Tag: Sayreville

Undefeated Hillsborough holds top spot in Big Central Media Poll for second straight week

Though it split the six first-place votes in the Big Central Media Poll evenly with Union and Somerville, Hillsborough held on to the top spot in the Week 8 Big Central Media Poll.

The Raiders got 53 points in the poll, edging our the Pioneers and Farmers, who had 53 apiece, and tied for second. Cranford held in fourth.

After some movement in the middle of the poll, Ridge re-entered the rankings at No. 8 after a 27-6 win at Westfield Saturday, while Bridgewater-Raritan made it back in at No. 9 following a 31-14 road win over Elizabeth.

Previous No. 7 Old Bridge, which blew out JP Stevens on the road Friday night, dropped out, but also received votes. Similarly, previously No. 9 Phillipsburg fell out, but picked up the same number of votes as the Knights, after a 42-0 home win over Connecticut’s Capital Prep Harbor.

Below is the Week 8 poll:

Few changes in Week 8 Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, with Somerville still leading the pack

Another Somerville rout – this one 43-13 at Warren Hills, and without their starting quarterback – keeps the Pioneers on top of the pack in the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings for Week 8.

In fact, few teams moved at all in the latest Top Ten, with Woodbridge dropping just one spot from 5th to 6th after a loss to unranked Scotch Plains-Fanwood. Sayreville moved up one spot to fifth.

The Barrons are tied with Bridgewater-Raritan for sixth; the Panthers were previously No. 7. Phillipsburg – previously No. 9, are tied for eighth with North Brunswick.

Though St. Thomas Aquinas – previously in a three-way tie for tenth with Old Bridge and Ridge – dropped out, it was really just a math quirk, as the Trojans (7-0) still received a Top Ten vote this week; others who were tenth simply were ranked higher.

Delaware Valley (7-1) also received a vote.

Below is the full Week 8 Top Ten:

Week 8 Analysis: Can Woodbridge get back into the race for a top seed? And four teams battle it out for the last three spots

Heading into Week Seven of play in high school football, Woodbridge may not have been in the drivers’ seat, but they certainly had a shot at one of the top two seeds in the North Group 4 supersection, and by extension, one of the two top seeds once the teams were divided into sections.

That would have meant guaranteed home field advantage through the sectionals.

But after suffering its first loss of the season, falling to Cranford 38-28 at home last Friday night in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland, the Barrons may be out of the picture.

Last week, they were just 0.2 UPR points behind Ramapo, sitting in third place. But the loss to the Cougars knocked them down to 5th, with a 5.4 UPR. Ramapo is ahead of them at 3.8, followed by Irvington at 3.6, and Middletown South moving into second with a UPR of 2.

The Barrons may not have a strong enough schedule to make up the ground. Though they could gain in power points with wins over Scotch Plains-Fanwood (4-4) this week, and Linden (currently 3-3) next week, those teams’ SI valules are around 57, which will tick the Barrons’ OSI down a shade even if they sweep the Raiders and Tigers.

Bottom line: the Barrons should open the playoffs at home, and maybe can get a semifinal game at Priscoe Field if they advance. But they are unlikely to get one of the two top seeds, barring a major collapse by the teams in front of them.

In the middle of the pack are Sayreville, Colonia, and Ridge sitting at 9, 11 and 12 in the standings.

The Bombers – who are tied for ninth with Randolph – are most likely the only one of the trio in reach of a first-round home game. At 4-2 with an 8.8 UPR, they’re just one UPR point behind Mount Olive (7.8, in 8th) and within two UPR points of Middletown North (7.8). Add in the fact that Sayreville will pick up a forfeit win next week and get 42 power points for a win over St Joseph-Metuchen, that will give a huge boost to their 15.5 power point average, to 19.9 (not counting wins or losses by Sayreville the next two weeks). That kind of jump would be worth four places in power point rank, or 1.6 UPR points, which would put them around 7th or 8th in the standings, depending what other teams do. If they can beat Old Bridge this week and New Brunswick next – both on the road – I’d say they’ll be playing at home in the first round, for sure.

Colonia and Ridge are 2.8 and 3.0 UPR points behind Sayreville, respectively, and neither has a multiplier boost in the offing. They’re likely to get around a 5 seed in the sectionals and start on the road.

Then, at the bottom, are four teams vying for three playoff spots. North Hunterdon is in 14th, followed by Scotch Plains-Fanwood, Linden, and Montgomery. The Cougars are just 1.4 points our of a playoff spot, having won two straight after losing their first four. If they can take care of JFK this week, they get Cranford next week, and even a loss might get them in. Monty’s OSI is 39.61, and Cranford’s SI value is a 79.51, which is worth 39.78 in a loss. That wouldn’t hurt their OSI. But the power point loss would hurt them; right now it’s 27 for a win, but just six for a loss. Montgomery’s power point average is an 8.50. at the moment.

North Hunterdon is likely the safest of the group, with a UPR of 13.6 and 3.8 points away from Montgomery, 4.8 away from 18th place Wayne Hills. Only one of those teams would need to catch them to eliminate them, and that’s unlikely. Scotch Plains and Linden are in a little more of a murky situation. Best to win out and let the chips fall where they may.

Benitez runs and catches, kicks and picks his way to Week 7 Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Award

Throwing a pass was about the only thing Alex Benitez didn’t do Friday night for Montgomery. And he’s even done a little of that this season.

But everything else he did helped him pick up Week Seven Bellamy and Son Paving Player of the Week Honors, while helping the Cougars to their second straight victory.

What didn’t Benitz do? He had 16 carries and a rushing touchdown, as well as five catches on offense. He also kicked three PATs. On defense he had not one, but two pick-6s, and he also had a pair of 55-yard punts on special teams.

His two interception returns for touchdowns came on back-to-back possessions defensively, and were part of a four-minute spurt that saw Benitz score three times – the first of the TDs coming on offense – to put the nail in the coffin on Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

And the win has Montgomery – now just 2-4, but winners of two straight – on the cusp of a playoff berth. They moved from 20th to 19th with the win, and have a chance to get to .500 if they can pick up a win this week against JFK, and next week against Cranford. That’s a tall order – even at home – but even a loss might still get them in due to Cranford’s high SI value, currently at 79.51. Montgomery’s OSI is 39.61, meaning even if they lose and get just half of Cranford’s value, that would keep them even.

Click below to hear Alex Benitez talk with Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko about his Week 7 performance:

Honor Roll…

Sayreville’s Zaimer Wright – who won the award in Week Three – gets some “also ran” recognition in Week Seven. He was a workhorse going for 270 yards on 33 carries, scoring four touchdowns and adding a two-point conversion in a critical 29-16 win against South Brunswick that was the Bombers’ fourth straight victory.

Nasir McGlone of North Plainfield ran for even more yards on fewer touches Friday night. He averaged a whopping 21.5 yards per carry in a 42-26 win at Governor Livingston, the Canucks’ third straight win following a three-game skid.

Of his five touchdown runs, only one went for less than 40 yards – a ten-yard spring in the second quarter. The others were 70, 61, 48 and 44 yards. That’s a total of 233 yards on touchdown runs alone.

That’s a game for most good runningbacks.

Continuing the runningback theme, the final honorable mention goes to Ethan MacNair of Somerville, who had 300 rushing yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns in the Saturday Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland, a 47-26 win over St. Joseph in Metuchen.

Split vote gives Hillsborough top ranking in Big Central Media Poll, ousting Somerville from No. 1

Hillsborough, Somerville and Union each got two first place votes from the media, but it was the undefeated Raiders who came out first overall in the Week 7 Big Central Media Poll.

Hillsborough (7-0) received 47 points, while Somerville (5-1) got 45, and Union (6-1) picked up 43 in media voting, the tightest among the top three this season for the second week in a row, as only four points separated last week’s grouping as well.

Last week, Somerville and Woodbridge split the six first place votes, but then-No. 4 Woodbridge’s loss to then No. 8 Cranford caused a stir among voters for Week 7.

Seventh-ranked Ridge and No. 9 Delaware Valley dropped out after losses, while Phillipsburg re-entered the poll, and St. Thomas Aquinas made its first appearance of the season. The Trojans are 6-0 and have not allowed a point all season.

Should Aquinas pick up a seventh shutout at Governor Livingston Friday night, that would be the most in a season by a Middlesex County school since the 2004 Piscataway Chiefs shutout seven in 2004, en route to a perfect 12-0 season and a state title win over Phillipsburg. That Chiefs team had three future NFL first round draft picks: Malcolm Jenkins, Kyle Wilson and Anthony Davis.

Below are the Week 7 Big Central media rankings:

Somerville holds steady in Week 7 Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten

A hard-fought 47-26 win at St. Joseph of Metuchen – Saturday’s Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland – was enough to keep Somerville in the top spot of the Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings.

The 5-1 Pioneers – a unanimous pick – are followed by Hillsborough (7-0) in second and Union (6-1) in third, with the top three all holding their positions.

But two blowouts and a tight Division 4 battle threw the rest of the rankings for a topsy-turvy ride in Week 7.

Cranford jumped to fourth from seventh after a 38-28 road win at then-No. 4 Woodbridge, while Old Bridge and North Brunswick fell after getting blanked a combined 86-0 by No. 2 Hillsborough and No. 3 Union.

Three teams re-enter the poll this week: Bridgewater-Raritan (7th), Phillipsburg (9th) and St. Thomas Aquinas (10th). In fact, the poll was so fractured this week, three teams – Aquinas, Old Bridge and Ridge – ended up tied for tenth.

Delaware Valley was the only team to drop out, after suffering its first loss of the season, 21-19 at Hillside.

Below are the full Week 7 Central Jersey Sports Radio rankings:

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.

Week 6 North 4 Playoff Analysis: Woodbridge aiming for a top-seed, six BCC teams in bottom half

NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect today’s cancellation of the Shore Conference pod championships.

The only Big Central team with any virtual certainty of their playoff positioning in the North Group 4 supersection should be the Woodbridge Barrons. With a big game Friday night against undefeated Cranford (CJSR, 7 pm), Woodbridge (6-0) currently sits third in the standings.

With the top two in the section getting home games throughout the sectional finals, the Barrons aren’t that far off. But neither is Middletown South. Both teams have a UPR of 3.2, which is just two-tenths of a point behind second place Ramapo. That means if either gains one position in power point or OSI rank, they’ll likely surpass Ramapo.

Continue reading “Week 6 North 4 Playoff Analysis: Woodbridge aiming for a top-seed, six BCC teams in bottom half”

Gap narrows at the top, but Somerville remains cream of Big Central Media Poll crop in Week 6

When it took over first place in Week 3 from North Brunswick following a Raiders loss to Sayreville, the Somerville Pioneers had four of the six first place votes, and 55 points.

Though they remain atop the media rankings in Week 6, they’ve had three votes the last few times out, but are down to 45 points in the survey, ten points off their high water mark.

And only five points separates Somerville from the fourth place team, Woodbridge, which got the other three first-place picks. Places five through eight are a big drop down, then it goes down to nine and ten, with five BCC teams also receiving votes.

Sayreville debuts at No. 10.

Following is the Week 6 Big Central Media Poll:

Somerville holds, Sayreville debuts in Week 6 Central Jersey Sports Radio Big Central Top Ten

Idle Somerville – waylaid by a COVID-related cancellation for the second straight year against Phillipsburg – remains in the top spot of the Central Jersey Sports Radio Big Central Conference rankings for Week 6.

In fact, the top six places saw no change, which has been a fairly typical occurrence this season; the top half has generally remained steady, while the bottom few teams tend to change week to week.

The Week 6 rankings found seventh-ranked Bridgewater-Raritan dropping out after its third loss of the season, this week a 49-21 decision at No. 3 Union.

Tenth-ranked Colonia also bowed out, dropping its second game this season, a 27-14 loss at No. 7 Cranford.

Making its debut in the rankings this week was Sayreville, after a 34-6 win over Piscataway. The Bombers are 3-2 and own a road win at ranked North Brunswick last month.

Below are the Week 6 rankings: