It is one of those rare weeks this season in the Asbury Park Press Top 10 where everything remains the same as the previous week.
The Thanksgiving Day weekend games, which sometimes can cause a shakeup in the rankings because teams get caught having to play a regular season game in between playoff games and with short rests, did not produce any significant upsets.
Eight of the nine ranked teams that played this past week won. Most of the wins by ranked teams were in convincing fashion and three of them were by shutout. Seven of the eight ranked teams that won this past week won by at least 12 points.
The only ranked team that lost was Shore Regional. However, the Blue Devils’ loss was certainly nothing to be ashamed of. They lost to No. 6 and unbeaten Point Pleasant Beach in the game that decided the Shore Conference Class B Central championship. Shore did hold Point Beach to its lowest total by 21 points.
The rankings could look different next week as all the teams in the Top 10 will play NJSIAA sectional semifinal games this week.
1. RED BANK CATHOLIC (10-0): Last week: No. 1. Larry Redaelli ran for 119 yards and two TDs and fullback Frank Olmo scored on a 35-yard run and a 5-yard pass from quarterback Patrick Toomey as the Caseys extended their winning streak against Shore Conference opposition to 24 and clinched the outright Shore Conference Class A Central championship with a 28-12 win over Rumson-Fair Haven. It was Red Bank Catholic’s 10th straight win over Rumson. The Caseys now try to break into the state’s elite against an opponent that has long been one of the state’s elite and just knocked off Don Bosco Prep, ending the Ironmen’s 61-game winning streak against New Jersey teams. Next game: Saturday at St. Joseph (Montvale) (8-2) in an NJSIAA Non-Public Group III semifinal.
2. MANALAPAN (10-0): Last week: No. 2. Junior wide receiver Saeed Blacknall and senior quarterback Mike Isabella connected on TD passes of 40, 13 and 85 yards and the Braves scored nine points with their defense and special teams as they defeated Marlboro, 51-0, and clinched the outright Class A North championship for the third straight season. Manalapan also moved to 10-0 for the first time and tied the school-record for wins set last year. The Braves will now try to advance to a sectional final for the second straight year. The opponent is a dangerous one whose record is deceiving because it has played a tough schedule. Next game: Friday vs. Hunterdon Central (5-4) in an NJSIAA Central Group V semifinal.
3. LACEY (10-0): Last week: No. 3. The Lions, who defeated Toms River South, 45-31, Nov. 17 in an NJSIAA South Group IV quarterfinal, did not play. Two more wins and they will have their second 12-0, sectional championship season in three seasons and third sectional championship, 12-0 season in the last seven. Their opponent this week has scored 93 points in its last two games. Next game: Saturday vs. Kingsway (7-3) in an NJSIAA South Group IV semifinal.
4. COLTS NECK (9-1): Last week: No. 4. Anthony Garguilo ran for two TDs and Mike Campbell threw for a TD and ran for another as the Cougars rolled to a 48-7 win over Howell and set a school-record for wins. Colts Neck will now try to advance to a sectional championship game for the first time. The opponent is one they handled convincingly a little over two weeks ago, but one that is also dangerous and knows its way around the playoffs. Next game: Saturday vs. No. 10 Middletown South (7-3) in an NJSIAA Central Group IV semifinal.
5. LONG BRANCH (9-1): Last week: No. 5. Dwight Clark ran for a TD and Vicente Mota kicked two field goals as the Green Wave defeated Red Bank, 13-0, and clinched a tie for the Class B North championship with Neptune. It is Long Branch’s first divisional title since 2007. Now, it tries to advance to a sectional championship game for the first time since 2007 and keep its hopes of winning a sectional championship for the first time since 1999 alive. Next game: Saturday at Nottingham (9-1) in an NJSIAA Central Group III semifinal.
6. POINT BEACH (10-0): Last week: No. 6. Senior running back Danny Tighe ran for 117 yards and two TDs, sophomore quarterback Jake Fioretti and senior running back Kyle Samaritano teamed up for a key 32-yard TD pass with nine seconds left in the first half and the defense collected six sacks and allowed just 87 yards of total offense as the Garnet Gulls defeated No. 9 Shore, 19-7, and captured the outright Class B Central championship. It is Point Beach’s first divisional title since 1997 and it has won 10 games for the first time in its history. The Garnet Gulls will now try to advance to a sectional championship game for the first time since 1982 and just the second time in their history. The opponent is a tough-minded team that knows how to win in the playoffs. Next game: Friday vs. Florence (9-1) in an NJSIAA Central Group I semifinal.
7. NEPTUNE (8-2): Last week: No. 7. Senior quarterback Ajee Patterson threw TD passes of 11 yards to Keith Kirkwood and 74 and 5 yards to Myles Martin and ran for a TD as the Scarlet Fliers defeated arch-rival Asbury Park, 33-6, for their third straight win over the Blue Bishops. Now, Neptune will try to keep its hopes of defending its Central Group III championship alive against an opponent that is having its best season and took the Scarlet Fliers into overtime last year in a sectional quarterfinal. Next game: Friday at Allentown (9-1) in an NJSIAA Central Group III semifinal.
8. SOUTHERN (8-2): Last week: No. 8. Senior quarterback Dan Higgins continued his torrid play by going 16-for-19 for 216 yards with four TD passes as the Rams defeated Central, 35-0, in the first meeting between the two school since 2005 and the first one on Thanksgiving Day since 1983. Higgins, who is 40-for-49 for 696 yards with eight TDs in Southern’s last three games, set a school-record for passing yards in a season with 1,509 and Southern set the school-record for total yards in a season with 3,251, breaking the old record set by its 2008 sectional finalist team. The Rams will now try to advance to a sectional championship game for the second time in their history. The opponent is one that has shown it can put points on the board and whose quarterback is the brother of an NFL quarterback. Next game: Friday at Eastern (7-3) in an NJSIAA South Group V semifinal.
9. SHORE (8-2): Last week: No. 9. Mark Costantino Jr.’s 15-yard TD run followed by Jake Monteiro’s extra point gave the Blue Devils the lead late in the second quarter. However, a TD pass late in the first half put Point Beach ahead for good and then Shore could not move the ball in the second half as Point Beach recorded a 19-7 win and denied the Blue Devils the Class B Central championship. Shore will now try to advance to a sectional championship game for the second time in the last three seasons and hope it can perhaps get another shot at Point Beach. The opponent is one Shore defeated earlier this season, but one that has won 13 consecutive playoff games. Next game: Friday vs. Asbury Park (6-3) in an NJSIAA Central Group I semifinal.
10. MIDDLETOWN SOUTH (7-3): Last week: No. 10. Junior quarterback Kyle Brey threw for 201 yards and TD passes of 48 yards to Eli Smith and 30 yards to Andrew Wisialko and Smith had a 9-yard TD run as the Eagles defeated Middletown North, 21-13, for their 12th straight win over their crosstown rivals. Now, the Eagles will try to continue their quest for their first sectional championship since 2006 and 10th overall. Next game: Saturday at No. 4 Colts Neck (9-1) in an NJSIAA Central Group IV semifinal.