Tag: Somerville

MacNair’s 300-yard game propels No. 1 Somerville past game St. Joe’s-Metuchen

It took 300 yards and three touchdowns from senior Ethan MacNair to help No. 1 Somerville hold off St. Joseph Saturday afternoon at Brenner Family Field in Metuchen.

The Pioneers improved to 5-1 with a 47-26 win over the Falcons (2-4) in the Saturday Big Central Game of the Week, driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

MacNair was the workhorse for Somerville, carrying the ball 30 times in his newfound role. Last year, he was a tight end on offense, helping to pave the way for a lot of long Cookie Desiderio runs and touchdowns.

In fact, his role carrying the ball is so new this season, it’s only been of late that he’s been the main back. To wit, he had 322 rushing yards coming into the game against the Falcons, and nearly equaled that in one contest.

For his efforts, MacNair was named the Autoland Player of the Game, and he’ll receive a custom football at the end of the year, courtesy of Autoland.

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Ethan MacNair down on the field after the game:

No. 1 Somerville and St. Joseph to meet for the first time Saturday afternoon in Metuchen

St. Joseph head coach Rich Hilliard his team isn’t afraid to play anyone. They don’t shy away from a challenge.

That’s a good mindset for his Falcons to have when they entertain top-ranked Somerville Saturday afternoon at Brenner Family Field in the Saturday “Big Central Game of the Week” driven by Mark Montenero and his team at the world-famous Autoland.

The Pioneers come in with a 4-1 record, but have been dominant. Three of their four wins have been by shutout, and they have only allowed more than seven points once this season, that in a 32-20 loss to state-ranked Northern Highlands.

St. Joseph, meanwhile, is 2-3, but they’ve won two straight since losing three in a row to start the season, winning 31-7 at Piscataway, then beating New Brunswick at home last week 38-14.

Somerville is fast, and not just on foot. They run a tempo offense that puts teams back on its heels, and preparation on defense will be the key for St. Joe’s if they intend to win the game.

In fact, their best defense may be a slow, methodical offense, one that puts up some points.

Mike Pavlichko and Dom Savino will call all the action this afternoon, with the game kicking off at 2 pm. Pregame is at 1:45. You can listen live by clicking here.

Click below to hear both head coaches preview the game:

Somerville head coach Dallas Whitaker

St. Joseph coach Rich Hilliard

Week 6 Group 3 playoff analysis: Cranford in the drivers’ seat for a top seed in the North; Somerville may end up on the road in the South

There they are, right at the top: Cranford – undefeated at 5-0 with a huge game at Woodbridge Friday night (7 pm, CJSR) – leads the entire North Group 3 supersection, the only team from the Big Central Conference to hold such a lofty position in the Week 6 playoff standings.

The Cougars are 1.7 UPR points ahead of West Morris (2.8), while West Essex (3.2) and River Dell (3.8) are not far behind. But there’s no real advantage to being first or second overall, other than the first-place team gets the 16th overall team in the opening round, while the second-place team gets the 15th overall team. And in the playoffs, it’s always more about matchups anyway.

For just this one more season, home field will end at the sectional finals, and the “regional championships” will be held at Met Life Stadium. But next year, when football plays down to overall group champions – finally! – those games will be at neutral sites, and it remains to be seen if the “regional championships” – soon to be “group semifinals” – will be held at neutral sites as well, or at the higher seeded team’s home field.

Nonetheless, it’s stating the obvious that a win against Woodbridge would be huge. But, practically-speaking, it’s an opportunity to shore up a top-two spot for Cranford. A loss, and they still might get it. That may depend, in part, what happens the rest of the way with West Morris (4-2) and West Essex (5-1), and to some extent, possibly River Dell (4-2).

The next team down in North 3 is Summit, where the Hilltoppers are in the 9th spot with a UPR of 8.4. They’re more likely to move up than down, in our estimation. There are two teams ahead of them within two UPR points, Lincoln (8.2) and Montville (7.6). But the teams behind them are at least 2.4 UPR points away. Pascack Valley is a 10.8 and Vernon has an 11.6 UPR.

The only other team from the BCC with a remote possibility here here is North Plainfield. The Canucks are 3-3 but have won two straight. And they may win out, with three road games coming up to finish the regular year at Governor Livingston and South River; those opponents have a combined four wins, and the best of them is South River. The Rams are 3-2 with a 48.25 SI. That Strength Index will help North Plainfield, as will the 15 power points they’ll get. But whether it’s enough to offset the drop they’ll possibly see even if they beat their previous two opponents may not be enough to overcome.

The next two weeks will bring that into clearer focus for cutoff weekend.

South Group 3:

Rumson-Fair Haven, which has one of the toughest schedules in the state among public schools – and also has benefitted from a mutliplier win over Donovan Catholic – leads the pack here, followed by undefeated Cedar Creek, the only seven-win team in the state at the moment.

This is one of the sections where we will differ from Gridiron New Jersey, which did not use the Week 5 Strength Index update for Out of State teams as it outlined in a post last Friday. Those SI numbers are to be updated at mid-season, then again after Week 8 when all the other SI values are fixed heading into the final weekend.

This affects Somerville, which is also one of the teams whose OSI is off because of the discrepancy. The Pioneers played Olney Prep of Philly in Week Zero. Holmdel is off, too, as they played St. Joe’s by the Sea (NY) on Week One.

By CJSR’s calculations, Somerville is in 6th at the moment (Gridiron has them 8th) but there’s also the matter of the Pioneers’ forfeit against Phillipsburg, which will go down as a loss after week eight if it’s not made up, but has not been added to the mix yet. If it were factored in now, the Pioneers move to tenth, and would be two places out of at least a first round home game.

That’s rare territory for Somerville, which is used to battling for a top seed. But that’s what two losses will do, no matter how they come.

In any event, it’s critical for the Pioneers to win out, and a victory at St. Joseph of Metuchen Saturday (2 pm, CJSR) would be a big help, since they’re a multiplier that would get them 42 points for a win. Warren Hills (4-2) is next, and then Summit on Cutuoff Weekend (5-1).

They can win out, and need to if they want a shot at a home game at least in the first round of the playoffs, although they still might get it with a loss to the Falcons and wins over the Blue Streaks and Hilltoppers, as St. Joe’s is worth 28 points for a loss.

The only other Big Central team in this race is Rahway, which has won two straight after dropping their first three, and stands in 15th place. A tall task for the Indians comes this weekend in a road game at Donovan Catholic, but they’re a multiplier, so even a loss will give them a boost. That’s a 42/28 multiplier, so even the 28 for a loss would jump their power point average from 8.8 to 12. That would jump them from 16th to 11th in power point rank (assuming no one else moves), which is good for 2 full UPR points, and would likely move them to a more comfortable 12th or 13th place. They close at South Plainfield and Hillside, which both could be must-wins. We’ll have to see how this week shakes out.

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:

It’s still The ‘Ville atop Big Central Media Poll; Bridgewater-Raritan makes its debut after big road win

For the second week in a row, Somerville and Woodbridge split the first-place votes in the Week 5 Big Central Media Poll – three apiece – but the Pioneers held on to the top spot in the survey.

Woodbridge came in fourth, down a spot from last week, as Hillsborough climbed one position on the strength of a road win against then-No. 5 Ridge, which fell to seventh.

Bridgewater-Raritan entered the poll for the first time this year, despite a 3-2 mark, but on the strength of a 17-7 road win at then-No. 7 Phillipsburg, which dropped out of the poll, having fallen to 2-3.

Colonia and Phillipsburg also received votes.

Below is the Week 6 poll:

Pioneers remain No. 1, but Hillsborough edges closer after Top 5 win against Ridge

There’s no change at the very top of the Central Jersey High School Football Top Ten, but there is right below, as Hillsborough edges up from second to third.

The Raiders gained after a 42-14 win at previously-No. 5 Ridge, in a game where the Raiders where in control virtually wire-to-wire. No. 2 Union – which beat Westfield Friday night 14-3 in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland on Central Jersey Sports Radio – dropped to third.

Ridge remained in the Top Ten, but Phillipsburg did not, after the Stateliners suffered their third loss of the season, this one 17-7 at home to previously-unranked Bridgewater-Raritan, which enters the poll at No. 7, tied with Cranford.

Also dropping out after a one-week appearance was St. Thomas Aquinas, which was idle after South River had to cancel their Saturday game with the Trojans. Colonia, however, jumped in, tied for tenth with unbeaten Delaware Valley. The Patriots beat Linden on the road, 23-14, a Tigers’ team that had just beaten ranked Westfield the previous week. Colonia plays at No. 7 Cranford Friday night.

Below are the Week 5 rankings:

No. 1 Somerville makes it three straight heading into big road game at Phillipsburg

The top-ranked Pioneers kept on being the Pioneers Friday night, blanking South Plainfield 43-0 at Brooks Field in Somerville, giving them a 4-1 mark heading into a big road matchup in Week Six.

Ethan MacNair had two touchdown runs, while Jaimen Bryant had a touchdown catch and a punt return for a score, while Tristan Garcia and Dylan Knapp also reached the end zone.

And then there was the defense, blanking its third opponent this season. In their four wins this season, the Pioneers have only allowed one touchdown – to Rahway – and have outscored their opponents 160-7.

Their line hiccup was a non-conference loss in the Rumble on the Raritan to Northern Highlands, 32-20. The Highlanders are ranked 11th in the state by nj.com and are their third highest-ranked public school in the state, behind Rumson-Fair Haven (No. 7) and Millville (No. 8).

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with Somerville head coach Dallas Whitaker about the Pioneers’ win over South Plainfield, the season so far, and next Friday night’s trip to Phillipsburg:

Somerville splits top spot voting, but remains No. 1 in Big Central Media Poll for Week Four

Despite Somerville losing a first-place vote to Woodbridge, and the schools evenly splitting the six votes for the top spot at three apiece, the Pioneers remain No. 1 in the Week Four Big Central Media Poll compiled by Central Jersey Sports Radio.

In fact, Woodbridge still holds in third in the poll, with the voters who didn’t pick the Barrons number one ranking Union higher overall.

The top nine teams remained in the same positions as a week ago, except for Birdgewater-Raritan, which had been tied for ninth. The Panthers (2-2) dropped out following a 31-21 home loss Saturday to No. 4 Hillsborough.

Delaware Valley and Linden debut in the rankings this week, tied for the tenth and final spot.

Below are the Week Four rankings:

The ‘Ville holds on to top spot in Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, with few other changes

The top nine teams – including Number One Somerville – didn’t budge an inch in the Week Four Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten.

The Pioneers were idle.

The only teams to lose in Week Four were Bridgewater-Raritan and Westfield, the two teams tied for tenth. The Panthers lost 31-21 at home Saturday afternoon to No. 3 Hillsborough, while the Blue Devils were knocked off by unranked Linden 20-14.

Both dropped out of the CJSR rankings.

All six teams who at one point checked in at No. 10 have been bounced from the poll. Only two lasted more than one week: New Providence (from Preseason to Week One) and Bernards (from Week One to Week Two).

Westfield and Monroe were replaced this week by a pair of 4-0 teams who will face each other in their regular season finales: St. Thomas Aquinas and Delaware Valley, both of which are making their debut in the Top Ten.

Below is the Week four poll: