Tag: Soctch Plains-Fanwood

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.

North Plainfield named Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Turnaround Team of the Year

Following a 1-10 season in 2018, North Plainfield got things headed in the right direction with a 4-6 record in 2019.

In a pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Canucks almost entirely reversed field, and finished with a 7-1 mark, their lone loss coming by a 30-14 score in a Week 8 postseason affair with Linden.

It was their best season by far and away since North Plainfield went 9-1 in 2010, their lone loss to Carteret in the state playoffs.

Head coach Jimmy DiPaolo’s squad only won three games in his first two seasons at Krausche Field, but now are 11-7 over their last two seasons.

LISTEN: Elsais, Canucks cruising to best start since 2010

Adam Elsais was a big reason why. The three-year starter at linebacker was a big influence on the team, which also saw like Kahn-Yae Stevens emerge. The junior, who played in all three phases of the game, scored at least a touchdown in each of them. Fellow junior Keiahn Grenald at QB will help form a solid base for the future as well, for a team that learned from Elsais and other seniors, but will have to forge their own way in 2021.

Click below to listen to head coach Jimmy DiPaolo talk about North Plainfield’s big turnaround:

Honorable mentions for Turnaround Team of the Year include Monroe and Scotch Plains-Fanwood.

Monroe finished 5-1, by far its best record since Chris Beagan left in 2016 to coach his alma mater, Sayreville. Dan Lee’s squad went 8-30 in his first four seasons, but this year’s 5-1 record – interrupted by a COVID stoppage – included wins over two solid teams in South Brunswick and, ironically, Sayreville. The Falcons’ only loss came to Old Bridge, which ended the season ranked 7th in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten.

LISTEN: Monroe senior QB Aidan McLaughlin credits his teammates for his record-setting performance

Scotch Plains-Fanwood, meanwhile, finished 5-2 in head coach Austin Holman’s second year, following a 4-6 record in his first campaign. From 2013-2018, under Jon Stack, then Mark Ciccotelli, the Raiders had gone a combined 9-50 over six seasons. This year, they lost only to Woodbridge – which finished 7-1 and was ranked No. 1 for most of the year in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten and Big Central Media Poll – and Cedar Grove, which finished 5-1 playing in the North Jersey Super Football Conference. The Raiders also picked up blowout wins over Princeton, JFK and Colonia by a combined 136-29 margin.