Greg Tufaro's Week 1 H.S. football picks

Greg Tufaro's Week 1 H.S. football picks

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Greg Tufaro's Week 1 H.S. football picks

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THURSDAY

Highland Park at South River, 4 p.m.: South River graduated quarterback Wyatt Boyler (1,335 passing yards) and wideout Thomas Pitera (665 receiving yards), but returns Doug Ryan (1,174 rushing yards), who is among the conference’s best running backs. The Owls, who have not qualified for the playoffs the past three years, remain in a rebuilding mode. South River 28-6.

South Plainfield at New Brunswick, 6 p.m.: The Zebras, who snapped a 26-game losing streak last fall, have a talented sophomore class. New Brunswick will employ a hurry-up offense. South Plainfield quarterback Kyle Moroney and running back Roemello Monroe provide offensive balance. South Plainfield 17-15.

Bishop Ahr at Matawan, 7 p.m.: Expect Bishop Ahr, which returns its starting backfield from a team that lost several close games a year ago, to be improved. Matawan, however, led by tight end Nick Tomkins, remains a shade better. Should this game come down to the wire for the Huskies, they can rely on the accurate leg of Mike Creamer, one of the state’s best placekickers. Matawan 14-12.

Metuchen at Dunellen, 7 p.m.: The Bulldogs have a gifted running back tandem in Zahir Powell and Andre Corvil, but the key to the team’s success may rest with the development of quarterback James Nicolaiason (631 passing yards). Three-time defending division champion Dunellen has a promising junior class, led by Rob Young, the team’s top returning rusher (330 yards), that has the ability to spoil coach Bob Ulmer’s return to the Metuchen sideline. Dunellen 21-20.

East Brunswick at South Brunswick, 7 p.m.: Jon Gerhartz has moved from quarterback to tailback as the Bears have switched from an option to the I formation. The defending Central Group V champion Vikings, led by bruising fullback Dahrae Ford and gifted athlete Dontae Strickland, simply have too many weapons. South Brunswick 29-6.

Piscataway at Edison, 7 p.m.: The Chiefs, who return a paltry 128 yards of offense, never rebuild and always reload. Quarterback Justin Strother gets his chance to shine. He will face a stern test from a talented Edison squad that brings back all but one of its premier skill position players. Piscataway 28-24.

Marlboro at J.P. Stevens, 7 p.m.: Rookie head coach Jim Collins is no fool. He will rely heavily upon talented running back Chewy Chukwuneke, who had a huge game against Marlboro last season. The Mustangs can expect more of the same. J.P. Stevens 26-14.

Monroe at North Brunswick, 7 p.m.: Monroe, which was much better than last year’s 3-6 record indicates, features Stephen Karoly (910 passing yards) and Akeer Franklin (1,350 all-purpose yards). North Brunswick, led by tailback Gabe Rosado, remains in a rebuilding mode. Monroe 28-8.

Old Bridge at Sayreville, 7 p.m.: Unlike the Knights, who graduated a backfield that amassed 2,852 yards of total offense, three-time defending Central Group IV champion Sayreville returns Myles Hartsfield and Deion Miller. Quarterbacks Malik Pressley (Sayreville) and Nick LaVecchia (Old Bridge) make their starting debuts. Sayreville 25-14.

FRIDAY

Colonia at J.F. Kennedy, 7 p.m.: Running back Anthony Roberts showed a wealth of potential before being felled by an injury last season. He benefits from J.F. Kennedy’s sizable line. Colonia counters with Sam Pero and a host of talented skill position players. Colonia 17-13.

Point Pleasant Beach at Cardinal McCarrick, 7 p.m.: Despite having their third coach in as many years and still boasting only two dozen players in the program, the Eagles will not be as overmatched this season against the Garnett Gulls, who graduated much of last year’s sectional semifinalist team. Look for Cardinal McCarrick to close the gap from last year’s 40-point drubbing. Point Pleasant Beach 23-12.

Woodbridge at Perth Amboy, 7 p.m.: The Panthers have an athletic quarterback and depth at running back, thus they have become a read option team. Woodbridge boasts one of the White Division’s top offensive lines, from which running backs Joe Muzzio and Zahner Shuler will benefit. Woodbridge 19-14.

SATURDAY

Carteret at St. Joseph, 1 p.m.: Carteret’s Charles Faulkner anchors a defense that may prove to be one of the best Matt Yascko has coached in his eight seasons. The defending Central Group II champions must find a way to contain tailback Matt Olivo, who amassed more than 2,000 all-purpose yards a year ago. Carteret 21-14.

Spotswood at Middlesex, 1 p.m: The Blue Jays have switched to an option attack with Brandon Bollin at quarterback and 1,000-yard rusher Kyle Brady at halfback. Spotswood counters with quarterback C.J. O’Connor, who passed for more than 1,300 yards, and running back Jack Dalrymple, who rushed for 910 yards. Spotswood 18-16.

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