No. 1 Sayreville (5-0) at No. 2 Piscataway (3-1), 7 p.m.: The Home News Tribune’s Game of the Week pits two-time defending sectional champions against one another in one of the state’s best public school rivalries. Sayreville leads the series 14-13. The Chiefs have won six of the last 10 meetings, including last year’s 28-0 shutout. Piscataway features three gifted RBs: Cameron Nash (533 yards, 9 TDs), Tyrell Judson (247 yards, 2 TDs) and Jamaal James. Sayreville counters with Deion Miller, Mike Carey, Zeke Perkinson and Myles Hartsfield. They have combined for 922 rushing yards. Piscataway QB Nadir Barnwell and counterpart Isaiah Cureton (29 of 41, 502 yards, 4 TDs) are both dual threats. WRs Jon Bracero (173 yards, 1 TD) and Malik Pressley (156 yards) pace Sayreville, while WRs Kyle LaPorte (139 yards, 2 TDs) and David Claybrook (173 yards, 3 TDs) lead the Chiefs. For more on this battle for first-place in the GMC Red Division, please read our Game of the Week story on page C1. Piscataway 28-21.
Woodbridge (3-2) at No. 3 Carteret (4-0) 7 p.m.: The Barrons are coming off a heartbreaking 28-21 loss in the closing minute to Colonia, which scored the winning TD seconds after blocking a 24-yard field goal. Woodbridge’s defense has not surrendered a TD in its three wins against teams with a combined 1-12 record. Carteret features the league’s most potent (41 ppg) and balanced offense. QB Tyler Rodriguez (592 yards, 10 TDs) and RB Jerod Johnson (549 yards, 8 TDs) have rushed and passed for nearly equal totals. Woodbridge is +8 in the takeaway/giveaway department. The Barrons play spirited defense and RB Daquan Bailey, slowed by a foot injury at the season’s onset, appears to be healthy. With a bye, Carteret had an extra week to prepare. Carteret 28-10.
Edison (1-3) at North Brunswick (1-3) 7 p.m.: Both teams snapped three-game losing streaks last weekend. North Brunswick capitalized on five turnovers and used a team effort in a 33-21 win over J.P. Stevens. Edison, led by DE Abdel Ragab, played exceptional defense in a 12-10 upset of Monroe. A hip pointer slowed Edison RB Aqeel Daniels, who still played well, while backfield mate Jordan Dunn had a clutch 30-yard TD run. Edison’s QB platoon of Dan Lordi and James Waldron works well. North Brunswick TB Jaylen Hobdy is improving, while QB Tim Parson (730 yards from scrimmage) remains a dual threat. Edison 21-16.
No. 5 Old Bridge (3-2) at No. 9 Monroe (3-2) 7 p.m.: Monroe’s losses – to South Brunswick and Edison – were by a total of five points. An offense that averaged 32.8 points over its first four games disappeared last week. Monroe still has one of the league’s best backfield tandems in Akeer Franklin (534 yards, 4 TDs) and Alex Rivera (432 yards, 5 TDs), while QB Stephen Karoly is fourth in the league with 559 passing yards. Old Bridge counters with QB Vin Gargano (247 rushing yards), HB Aaron Ford (416 rushing yards) and FB Chris Middleton. The teams have played comparably against common opponents, but Old Bridge has faced a tougher schedule including its stunning 21-20 upset of Piscataway. Old Bridge 29-27.
J.P. Stevens (1-3) at No. 4 South Brunswick (4-1) 7 p.m.: The enigmatic Hawks lost 62-19 to Piscataway one week and were a shoestring tackle away from upsetting Sayreville in a 16-7 defeat the next. Last weekend, J.P. Stevens could not overcome five turnovers in a 33-21 setback to North Brunswick. South Brunswick will focus on RB Chiebuka Chukwuneke, the area’s leading scorer with 10 TDs. South Brunswick QB T.J. Perkowski is the league’s leading passer with 670 yards. He benefits from a stable of gifted running backs and has WR T.J. Taylor (311 yards), who will play at Rutgers University next fall, at his disposal. The Vikings will rebound from last weekend’s 47-14 loss to Piscataway. South Brunswick 24-13.
New Brunswick (0-5) at Bishop Ahr (3-2) 7 p.m.: Despite being mired in a 25-game losing streak, the Zebras, who led undefeated Colonia 3-0 at halftime two weeks ago, are an improved team. New Brunswick, however, has still not managed to score more than seven points in any game. Bishop Ahr, meanwhile, has struggled offensively itself of late, but managed a 14-13 comeback win over South Plainfield last weekend as the defense pitched a shutout over the final three quarters. Bishop Ahr 21-6.
Perth Amboy (0-4) at J.F. Kennedy (1-4) 7 p.m.: Darius Pearson helped a stagnant Perth Amboy offense get on the board with TD runs of 64 and 2 yards in last weekend’s 22-14 loss to St. Joseph. The Panthers mustered just a field goal in three previous games combined. QB Tom Farley and RB Anthony Roberts combined for 254 rushing yards as J.F. Kennedy snapped a four-game losing streak in last weekend’s 28-7 win over New Brunswick. The teams have faced three common opponents, with the Panthers losing those games by a total of 43 points and J.F. Kennedy falling by 51. J.F. Kennedy 18-16.
Highland Park (0-5) at Dunellen (3-2) 7 p.m.: Highland Park QB Quatay Nesmith and RB Nadre Hepburn are among the GMC Blue Division’s most dangerous players. The Owls were outscored 118-22 in losses to South River, Middlesex and Spotswood but fared well in a 25-23 loss to Keyport and a 20-14 setback to Keansburg. The latter defeated Dunellen 42-28 earlier this year. Dunellen RBs Dylan Hoski and Deon Brown have combined for 713 rushing yards. The two-time defending division champion Destroyers have not lost a division game since getting upset 38-24 by Highland Park on Oct. 16, 2010. Dunellen 22-16.
East Brunswick (1-3) at Manalapan (4-0) 7 p.m.: The Bears, who failed to score a point in their first three games, had a bye last week after posting a 14-0 win over North Brunswick. Manalapan, which yielded 18 points in its first three games, defeated Middletown South 35-31 last weekend. WRs Saeed Blacknall, a Division I recruit, and Anthony Firkser helped the Braves reach last year’s Central Group IV final against Sayreville. Manalapan 23-6.
St. Joseph (3-2) at Howell (0-4) 7 p.m.: Since opening the year with losses to undefeated Carteret and Colonia, the Falcons have won three straight. Workhorse RB Matt Olivo (534 yards) ranks third in the GMC with 91 carries. QB John Quinlan, injured in the preseason, may return to give Howell’s offense a boost. The Raiders were held to a TD in each of their first three games before falling 28-21 last weekend to Toms River East (1-4). Howell is a Group V school. St. Joseph 14-13.
South Plainfield (1-3) at No. 6 Colonia (5-0), 1 p.m.: The Patriots are 5-0 for the first time in 27 years. They escaped with a 28-21 last-minute win over Woodbridge last weekend. RB Sam Pero leads the GMC with 644 rushing yards. QB Trent Barneys passed for a career-high 132 yards against the Barrons. A vastly improved South Plainfield squad continues to receive outstanding efforts from defense and special teams (Joe Pellegrino has returned kickoffs 75 and 80 yards for TDs the last two weeks). The offense, however, has scored just one TD in the last three games. Colonia 19-18.
No. 10 Spotswood (3-2) at Metuchen (2-3), 1 p.m.: The Bulldogs will be without TB Zahir Powell (439 yards, 6 TDs), who injured his knee last weekend. Mike Hronich will start in his place and FB Andre Corvil will likely get most of the calls. Look for Metuchen to try to wear down Spotswood, running behind OT Dorian Miller, one of the country’s best offensive linemen. Metuchen’s secondary will receive a stern test from QB C.J. O’Connor (540 yards, 7 TDs) and Corey Brown, the league’s leading receiver with 46 yards. Spotswood runs the ball equally well with Jack Dalrymple (557 yards) and Jack Messeroll (416 yards). Metuchen has won two straight. Its losses to Dunellen and South River were by a combined seven points. The Bulldogs will likely be eliminated from NJSIAA playoff contention with a loss. Metuchen 22-21.
Cardinal McCarrick (1-4) at Middlesex (1-4), 1 p.m.: Expect the Blue Jays to look as impressive as they did in a 32-8 win over Highland Park two weeks ago. Cardinal McCarrick features Jahmal Pryce, the league’s third-leading rusher with 595 yards. Middlesex counters with Kyle Brady (352 yards, 3 TDs). Middlesex 18-12.
Keyport (4-1) at South River (3-2), 1 p.m.: The Red Raiders have won four straight including a 48-6 drubbing of Cardinal McCarrick, a 42-7 defeat of Middlesex and a 25-23 victory over Highland Park. The Rams have dropped two straight including last weekend’s 22-15 setback to Dunellen. QB Wyatt Boyler is the GMC’s third-leading passer (574 yards) and receiver Tomas Pitera (373 yards, 4 TDs) is one of the league’s best. Keyport’s success against GMC foes is a concern. Keyport 23-20.
Last week: 9-4
Overall: 56-12 (.824 winning percentage)