Tag: undefeated

And then there were three: Aquinas, Hillsborough, Cranford carry the Big Central torch of undefeated teams heading into Week Eight

There are 23 undefeated teams left in New Jersey high school football, and the Big Central has three of them: St. Thomas Aquinas, Hillsborough, and Cranford. And all three have challenging games coming up the next two weeks.

Overall, there are 23 high school football teams in the Garden State with unblemished records. Only three are non-public schools; Aquinas (6-0) is joined by Bergen Catholic and Red Bank Catholic, both of which are 7-0.

Overall, the Shore Conference has four undefeated teams: including Middletown South at 5-0, while Long Branch and Point Pleasant Boro are both 6-0.

The West Jersey Football League has six. Gloucester City is 5-0, Nottingham is 6-0, and Ocean City, Woodbury and Delsea are all 7-0. Cedar Creek leads the state with the most wins, at 8-0.

The North Jersey Super Football Conference has eight teams unbeaten. East Orange, Caldwell and Dumont are all 6-0, but Dumont isn’t eligible for the playoffs, being in one of the Ivy “relief” divisions. Ramsey, Newton, Northern Highlands, Ramapo and Bergen Catholic are all perfect through seven games.

The North Jersey Interscholastic Conference has two perfect teams. Park Ridge is 6-0. Bogota is 4-0, and like Dumont, ineligible for the postseason, being in a “relief” division.

Hillsborough, No. 2 in the Central Jersey Sports Radio Top Ten, plays at winless Piscataway this Friday night, then comes back home for a date with No. 8 North Brunswick at Noonan Field on cutoff weekend, the Raiders’ last big challenge before the playoffs.

No. 4 Cranford plays the last two games of a three-game road stretch, continuing this Friday at Linden, and next week at Montgomery, which has won two straight after an 0-4 start and in striking distance of the playoffs in North Group 4.

St. Thomas Aquinas – in a three-way tie for tenth in the latest rankings – is 6-0 and hasn’t allowed a point all year. Whether the shutout streak reaches seven games will be determined Friday night, when the Trojans welcome Governor Livingston (0-6) to North Edison. But next week, they face a much stiffer challenge when they welcome a really talented Delaware Valley team to Trojan Country.

There are 30 undefeated teams remaining in New Jersey: How do the Big Central schools stack up?

After seven weeks of play (yes, we’ve only finished Week 6, don’t get us started about “Week 0”) there are 30 teams remaining in New Jersey without a single loss.

Five of them are in the Big Central, including Cranford (5-0), Delaware Valley (6-0), Hillsborough (6-0). St. Thomas Aquinas (5-0), and Woodbridge (6-0). That number will be reduced to four this weekend, after Woodbridge hosts Cranford Friday night on the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland (7 pm on CJSR).

But we decided to take a closer look at those teams and how they stack up against the rest of the state.

(We skipped the two schools – Bogota and Dumont – who are in the NJIC and NJSFC divisions that include schools that requested “schedule relief” and therefore are ineligible for the postseason.)

Of the 28 undefeated teams eligible for the playoffs, St. Thomas Aquinas is the only one to have not allowed a single point all season long. The Trojans are 5-0, pitching shutouts in all five games, against Woodstown, Roselle, Spotswood, Johnson and Belvidere. Their remaining schedule includes a road game against Middlesex this weekend, a home game against Governor Livingston, then a huge test in the regular season finale, hosting Delaware Valley.

Aquinas leads the entire state with its five goose eggs.

Among undefeated teams, Ocean City and Central each have four, but have played six games. Woodstown (5-1) also has four shutouts.

The largest margin of victory among the undefeated teams also belongs to Aquinas, which is winning this season by an average of 41 points per game. And that’s including a 6-0 season-opening win over Woodstown, the Wolverines only loss this season. Five of their six games have been shutouts, four in their favor.

After Aquinas, there are three undefeated teams that have not allowed more than a touchdown in any game this year.

Ocean City, with its four shutouts, has not allowed more than seven points in its other two wins. Rumson-Fair Haven – with one of the toughest schedules in the state – has been even more impressive; the Bulldogs have only two shutouts, but have never allowed more than seven in a game. The same goes for Cedar Creek, the only seven-win team in the state.

The smallest average margin of victory of the 28 teams belongs to Middletown South. And 5-0, they’re the only team that has not scored more than 100 total points this year, outscoring opponents just 96-36, with an average margin of victory of 12.2 points.

Eight teams with unbeaten records have allowed fewer than 20 points in every game this year. In addition to Aquinas, Ocean City, Rumson and Cedar Creek, Middletown South, Delsea, Nottingham and Woodbury are on the list.

Below is the full list. Schools of the same group size are linked by color, starting with Group 5, working down to Group 1, then Non-Public A and B:

Who are the eight undefeated teams left in the Big Central heading into Week 5?

As we head into Week Five of nine in high school football across New Jersey, there are dozens of undefeated teams remaining in the state – 52 to be exact.

Eight of them reside in the Big Central Conference.

The North Jersey Super Football Conference leads the pack with 19, including Immaculata, which is playing in the Independence Red Division after leaving the fledgling Big Central over a disagreement about their division and scheduling.

So who are these eight teams? Who’s having their best success in years? We take a closer look:

Hillsborough (4-0) ad Ridge (3-0): We put these teams together since they square off tonight in Basking Ridge, so one will have suffered their first loss of the season. The Raiders started 2019 with a 4-0 mark, and a win tonight would give them their best start since they won seven-in-a-row to start the 2014 season. That year, the Raiders made it to the Central Jersey Group 5 semifinals, where they lost 28-6 to eventual champion Manalapan, which beat South Brunswick 21-7 for the title at Rutgers.

Each team has a Bellamy & Son Player of the Week to their credit. Thomas Amankwaa of Hillsborough won for his outstanding performance in a 21-14 overtime home win over Phillipsburg a couple of weeks ago, including two touchdowns, a two-point run and an interception on the Liners’ possession in OT that clinched the come-from-behind win. Ridge quarterback Mike Olivo was honored this past week, as he accounted for all seven of his team’s touchdowns (three passing, four rushing) in a 49-20 win over Hunterdon Central.

READ MORE: Big plays in big spots earn Hillsborough’s Tommy Amankwaa Week Two Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Honors

READ MORE: Seven touchdown performance earns Ridge’s Olivo Week Four Bellamy & Son Paving Player of the Week Award

It’s the best start for the Red Devils under second-year head coach Andy West. Bill Tracy was at the helm when Ridge last won three straight to start the year; they went 6-0 to begin 2018.

Bottom line, this kind of start is nothing new for these ballclubs.

Woodbridge (5-0): The Barrons did this last year, and the year before.

In the COVID-shortened 2020 season, they went 5-1, only losing their final game, in the first week of pod play to Somerville in a highly-anticipated 1 vs. 2 matchup. The Barrons had been No. 1 all season, with Somerville working its way to No. 2.

The ‘Ville took a 39-26 decision at Priscoe Field, and then both teams’ seasons ended due to COVID and contact tracing.

READ MORE: Whitaker and Desiderio postgame reaction after Somerville knocks off Woodbridge

Isn’t it great to see high school football back?

The year before, Woodbridge was 10-0 heading into the North 1, Group 4 title game, but lost 37-7 at Northern Highlands.

Cranford (3-0): The Cougars also got off to a hot start last year, beginning the year 3-0. But they were stopped by Woodbridge in their fourth game and finished 6-2, losing in their finale in pod play to St. Joseph-Metuchen.

READ MORE: Cranford wins a battle of top Union County QBs, Cougars off to 2-0 start

Cranford has Scotch Plains-Fanwood at home tonight, then hosts Colonia next Friday, before traveling to the other side of Route One for what could be a battle of two undefeated teams at Priscoe Field on Friday, October 15th, in the Big Central Game of the Week driven by Autoland heard live on Central Jersey Sports Radio.

If you’re looking for the Cougars’ next best start prior to last year, you’d have to go back to 2015, when Cranford ran the table at 12-0 and won the North 2, Group 3 title with a 50-23 win over Chatham at Kean University in Union.

Linden (3-0): Yes, make it three teams out of eight in what we felt heading into the season was one of the more balanced and competitive divisions in the Big Central, Division 4. In addition to Woodbridge and Cranford, the Tigers are unbeaten, and none of the three teams obviously have played each other yet.

It’s a nice turnaround for Linden, which managed just five games last year due to COVID and ended up 1-4. They had a 7-1 start to their 2018 season, but lost their opener before winning seven straight and dropping their last two.

This is their best start since going 7-0 to begin the 2014 campaign, which they finished 10-2, bringing home a North 2, Group 5 trophy; they beat Elizabeth for the title 27-20 at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands.

St. Thomas Aquinas (4-0): The Trojans are on a historic streak. It’s the first time they’ve had this kind of success in North Edison in quite some time.

READ MORE: St. Thomas Aquinas finding historic success, wins fourth straight by shutout

Aquinas has not gone unbeaten in its first four games since starting the 1992 season 6-0-1, their streak stopped on November 7th of that year by Edison. (Fun side note: current Eagles offensive coordinator Matt Yascko had two touchdown catches in that game; the other went to Justin Garbolino, whose son Frankie is the QB at North Brunswick. Yascko’s son QB’s for Edison.)

They’ve not started a year with four straight wins since 1989, when the Trojans went ran the table in the regular season and finished 10-1, their lone loss coming in the Parochial South A final to Notre Dame, 9-6.

Look for a piece on the Trojans later today on cjsportsradio.com.

Delaware Valley (4-0): The Terriers got off to a 5-0 start last year, finishing 6-1 in the COVID-shortened campaign.

Del Val runs record to 4-0 with 40-7 cruise past Governor Livingston

A win tonight against a tough Bernards team would match that effort, and give them a shot at their best start since 2015 when they began 6-0. They also went 7-0 to start 2011 and 8-0 in 2003, finishing 9-1 with a playoff loss to Spotswood.

We got to see them early on against North Plainfield, and the Terriers looked impressive, nearly pitching the shutout before allowing a late touchdown.

Brearley (3-0): The Bears had an 8-2 year in 2019, and won eight straight games in that campaign, but after suffering a season-opening loss to out-of-conference West Essex.

READ MORE: Brearley off to hot 2-0 start, looks to keep it going against rival Roselle Park in Week 3

They’re off to their best start since 2018 when they went 5-0, but their season-opening win was a forfeit by Highland Park, which didn’t have enough personnel to play the game. Going by true on-field wins, you’d have to go back to 2015, when the Bears won their first eleven games, and were the top-seed in the North 2, Group 1 playoffs.

They lost in the finals at Kean 34-12 to second-seed Hoboken.

What team has the longest active winning streak in Big Central play?

The answer to that question may surprise you.

Hint: it’s not any one of the undefeated teams we mentioned above.

The answer? It’s Bernards!

The Mountaineers are 3-1 this season, but their loss came to Penns Grove in the Battle at the Beach in Week Zero. Last year, after a season-opening loss to Hillside – which they avenged this year in the Rumble on the Raritan at Rutgers – Bernards won their final eight games to finish 8-1.

Of those, six came against Big Central opponents (the other two wins were against Monmouth and Immaculata). So, the Bernards winning streak in league is nine games.

After that, it’s Somerville and Woodbridge tied with 8 straight in league play (Somerville’s loss this season was to Northern Highlands).

Union – who’s only loss this season is to Millville, out of conference – has won six straight against BCC competition, while Del Val and Brealy each have won five-in-a-row.

No. 2 Somerville upends No. 1 Woodbridge to remain unbeaten, hand Barrons first loss

Everyone said Ali Lee Jr. of Woodbridge needed a lot of carries and a lot of yards to beat Somerville.

They forgot about Cookie Desiderio.

The pair rushed 32 times each, but Desiderio’s 270 yards were the difference for the Pioneers, who finished the game with 19 unanswered points, as No. 2 Somerville remained undefeated (7-0) with a 39-26 win over No. 1 Woodbridge, handing the Barrons (5-1) their first loss of the season, in the “Big Central Game of the Week” powered by Bellamy & Son Paving.

Desiderio ran for the first score of the game – a 50-yard touchdown dash – and added a 66-yard run, 1-run yard, and a 40-yard ramble – the latter two of which came on a three-TD run by the Pioneers to tie the game with 11:13 to play, take the lead with 9:28 to go, and put it away 1:52 remaining.

Somerville QB Mike Miller was 13-of-28 passing for 141 yards, a touchdown and an interception, while Jaimen Bryant had 9 catches for 128 yards as the Pioneers displayed a balanced attack.

Lee Jr. finished the game with 139 yards on 32 carries, and three touchdowns.

Click below to listen to the entire game:

1st Half

2nd Half