Greg Tufaro's Week 4 Home News Tribune High School Football Picks

Greg Tufaro's Week 4 Home News Tribune High School Football Picks


Greg Tufaro's Week 4 Home News Tribune High School Football Picks


Friday (all games 7 p.m.)

Woodbridge (2-1) at No. 10 South Plainfield (2-0): Woodbridge’s vaunted running game (290-yard average over the first two contests) came to a screeching halt in last weekend’s 49-0 loss to Monroe. South Plainfield, meanwhile, took to the air for an impressive win over defending White Division champion Carteret, the school’s third victory over the Ramblers in the past 20 years. Quarterback Kyle Moroney is the division’s leading passer (310 yards), but the Tigers can run the ball, as well, with bruising back Roemello Monroe (269 yards). Woodbridge has completed just five passes this fall, but backs Ian Mania and Joe Muzzio have combined to rush for 475 yards. South Plainfield 18-16.

Cardinal McCarrick (0-3) at Metuchen (0-3): A week after Cardinal McCarrick turned the lights out on its program (an undermanned squad forfeited to Keyport), the resilient Eagles return to action with just 16 healthy players to face Metuchen in the school’s first-ever night game. Quarterback James Nicolaiason (the GMC’s second-leading passer with 386 yards) has connected with wideouts Danny Briggs and Evan Collier while the Bulldogs try to get their injury-riddled backfield healthy. Stephen Walsh (205 yards) has emerged as an effective rusher. Turnover- and penalty-prone Metuchen is better than its record indicates. Metuchen 27-6.

No. 4 Old Bridge (2-1) at North Brunswick (0-3): The Knights rebounded from a heartbreaking 17-16 loss to Piscataway (missed extra point was the difference) with stellar special teams play in a resounding 27-8 victory over defending Central Group V champion South Brunswick. Ed Mish booted two field goals and Isaiah Trawick returned a kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown. Old Bridge quarterback Nick LaVecchia has 405 combined yards from scrimmage. A rebuilding North Brunswick squad has genuinely improved each week. The Raiders, who were outscored 94-6 in their first two games, dropped a 14-12 decision to East Brunswick last weekend. Signal caller Rafieu Alharazim has passed for 214 yards. Old Bridge 35-6.

No. 1 Edison (2-0) at No. 8 South Brunswick (1-2): After opening the year with wins over incumbent sectional finalist Piscataway and three-time defending Central Group IV champion Sayreville, the Eagles will try to defeat another reigning sectional champion. Quarterback James Waldron is the GMC’s leading passer (402 yards). South Brunswick counters with dynamic halfback Dontae Strickland and bruising fullback Dahrae Ford, who have combined for 584 rushing yards. South Brunswick has called for a “Black Out.” Expect a boisterous student section to rally the Vikings. Edison 23-22.

J.P. Stevens (1-1) at No. 5 Sayreville (1-2): The Hawks played the Bombers tough last season as Sayreville needed to return a blocked field goal attempt for a touchdown in the closing minute to secure a 16-7 win. J.P. Stevens dropped a 44-6 decision to Piscataway as the rushing exploits of Chewy Chukwuneke (334 yards on the year) were not enough. Sayreville’s backfield tandem of Myles Hartsfield and Deion Miller has combined for 748 rushing yards. Sayreville 27-13.

Carteret (1-2) at New Brunswick (0-3): The Ramblers allowed three touchdowns in the final four-plus minutes of the first half as they watched a 14-7 lead quickly evaporate in last weekend’s loss to South Plainfield. Carteret’s defense, as expected, remains ahead of the offense. New Brunswick has not defended the run well, so this may be an ideal time for tailback Terell Merricks to get on track. Twenty three GMC running backs have rushed for more yards than Carteret’s entire backfield this season (the Ramblers have just 139 yards on the ground). Carteret linebacker Charles Faulkner (team-leading 18 tackles) has lived up to his billing. Running back Maurice Ffrench (284 rushing yards) paces the Zebras. Carteret 26-14.

Colonia (2-1) at Perth Amboy (0-2): Quarterback Tenni Adewusi, who has combined for 430 yards passing and rushing, sparks a Colonia offense that also features Sam Pero, the White Division’s leading ground gainer (468 yards). After falling 16-7 to St. Joseph, the Patriots rebounded with a 48-14 drubbing of New Brunswick. Colonia is averaging 237 rushing yards. Nick Matrongolo anchors the defense with 15 tackles and Anthony Nystrom has five of Colonia’s 15 sacks. The Panthers have been outscored 75-24 in losses to Woodbridge and Bishop Ahr. Colonia 30-14.

Keansburg (0-3) at Dunellen (1-2): After going 4-5-1 with victories over Dunellen, Spotswood and Highland Park last season, the Titans have regressed (they went 1-19 combined in 2010 and 2011). Keansburg has been outscored 142-20 including a 60-0 setback to Spotswood and a 48-6 defeat to South River. Three-time defending Blue Division champion Dunellen, which hasn’t been victorious since a season-opening win over Metuchen, needs to get back on track with South River on deck. Dunellen 27-6.

East Brunswick (0-3) at Monroe (3-0): Monroe’s offense, paced by Akeer Franklin, the GMC’s second-leading rusher (450 yards), and Stephen Karoly, the league’s third-leading passer (319 yards), has operated with machine-like precision. The Falcons have scored 130 points. The first-team defense hasn’t been too shabby, either, yielding just three touchdowns (all to South Brunswick). Monroe has recorded 13 sacks and generated six turnovers. Elijah Davis and Anthony Giudice lead the team with 20 and 19 tackles, respectively. After being outscored 84-7 in its first two games, East Brunswick rebounded with a 14-12 victory over winless North Brunswick. Monroe 35-6.

Ocean (3-0) at J.F. Kennedy (1-2): The Spartans have outscored their opponents 65-24 but have squeaked by their last two foes, edging Neptune 7-0 and Matawan 7-3. Bishop Ahr, which dropped a 17-7 decision to Matawan in its season opener (the game was closer than the final score indicates), lost 20-14 in overtime to J.F. Kennedy. That suggests the Mustangs will not be overmatched against Ocean. Anthony Roberts, the GMC’s fifth-leading rusher (434 yards), was limited to a season-low 72 yards on the ground in a lopsided defeat to St. Joseph last weekend but did manage to score three touchdowns. A strong performance by J.F. Kennedy’s offensive line could keep this game competitive. Ocean 16-12.

Spotswood (3-0) at Highland Park (0-3): The Chargers have recorded a total of 10 interceptions and fumble recoveries without turning the ball over once. The defense has yielded a mere nine points all season. Jack Dalrymple (424 yards) is the Blue Division’s leading rusher. Spotswood upset Point Pleasant Beach last weekend without throwing a single pass. Look for the Chargers to keep it on the ground almost exclusively again. Spotswood 28-6.


Keyport (2-1) at Middlesex (1-2), 2 p.m.: The Blue Jays got their newly installed option offense on track, rushing for more than 300 yards in last weekend’s 34-0 blanking of Highland Park, a team Keyport defeated 49-14 earlier this season. Can quarterback Brandon Bollin keep this offense rolling? We think so. Middlesex 26-24.

Shore (2-1) at South River (3-0), 2 p.m.: The Rams received more than 100 rushing yards and three touchdowns last weekend from Tyron Suydam in a 48-6 win over Keansburg. South River was without star running back Doug Ryan (ankle injury), whose services they will need against a talented Shore team. The Blue Devils scored with 15 seconds left for a 21-14 win last weekend over Metuchen, who the Rams defeated 28-6 earlier this year. South River 21-20.

Bishop Ahr (1-2) at No. 7 St. Joseph (3-0), 2:30 p.m.: The Home News Tribune’s Game of the Week features parochial school rivals separated by a two-mile stretch of Plainfield Road. St. Joseph is led by Matt Olivo, the GMC’s top rusher (574 yards), while Bishop Ahr experimented in last weekend’s win over Perth Amboy with a triple-option package, of which Falcons coach Casey Ransone said he expects to see more. St. Joseph 24-18.


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