Tag: South Plainfield

You – the fans – get to pick again! It’s the Jersey Central Sports Radio 2023 “Highlight Reel Play of the Year.” Watch the video, and vote!

Central Jersey Sports Radio is giving YOU the chance to weigh in on your favorite play of the 2023 high school football season! All five finalists are in the montage below…

Watch the video below, then scroll down
to vote for your favorite!!
Voting ends at 11:59 pm on Wednesday, Dec. 16th.
Remember: Vote early, vote often!

Which was your favorite play from 2023?

Thanks for your answer!

Min votes count should be 1

Highlanders do it with defense: Governor Livingston stymies South Plainfield, 25-6

Governor Livingston entered Week 5 play Thursday night in 16th place in the North Group 3 playoff chase, despite being 4-1.

All they can do is win games at this point, and so far, just about all they have been doing is winning games.

The Highlanders made it their fifth in a row with a 25-6 win at South Plainfield’s Frank Jost Field Thursday night, pulling away in the second half and blanking the Tigers after halftime.

Quarterback Ryan Balent found Patrick Smith four minutes into the game on a 15-yard touchdown pass, and after a failed two-point pass, they led 6-0.

That was all they would muster the rest of the game. GL scored 25 unanswered, starting with the equalizer, a one-yard run by Jack Dally after quarterback Lucciano Santamaria – a fellow junior – set him up with a huge run on fourth down to get near the goal line. The extra point made it 7-6 with 2:39 to go in the quarter.

After a scoreless second, Governor Livingston ratcheted up the defense, and got some insurance. A Mason Barker field goal made it 10-6. A touchdown pass to Matthew Shaffer made it 17-6. A safety made it 19-6, and Owen Chait capped it off with one last touchdown.

The win gives the Highlanders their best start since 2006, when they started 8-1, but dropped their final two games, losing to Raritan in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals. It’s also their first five-game win streak since then, a year they started 1-1 but won their next seven games through the first round of the playoffs.

South Plainfield fell to 3-3.

Click below for postgame reaction with Marcus Borden from Frank Jost Field, presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

Mid-Season Playoff Analysis: Summit, Cranford, Carteret may have chance at top seeds in Group 3

It’s our first week of playoff analysis here at Central Jersey Sports Radio – this year, presented by our friends at My Family Appliances in Edison – and it seems like more teams have a legitimate shot at earning top seeds.

That may just be anecdotal evidence, and there’s still a lot of football to be played, but as of now, at least three Group 3 schools may have a chance.

But first…

Playoff Qualification Primer

The NJSIAA uses the United Power Ranking (UPR) to determine where teams are seeded. Without getting into all the behind the scenes calculations and caveats, each team’s UPR is based on two factors: their rank in the supersection based on power points and on OSI.

Power points are an average and based on the traditional formula that’s been used – albeit altered from time-to-time – over the years. Teams get six points for every win, group points based on the group of the opponent, and residuals – 3 for every win by a team you beat, 1 for every win by a team you lost to.

OSI is the Opponent Strength Index, and average of all the opponents played. Teams get the full value of a team’s Strength Index for a win, half for a loss. A win over an opponent with an SI of 80 gets and 80, a loss gets you 40 points. SI varies based on results throughout the year.

Teams are ranked in each category. OSI values are worth 60 percent of the formula, power points 40 percent. That added number makes the UPR, with lower numbers better. The best UPR a team can have is a 1, which is first in both power points and OSI.

The UPR is calculated for the NJSIAA by the website Gridiron New Jersey. Central Jersey Sports Radio also does its own unofficial calculations throughout the season, and will unveil its playoff projections in our annual special broadcast, this year on Saturday, October 21 from 5-7 pm, presented by My Family Appliances in Edison.

North Group 3

While Old Tappan (4-0, 10-game win streak, second longest active in the state) sits at the top, Summit (3-1) is No. 2 overall at the moment in the section, with a 2.2 UPR, right behind Old Tappan (1.4) and ahead of Warren Hills (4-1, 2.4 UPR) by a smidge. Cranford (2-2) is just behind the, but it’s a wider gap, as they have a 6.4 UPR, which is decent ground to make up.

The Hilltoppers have a good schedule coming up after winless Scotch Plains-Fanwood at home this weekend, with strong teams like Linden at home next week, then two road games to closer it out at Colonia and St. Joseph-Metuchen. Old Tappan’s schedule may be slightly lower in quality the rest of the way out, and Warren Hills is fairly similar, too. Summit may have to win out to earn a top seed, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Cranford has a tough schedule, too, including closing with Group 5 North Brunswick. The Cougars may need some help, but it’t not out of the question for them either if things break right.

The next area team in the standings is Hillside at No. 12. The Comets are 3-1, and should fairly safely be in the playoffs if they continue to play at the level they have been; their lone loss is to Ridge.

Governor Livingston is an interesting study. The Highlanders are 4-1, having won four straight after losing their opener. It”s their best start since going 8-1 to start 2006, a season they finished 8-3. It’s their first four-game win streak since 2008, when the Highlanders went 7-5 and lost to Caldwell in the North 2, Group 2 title game.

All that and GL is only in 16th place.

It’s mainly due to their schedule: three of their four wins have come against teams that are a combined 0-14 in North Plainfield, JFK and JP Stevens. The schedule gets tougher though, with Carteret and Bernards – teams with top-seed playoff aspirations – among their final four games. Both are at home, the Ramblers next week, and Bernards on the Saturday of Cutoff Weekend.

A win against one of those might be needed in order to combat the weak schedule. Stay tuned, they could be this year’s cause celebre in the Big Central, a la Spotswood last year and Manville two years ago. They finished with seven and six wins, respectively, at the cutoff, and didn’t make the postseason, and scheduling had a lot to do with it.

South Group 3

It might be a bit of a longshot, and playing winless JP Stevens won’t help them this week, no matter how close they keep it, but Carteret sits in sixth with a 7.4 UPR, 4.8 points behind second-place Holmdel.

Then again, after the Hawks this Friday night (7 pm on CJSR) the schedule gets tougher. There’s 4-1 Governor Livingston, then Rahway and Hillside.

A lot may depend on what others do.

Somerville (3-2) sits in eighth at the moment, so they’re right on the bubble of a first round home game. They could go either way at this still-early date.

South Plainfield, like Governor Livingston, is another plus-.500 team in rough shape. At 3-2, the Tigers sit in 24th place, a full nine UPR points out of the playoff window. Worse yet, their remaining schedule is not good. Other than GL this week, they have Voorhees, at Perth Amboy, and home to Monroe the last three weeks; those three teams are a combined 6-9. It’s not awful, but there’s no “big win” either, to give them a big boost.

Carteret routs South Plainfield; Ramblers 3-0 for first time since 2016

The third season under head coach Kevin Freeman – a Carteret alum – is paying dividends for the Rambler football team.

With a 40-7 win over South Plainfield Friday night at The Pit, Carteret is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2016, when the team started 5-0 en route to a 6-4 season under Matt Yascko.

Jahad Thompson figured large for the Ramblers; he had a punt return for a touchdown and a long interception return that set up another score.

The 40 points scored by Carteret also make it three games in a row the Ramblers have scored 40-plus points, something they haven’t done since at least the turn of the century, in the last 23 seasons. The last time they scored 40-plus points three times in a season also was 2016, and they turned the trick five times in 2012, when the Ramblers went undefeated – 12-0 – and won the Central Jersey Group 2 title.

Carteret has outscored its first three opponents this season – St. Joe’s-Hammonton, Perth Amboy, and South Plainfield (1-2) – by a 124-26 margin.

Click below to hear Carteret head coach Kevin Freeman talk about Friday’s win over South Plainfield and the Ramblers’ 3-0 start to the season:

South Plainfield wants to keep it going after Tigers’ first-ever divisional title

As if South Plainfield’s first divisional title wasn’t enough, the 2022 edition of the Tigers football also brought the program’s first undefeated regular season (8-0) since 1965.

While they might have had an underdog mentality before, that mindset changes a bit this season, with everyone in the United Silver Division of the Big Central Conference gunning for them.

Carteret wasn’t happy with that loss last year. North Plainfield is their big, old Thanksgiving Day rival anyway. And Governor Livingston and JP Stevens will be looking to make statements, too.

“Eleven as one,” is the saying this year, and the Tigers have a lot coming back. The focus of the offense returns in the name of runningback Patrick Smith, after a junior year in which he ran for 786 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also catching eleven passes out of the backfield.

2023 Big Central Preview: United Silver Division

Can South Plainfield repeat again as division champions? The Tigers won their first-ever division title in football in 2022, but should get a game challenge from a veteran Carteret team led by third-year head coach and Rambler alum Kevin Freeman, along with several D1 recruits, such as Sir Hezekiah Ragland.

The question here is what other teams will step up and challenge those two?

Newer coaches abound. Behind Carteret and South Plainfield last year were Governor Livingston and North Plainfield, both of whom have second-year coaches who were hired late in the previous off-season, so the Highlanders’ Pete Ramiccio and the Canucks’ Derrick Eatman actually got full summers this year with their squads.

The newest coach to the mix is Jason Goerge, son of the legendary Joe Goerge, who is in his first head coaching job at JP Stevens. The Hawks will look to snap the state’s second-longest active losing streak – 31 games, behind only Highland Park at 42.

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

INSTANT REPLAY: GMC Tournament Semifinals – (3) St. Joseph 2, (7) South Plainfield 1

Third-seeded St. Joseph-Metuchen erased an early 1-0 deficit with two runs in the sixth inning to get past seventh-seeded South Plainfield 2-1 in the GMC Tournament semifinals on Saturday, May 13th at Ray Cipperly Field in East Brunswick. The Falcons go on to play top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick in the finals on Saturday, May 20th, a rematch of last year’s title game.

Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe call all the play-by-play:

St. Joseph rallies for two late runs to get by South Plainfield 2-1, earning third straight trip to GMCT title game

South Plainfield’s Aldo Pigna kept St. Joseph of Metuchen’s feared lineup in check for most of the game.

But not all of the game.

After the seventh-seeded Tigers got on the board first in the fifth inning to go ahead 1-0, the third-seeded Falcons nearly batted around in the bottom of the seventh and went ahead 2-1, then kept South Plainfield off the board in the seventh for the win, as heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison.

St. Joe’s (15-7) now will face either top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick or fourth-seed Monroe in next week’s finals. It’ll be the third straight trip to the GMC Finals for the Falcons, who won in 2021, but lost last year to North Brunswick. They are 7-2 all-time in the finals.

South Plainfield dropped to 11-11 with the loss.

The Tigers scored a run in the fourth with two outs. Jay Alvarez doubled over the left fielder’s head, then Ashton Donovan drove him in with a single to center field.

But with Pigna moving right along, he lost his control of the strike zone in the sixth.

Josiah Brown singled to lead off the inning, then Tyler DelVecchio walked. Matthew Kosuda then followed it up with a single to tie the game at one.

After another walk to Joseph Zammiti to load the bases, still with none out, Christian Azcona popped up into foul territory for the first out. Pinch hitter Connor Drury struck out for the second, but a walk to nine-hitter Bobby Christiansen drove in the second run,

Pigna stuck in there, though and got Mark Gialluisi on a groundout to end the inning and strand the bases loaded, limiting further damage.

But in the last chance in the seventh, South Plainfield would threaten. Donovan led off with a single, then Kevin Penny followed with another after Brandon Bickunas flew out to center for the first out. Brian Potts flew out to left before Brian Rios came in to close it out.

And he did, getting the save after flying out Nick Irizarry to right on one pitch to end the game.

Click below for postgame reaction presented by Sportsplex at Metuchen:

St. Joseph starting pitcher Jimmy Mulvaney
St. Joseph head coach Mike Murray

South Plainfield looks to keep rolling as Tigers face St. Joe’s in GMCT semis

For third-year coach Scott Glichenhaus and South Plainfield, the start of this season was a bit of a rollercoaster.

A shut-out loss, followed by a 10-run win. Another close loss, and then another hit parade. Lose one, then win one against the top of the GMC. Rinse and repeat.

Boasting one of the most prolific offenses in the GMC, the Tigers (11-10) opened their season with splits against North Brunswick, East Brunswick, and South Brunswick. The offense was in a pattern: 0 runs, then 11, then 3, then 12, then 0, and then 16.

It wasn’t a matter of capability; it was a matter of consistency.

With 54 runs scored over their last six games – five of them wins – seventh-seeded South Plainfield has found that consistency, and at just the right time. In Wednesday’s GMC Tournament quarterfinal upset of second-seeded Old Bridge, the Tigers exploded for 11 runs, including at least one in each of the final five innings.

They now find themselves just one win away from their first GMC final since 2018, when South Plainfield won it all as a No. 14 seed.

Freshman centerfielder Dom Massaro is hitting .360 with a team-leading 24 RBIs. Junior infielder Jayden Alvarez is hitting .377 with 19 RBIs and junior infielder Zach Robinson is hitting .377 with 18 RBIs. As a group, they have hit seven home runs and together comprise one of the most feared offensive trios in the GMC.

On Saturday, South Plainfield looks to keep the bats rolling against third-seeded St. Joseph’s in the first game of the GMCT semifinals at East Brunswick Magnet School’s Ray Cipperly Field. The Tigers and the Falcons split a pair of games during the regular season.

Game time is 12:00, the first of two semifinal games, both of which you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio, driven by Auto Lounge of Edison with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Click here to listen; coverage starts at 11:40 am

Click below to hear Central Jersey Sports Radio’s Justin Sontupe talk with South Plainfield head coach Scott Gleichenhaus about the progression of his team in 2023:

St. Joseph’s bats held down the fort while the pitching found its groove

Baseball is truly unlike any other sport.

But rather than extol its virtues, the one detriment is that pitching takes time.

It takes time to get the feel of the ball, rediscover the mechanics, find a connection with your catcher, and so on. It’s why spring training for Major League ball players is about six weeks.

So when you have significantly more inexperienced pitchers – i.e., high schoolers – getting only about a week to figure it out due to the new NJSIAA calendar, well, the results don’t automatically come right off the bat, so to speak.

Good thing St. Joseph of Metuchen coach Mike Murray has kids like Robbie Carvelli, Josiah Brown, Christian Azcona, and veteran catcher Mark Gialluisi in the lineup.

Their bats helped St. Joe’s in the early going, and now that the pitching has come around, the Falcons are playing their best baseball at the right time: in the county tournament.

Saturday, third-seeded St. Joseph (13-7, pending Friday’s game at Bridgewater-Raritan) will take on 7th seed South Plainfield (11-10) in the first game of the Greater Middlesex Conference Tournament semifinals at East Brunswick Magnet School’s Ray Cipperly Field.

Game time is 12:00, the first of two semifinal games, both of which you can hear on Central Jersey Sports Radio – driven by Auto Lounge of Edison beginning at 12:40 pm with Mike Pavlichko and Justin Sontupe calling all the action. Click here to listen.

The Falcons are seeking their third straight trip to the GMC Tournament title game, having won the event in 2021 – the first year after COVID – but falling last year to North Brunswick in the finals.

And should they reach their tenth GMC championship game overall – where they are 7-2 all-time, with six shutout wins – it could be a rematch of last year’s final, with top-seed and defending champion North Brunswick taking on fourth-seed Monroe in the other semifinal at 2:30, which can also be heard on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

Click below to hear Centreal Jersey Sports Radio’s Mike Pavlichko talk with St. Joseph head coach Mike Murray about the progression of his team in 2023: