2 UPR. Their power point total is what hurts them

Summit blanks Rahway behind Bauman, Schnall for first win of season

Summit junior runningback Ryan Schnall scored two touchdowns as senior quarterback Brian Bauman expertly directed the offense, and Summit capitalized on a key Rahway turnover, en route to a 20-0 home win at Tatlock Field Saturday afternoon, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

The Hilltoppers looked nothing like the team that came into the game with an 0-3 record.

336 Morris Ave, Summit, NJ
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Summit scored its first touchdown with 10:08 to go in the first half after a Rahway miscue. The Hilltoppers had punted, but Rahway’s Damari Williams-Julius got hit immediately after catching the ball, fumbled, and about 20 yards up the field, Summit recovered. A few plays later, Ryan Schnall scored from four yards out.

Schnall would punch it in again about seven game minutes later, from 15 yards out, and Summit went into halftime with a 14-0 lead.

Will Johnson added two filed goals in the fourth quarter – from 29 and 38 yards away – to give Summit the final margin.

Defensively, it was an all around effort for the Hilltoppers, who stopped Rahway on a number of fourth-down conversion tries, including a 4th-and-1 late where Rahway fumbled the snap, appeared to recover, but short of the first down marker for a turnover on downs.

Summit is now 3-1, while Rahway drops to 1-3.

Click below for postgame reaction from Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko:

Summit senior quarterback Brian Bauman

Summit head coach Kevin Kostibos

Summit seeks first win of season, as it looks to continue growth in ’22

by Chris Tsakonas

For the Summit Hilltoppers, the 2022 season has been defined by one word: growth.

“We’re a young team, and we keep finding new things to learn,” Summit head coach Kevin Kostibos said. “So what we’re looking for this week is to continue that process.”

336 Morris Ave, Summit, NJ
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It’s a new look lineup on both sides of the ball – particularly on the defensive side, which returns only two starters in senior defensive lineman George Morgan and senior inside linebacker Joe Fagan.

Joining Fagan in the inside linebacker spot is junior Tyler Kessel, who has broken out in the first three games, pacing the defense with 4 tackles for loss and 36 tackles overall. The defense is coming off a season-low 19 points allowed in last week’s game against a 3-1 St. Thomas Aquinas team that had scored 49 and 43 in its previous two games.

“I thought we took some real strides with St. Thomas,” Kostibos said. “I thought we defensively gave them a great game, and we’re just looking to build off that and continue to get better.”

Offensively, the Hilltoppers have relied heavily on the run game, with senior running back Jake Lowry becoming the leading rusher with 181 yards and a touchdown on 51 carries. Lowry is joined in the backfield by junior Ryan Schnall, who has an efficient 141 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.

“When we need a play, [Lowry is] the kid who we’re looking to,” Kostibos said. “So far, he’s exceeded my expectations, and I think he’s got a great career ahead at the college level.”

Click below to hear Chris Tsakonas talk with Summit head coach Kevin Kostibos about Summit’s 2022 season and Saturday’s matchup with Rahway:

Rahway has overcome adversity, tragedy en route to 3-0 start

With the wake Thursday and the funeral Friday for beloved teammate Ali Muhammad, one could say you might not know what to expect the Rahway football team when the Indians (3-0) visit Summit (0-3) this Saturday afternoon.

But that’s not the case. Because we already know how they’ve responded: quite well.

Muhammad passed away in his sleep in the early morning hours of September 8th. The team learned about it later that day in school, and practice was called off for that afternoon.

39 River Road, Summit, NJ (parking on Plain St.)
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But when presented with the opportunity to cancel their Friday night game against Lincoln High School of Jersey City – a non-league game, mind you, with no bearing on division standings – they stood tall, and not only showed up at Caven Point, but came back down the Turnpike with a 45-16, while senior runningback Kyle Hall took home Week 2 Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Honors.

READ MORE: Hall stands tall after teammate’s tragic passing to win Week 2 Bellamy & Son Player of the Week Honors

The team dedicated the game, and then the season, in Muhammad’s memory. Mainly a practice player on the scout team, he was an integral part of the program, and much loved on the tight-knit squad.

So, they’ll continue the season in his honor this Saturday when they visit Summit, continuing a series that dates back to 1919, and which the Hilltoppers lead 31-23, with one tie.

You can hear Saturday afternoon’s game on Central Jersey Sports Radio, with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas calling all the action from Tatlock Field in Summit. Kickiff is at 1, pregame starts at 12:45 pm. Click here to listen.

Rahway has a balanced rushing attack of senior Kyle Hall (206 yds, 2 TD), Andrew Avent (111 yds, 3 TD) and Jeremiah Derilus (103 yds), while quarterback Amir Robinson can sling it (352 yds on 21-36 passing, 6 TD, 0 INT).

On the other side of the ball, senior defensive end Jalen Barnesalready has registered three sacks and seven tackles for loss.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Rahway head coach Brian Russo about his team: