Tag: Sayreville

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.

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 7: Cutoff Weekend is Here!

On this week’s trek around “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” we get veteran sportscaster Mike Pavlichko’s take on the coaching situation at Somerville, Piscataway being a contender again, and a winner take all game in Monmouth Junction Friday night!

Click below to listen to the Week Seven edition of “The Big Central in 2 Minutes”:

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.

Piscataway notches huge win, 14-8 at No. 6 Sayreville behind Sitkowski, Hilliard

The Piscataway football team has now won five games this season, after going 0-8 last year following a DNP in the 2020 COVID season.

But this… this one may have been the victory to put Piscataway Chiefs football back on the map, as they beat No. 6 Sayreville 14-8 at War Memorial Stadium Friday night, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Piscataway carried a 7-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, thanks to a 64-yard touchdown run by tight end-turned-tackle-turned fullback Ossie Hilliard.

Sayreville got it back in the third quarter on a two-yard touchdown run by Caidan Holmes, and he ran it it for two to give the Bombers an 8-7 lead.

But Piscataway answered right back, capping off a nice drive with a one-yard Run by Antonio Rivera to go up 14-7, and the defense held the rest of the way in another P’way-Sayreville instant classic in one of Middlesex County’s great rivalries.

So, yes, this may be the one that restores the lustre to the Piscataway program.

Sitkowski finished 10-for-14 passing for 137 yards, while Hilliard had two carries for 64 yards and the touchdown as Piscataway improved to 5-2 on the season, while Sayreville fell to 4-3.

Click below to hear postgame reaction from Piscataway quarterback Aleks Sitkowski, fullback Ossie Hilliard, and head coach Dan Higgins:

Slowly, but surely, Piscataway getting back to its regular self

There was no doubt the COVID year – where no fall sports were played in the district – set Piscataway football back, going winless for the first time since 1968 in 2021.

But now at 4-2, the Chiefs are right in the thick of things in the playoff chase, and enjoying a sense of normalcy.

That 2020 season – not playing at all – took a toll on head coach Dan Higgins, who’s in his 19th season at the helm, and has seven state titles to his program’s credit in that time.

But things feel a little bit more normal up on Green Acres, and the Chiefs are looking forward to their battle with Sayreville this Friday night.

It’s the Big Central Game of the Week on Central Jersey Sports Radio, which you can hear from War Memorial Stadium starting with the pregame show at 6:45, and kickoff at 7. Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas have all the play-by-play, which you can here by clicking here.

Higgins’ team has progressed, to be sure. They may not be where they need to be just yet, but the coach’s mantra has always been “Just get me in the playoffs, and let us do our thing.”

They’ll be in at 4-2, even if where they end up is a long way from being decided.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Piscataway head coach Dan Higgins about his team’s development, and the matchup at Sayreville Friday night:

Sayreville’s Beagan sees similarities in opponent as classic battle looms vs. Piscataway

For quite some time, Sayreville-Piscataway has been a game Central Jersey sports fans have circled on their calendars. There have been many epic battles, and a number of championships won by those teams.

In fact, the last time they each won a title was in the same year: 2018. In fact, not only did the Chiefs and Bombers both win sectional titles that year, but they also won the “bowl championships” the NJSIAA began that year, what eventually became regional championships, and now are Group Semifinals with the first State Group Championships taking place this December.

So, here’s Sayreville head coach Chris Beagan, seeing a lot of similarities between the clubs: good on defense, and still finding their ways offensively, if for different reasons.

Sayreville lost its starting quarterback, Mike Colonnello, earlier this year, and now Caidan Holmes is in that spot (yes, that was his brother, Connor, who fell on the ball in the end zone against Williamstown at MetLife Stadium to win that 2018 bowl game). And it’ll be runningback-by-committee for Sayreville with Zaimer Wright out with an injury.

Piscataway at Sayreville will be Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Big Central Game of the Week Friday night, with Mike Pavlichko and Chris Tsakonas calling all the play-by-play live from War Memorial Stadium at 7 pm, with pregame at 6:45. Click here to listen.

Click below to hear Sayreville head coach Chris Beagan talk about the Bombers’s season and the matchup with rival Piscataway:

“The Big Central in 2 Minutes” – Week 6: Making the Playoff Push

On this week’s trek around “The Big Central in Two Minutes,” Mike Pavlichko looks at how strong the Big Central is in Group 5, with the potential for three of the top four seeds coming from the league. How many teams are in? On the bubble? Mike takes a quick look at it all and previews Friday night’s old GMC rivalry on the Big Central Game of the Week.

Click below to listen to the Week Six edition of “The Big Central in 2 Minutes”:

You Choose! What will be our Big Central Game of the Week for Week 7??

Well, we’ve got two weeks left in the high school football season, and now we’re letting your voice be heard: What should be the Big Central Game of the Week for Week 7 this Friday night?

We’re giving you four options of games to choose from:

  • Westfield (5-1) at Ridge (4-2): A great Union-Somerset County Group 5 matchup
  • Piscataway (4-2) at Sayreville: A classic GMC matchup between longtime rivals
  • Hillsborough (5-1) at Somerville (2-5): Hillsborough is near the top of South 5, while Somerville is in a must-win for playoff contention
  • South Brunswick (3-3) at Edison (5-2): Another great Middlesex County and pasty GMC divisional matchup

All four games feature teams battling for the playoffs.

So here are the basic rules!

  • You can vote once every 12 hours.
  • Share the poll on social media with your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter.
  • The matchup with the most votes will be the game we broadcast Friday night on Central Jersey Sports Radio, complete with pregame coverage with the coaches from each team, a live broadcast, and postgame recap on the site with reaction from the winning team’s coach and a standout player.
  • Voting will close at 5 pm Monday, with the winner being announced Tuesday on Twitter. (Follow us at @CJSportsRadio on Twitter if you don’t already!)

Good luck to your favorite team – vote early and often!

Note: In the event a game turns out to be unavailable for broadcast or for other any reason, Central Jersey Sports Radio reserves the right to choose an alternate game, if necessary, regardless of the final vote.

Few changes in CJSR Week 6 H.S. Football Top Ten, as Phillipsburg leads the way and Edison joins the ranks

With every team in the Week 5 Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten winning this past weekend, the Week 6 rankings saw very little change.

In fact, the top six teams – led by Phillipsburg – remained unchanged, with the Stateliners followed by North Brunswick, Hillsborough, North Hunterdon, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Sayreville.

Westfield moved from seventh to eighth while Hillside – which was tied for 6th, fell to 8th. Ridge – tied with Watchung Hills for 9th – held, while the Warriors dropped to tenth.

Edison, which was in the preseason poll and got votes last week, rejoins the poll, tied for No. 10 with Watchung Hills. The Eagles, who started 2-0 but lost their next two, have now won three straight, beating St. Joseph-Metuchen 42-23 Friday night on the road.

Below are the complete Week 6 Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings.