Talk about making a statement. Neptune did that Friday night when it recorded a resounding 46-10 win over Matawan at Matawan’s Bruce MacCutcheon Field at Barry Rizzo Stadium.
The win, which was accomplished with the aid of a remarkable first-half performance by senior quarterback Ajee Patterson and a suffocating defense that held Matawan to minus-32 yards rushing and 45 yards of total offense, put Neptune in the pole position to win the Shore Conference Class B North championship. |
Neptune has not finished first overall in a division since 1999, when it was coached by the late, legendary John Amabile. The Scarlet Fliers did win a division championship last season, when they won the Class B North public school division title. However, Red Bank Catholic finished first overall in the division by viture of a 20-14 double-overtime win over the Scarlet Fliers.
Over the last two weeks, the Scarlet Fliers have defeated the two teams, most progniscators considered their two main challenges in the division — Long Branch and Matawan.
Neptune’s win over Matawan also resulted in perhaps the first major shift in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, as the Huskies dropped from No. 4 to No. 10. Long Branch, Middletown South, Lacey and Toms River North all moved up one spot and Brick Memorial moved up two spots.
Neptune, which has been ranked second 19 straight times while Red Bank Catholic has been No. 1 in 19 consecutive rankings, will face a top-six team for the third straight week on Friday night when it travels to play Brick Memorial.
1. Red Bank Catholic (4-0) Last week: No. 1. Six different players scored touchdowns as the Caseys made it 18 straight wins over Shore Conference schools by rolling to a 49-14 win over Raritan. James Taylor returned a punt 85 yards for a score. Matt Golden had two receptions for 66 yards and two TDs. Pat Toomey threw the two TDs to Golden and also had a rushing TD. Next is a game against the last Shore Conference team to record a win over Red Bank Catholic. Next game: Friday vs. Freehold (1-2).
2. Neptune (4-0)
Last week: No. 2. Ajee Patterson threw for 328 yards and four TDs in the first half as the Scarlet Fliers routed last week’s No. 4 team, Matawan, 46-10. Patterson had TD passes of 51 and 68 yards to Geoff Fairbanks and 59 and 4 yards to Keyshawn Rice . Kyle Lewis returned an interception 48 yards for a TD, the second week in a row he has returned an INT for a TD. Next is a game with another unbeaten team that has also been racking up impressive offensive number. Next game: Friday at No. 6 Brick Memorial (4-0).
3. Manalapan (4-0)
Last week: No. 3. Tyler Leonetti’s 19-yard TD run with 8:01 remaining gave the Braves the lead for good as they hung on for a wild 35-31 win over No. 4 Middletown South that gave them the inside track to a third straight Shore Conference Class A North championship. It was the third straight season Manalapan has defeated Middletown South. Junior wide receiver/defensive back/kick returner Saeed Blacknall had a monster game with an 85-yard TD on a punt return, a 39-yard TD reception from quarterback Saeed Blacknall, a touchdown-saving tackle on a 46-yard run by Middletown South’s Jake Ripnick that eventually resulted in just a field goal and a blocked extra point. Next game: Oct. 12 vs. East Brunswick (1-3).
4. Middletown South (2-1)
Last week: No. 5. The Eagles move up based on their impressive performance against Manalapan. Senior running back Jake Ripnick ran for 242 yards and a TD, Eli Smith returned an interception 47 yards for a score and quarterback Kyle Brey threw two TD passes, including one of 63 yards to Taylor Hendrickson. Next is a game with a traditional Shore Conference power that is struggling. Next game: Friday vs. Manasquan (1-3).
5. Long Branch (2-1) Last week: No. 5. Joscil Jackson ran for two TDs, Avry Griffin threw a 45-yard TD pass to Curtis Gunter and Deon Williams had a TD as the Green Wave compiled 425 yards of total offense and rebounded from their loss to Neptune on Sept. 23 with a 38-7 win at Wall. Next game: Friday vs. Pinelands (0-4).
6. Brick Memorial (4-0)
Last week: No. 8. Ryan Cieplinski threw for 208 yards and four TDs and ran for 107 yards and two TDs as the Mustangs defeated Toms River East 52-28. Brick Memorial compiled 359 yards rushing and 567 yards of total offense. Mike Basile ran for 152 yards and a TD and had a 48-yard TD reception. Next is an intriuging matchup with a team loaded with talent. Next game: Friday vs. No. 2 Neptune (4-0).
7. Rumson-Fair Haven (3-0)
Last week: No. 7. Jake D’Amelio’s 41-yard field goal late in the first half broke a scoreless tie and Danny Roberto scored on a 1-yard sneak midway in the third quarter as the Bulldogs recorded a 9-3 win over Red Bank in the “The Battle of Ridge Road.” Rumson held Red Bank to 73 yards of offense. Next game: Oct. 12 vs. Raritan (0-4).
8. Lacey (4-0)
Last week: No. 9. Tom Kelly threw three TD passes and Chris Tutela and Kyle Spatz combined for five TDs as the Lions pulled away in the second half and recorded a 42-20 win over Toms River South. Kelly’s TD passes were 66 and 82 yards to Tutela and 52 yards to Spatz, who also ran for 119 yards with TD runs of 20 and 22 yards. Next game: Saturday vs. Manchester (0-4).
9. Toms River North (3-1)
Last week: No. 10. The Mariners had six plays of 45 yards or more in the first half as they raced out to a 28-point halftime lead and cruised to a 42-10 win over Jackson Memorial, avenging a loss to the Jaguars by the same score last year. Four of Toms River North’s TDs were on plays of 23 yards of more, including a 69-yard Carmen Sclafani to Joey Fields TD pass, a 45-yard punt return by Kyle Carrington and a 49-yard Sclafani to Fields TD pass. Next game: Oct. 12 vs. No. 6 Brick Memorial (4-0)
10. Matawan (3-1)
Last week: No. 4 Mike Creamer kicked a 33-yard field goal to give the Huskies an early lead, but they were then overwhelmed by Neptune, which scored the next 46 points on its way to a 46-10 win. Kashaun Barnes had a 4-yard TD run for Matawan. Next game: Oct. 13 vs. Wall (1-3).