By Jay Cook |
If you weren’t at Rutgers University last Saturday evening, then you really missed quite a show. The doubleheader showcasing four undefeated Shore Conference teams did not disappoint. And while we talked up the big game between Rumson-Fair Haven and St. John Vianney, the game this week at Count Basie Field in Red Bank could be just as thrilling. All but one Two River Times area team will play this upcoming weekend. Holmdel (4-3) is on bye after a 41-14 win against Manchester.
MUST WATCH GAME
St. John Vianney (6-0) @ Red Bank Catholic (6-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
This game just got that much more important. The Lancers made a statement after an exhilarating 31-28 overtime finish against RFH at Rutgers University last Saturday. We’ve talked so much about that SJV defense, but it was Haaziq Daniels and the offense which made the most important plays – a 14-yard game tying touchdown to Sam East with less than a minute left in the game was the big highlight. Red Bank Catholic took the field after the SJV game to play Long Branch, and after a 14-14 tie at the half, RBC went into overdrive for a big 42-28 win led by Steve Lubischer and Zack Bair. When these two teams meet at Count Basie Field on Friday, expect an electric, championship feel. Both RBC and SJV are the cream of the crop when it comes to Non-Publics in the Shore Conference. It’s safe to say Week Seven’s top game will not disappoint.
Red Bank Regional (0-5) @ Rumson-Fair Haven (4-1)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Oct. 14 very well may have been Rumson-Fair Haven’s last loss of the 2017 season. Despite a hard-fought loss to an extremely tough opponent, the Bulldogs have plenty of good take-aways after faltering against SJV. Running back Pete Lucas played out of his mind on Saturday, rushing for 229 yards and two TDs. That pushes his season stat line to 102-1,039-14. He’s been the heart of the offense. Tight end Ian O’Connor also stepped up and caught a team-high 12 passes for 147 yards. But RFH wasn’t the only Two River Times area team to lose a heart- breaker. Red Bank Regional went toe-to-toe with Monmouth Regional (6-1) and fell after the Falcons’ Ian Fitzgerald caught a circus catch in overtime to highlight their own win. The sledding doesn’t get any easier for the Bucs this week, and RFH will look to blow off some steam against their crosstown rival.
Shore Regional (3-3) @ Point Pleasant Beach (3-3)
Friday, 7 p.m.
The Blue Devils were the fourth Two River Times area team to extend their Week Six game into overtime, yet unfortunately for Shore, they weren’t able to pull out the win. Tied with Middlesex 14-14 at the half, Shore would go into overtime and score first behind a Jack McRae TD run. Middlesex took the field, scored on a 25-yard TD pass, and converted the two-point try to win. Shore will head down to Point Pleasant to take on the Garnet Gulls who are in the midst of a three-game losing streak. Falling to Middlesex wasn’t what Shore wanted in their final home game of the year, but they’ll need to perform on the road for three-straight games if they want to get back into Group I playoff contention.
Middletown South (2-3) @ Toms River North (1-5)
Friday, 7 p.m.
A year ago, this was in consideration for the game of the year in the entire state of New Jersey. TR North had a historically explosive offense and Middletown South’s defense was as tough as ever. Yet this go around, it’s just not going to have the same atmosphere. The Mariners are still reeling after Mike Husni and Co. graduated, and are in a down year. Middletown South is coming off a bye week after falling 21-0 to Long Branch, and have had some time to work out the kinks in their option offense. The Mariners allow 22.5 points per game, but the Eagles have only mustered 48 total points on offense this year. In fact, the Middletown South offense hasn’t found paydirt since Ben Kinsella scored on a 50- yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter of their Week Three game against Manasquan. Middletown South needs a win here on the road before their final three games of the season against St. John Vianney, Wall and Middletown North. Those teams are a combined 12-5 this season.
Colts Neck (0-6) @ Central Regional (4-2)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Colts Neck was so close to being one of the top stories of the Shore Conference in Week Six. Ashante Worthy and Freehold Boro came to town, and the Cougars did not back down to arguably one of the top five players in New Jersey, despite a 35-28 loss. Colts Neck did what they could against Worthy – he still scored four TDs – but the Cougars offense was able to put points on the board against a porous Colonials defense. Colts Neck will have their hands full with Central this weekend as they’ll face off against sophomore running back Kavon Chambers, who has three games with 200+ yards rushing and eight total rushing touchdowns. The Cougars have no home games left this season, so they’ll look to crack into the win column without the overwhelming support of a home crowd and the Cougar Den student fan section.
Mater Dei Prep (4-0) @ Lincoln (2-4)
Friday, 7 p.m.
If not for a failed two-point conversion by Asbury Park, Mater Dei Prep may have fallen against a divisional foe last week. Again, it was George Pearson who stepped up and scored both touchdowns for the Seraphs: one pass to Isaiah Noguera and the second on a 13-yard rush. Mater Dei’s defense has been equally impressive throughout this season, allowing only 9.75 points per game. When head coach Dino Mangiero made some scheduling changes coming into this season, adding some state-wide competition to this year’s docket was important. The Seraphs will get their first taste of a team from the North Jersey Super Football Conference when they travel to Caven Point in Jersey City on Friday night. Lincoln is down this season comparatively to years past, but it will be the first of two non-conference games as the season comes to a close. Delbarton School (0-6) comes to Middletown next Saturday.
Middletown North (3-2) @ Manasquan (3-2)
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Despite two tough losses early in the season to Red Bank Catholic (6-0) and Howell (5-1), Middletown North has rebounded in a big way. Two straight wins with a combined 75 points of offense has fixed any early woes, and the Lions play with an evident confidence on the gridiron. As Jim Hintelmann reported in his game recap of the Middletown North vs. Wall game, Connor Welsh and Connor Robbins ran wild, combining for five touchdowns on the ground. Middletown North will follow that plan of attack when they face off against Manasquan on Saturday afternoon, as they look to avenge last year’s 31-21 loss. Both teams use the ground game well so this one could come down to the decision making of Lions quarterback Sean Glenn and Warriors signal-caller Tommy Antonucci.
This article was first published in the Oct. 19-26, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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