Ridge at Montgomery, Sept. 7
The word on the street is that both teams should be better after suffering through losing campaigns last fall. Montgomery won last year’s meeting, 21-7 in Week 2. In the Mid-State 38’s Watchung Division, there is tremendous parity after strong favorite Immaculata, so the winner here can make an early statement.
New Providence at Bernards, Oct. 5
We have intriguing new rivals in the Mid-State 38’s Union Division. New Providence went 9-2 last fall while Bernards finished 7-3. Both bring back a ton of talent and experience. It figures to be a high-scoring affair. Key question: Can New Providence slow down Bernards quarterback Devin Ray just enough? The division title is likely at stake.
Sayreville at Piscataway, Oct. 12
The calendar is always marked for this titanic Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division affair. Two-time defending North 2 Group IV champ Piscataway has taken two straight from two-time defending Central Group IV champ Sayreville. Chiefs quarterback extraordinaire Nadir Barnwell should be back from a shoulder injury.
Phillipsburg at Hunterdon Central, Oct. 12
This is the Mid-State 38’s version of Piscataway-Sayreville as these two heavyweights tend to decide the Delaware Division before huge crowds in their annual clash. But it’s been surprisingly one-sided lately, with Central taking five straight, including last year’s 31-0 shocker on the road. The Liners won’t have to look far for motivation.
Delaware Valley at North Plainfield, Oct. 19
Wins will be hard to come by in the mine field known as the Mid-State 38’s Raritan Division, and both of these clubs have high hopes. They’ve developed a nice rivalry, having split the previous four meetings in entertaining fashion. Delaware Valley prevailed in a 46-34 shootout last fall.
Immaculata at Hunterdon Central, Oct. 19
Fans in Skyland country have been missing this crossover, which last took place in 2008. Immaculata triumphed 24-14, its fifth straight win in the series, with four of those coming by 10 or fewer points — including the triple-overtime classic of 2006. Both teams are loaded yet again.
Immaculata at Phillipsburg, Nov. 2
Thank the crossover gods because incredibly, this is the first meeting between these superpowers. It’s also the final regular-season game in the legendary coaching career of Immaculata’s Pierce Frauenheim, who founded the program nearly five decades ago.
Middlesex at Dunellen, Nov. 22
This is the most meaningful Thanksgiving rivalry because the Greater Middlesex Conference’s Blue Division crown may well be at stake under the lights at Columbia Park. Dunellen has won three straight from its neighbor, including the last two by huge margins.