Four Shore Conference divisional championships will be decided this week and two other divisional titles could be won outright as the scholastic football regular season concludes with the traditional Thanksgiving Day weekend games.
Visit APP.com on Thursday for live coverage of Thanksgiving Day football games.
Those games that will decide divisional championships outright are Rumson-Fair Haven (10-0, 5-0) at Red Bank Catholic (9-1, 5-0) for the overall Class A Central title and Point Pleasant Beach (9-1, 4-0) at Shore Regional (9-1, 4-0) for the Class B Central championship. Both of those games will be on Friday night.
Manalapan (10-0, 5-0) can clinch the Class A North championship outright with a win over Marlboro (2-7, 0-5) on Friday at home. If Marlboro pulls off the huge upset, Manalapan will share the title with Colts Neck (9-1, 5-1).
Barnegat (9-1, 5-1) can win the Class B South championship outright with a win over Pinelands (1-8, 1-5) on Thursday at home. A Pinelands upset would result in Barnegat sharing the title with Central (5-4, 5-2).
The Point Beach at Shore game was moved to Friday night on Tuesday morning because of the predicted rain and wind from the nor’easter that was expected to hit the area beginning on Tuesday night and through the day today. It was originally scheduled for tonight.
That game will be the first of two meetings between the two over a nine-day span. They will meet at 10 a.m. on Dec. 7 at The College of New Jersey, Ewing, in the NJSIAA Central Group I championship game.
There are a lot of similarities between Point Beach and Shore. They both run the Wing-T and emphasize the run on offense. They both are stingy on defense.
It is believed the consecutive Point Beach and Shore meetings will be the third time since the NJSIAA playoffs were created in 1974 that two Shore Conference teams met on consecutive weeks.
Toms River North and Brick did it in 1979. Brick won 24-15 on Thanksgiving Day in the game that decided the Shore Conference Class A South championship and Toms River North won 15-14 the following week on a late TD and 2-point conversion in the South Group IV championship game at Giants Stadium.
Lacey and Central met in 1993 in an NJSIAA South Group III semifinal and then on Thanksgiving Day weekend in a regular season game that decided the Class B South championship. Lacey won both games. Rumson-Fair Haven, ranked No. 3 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, and No. 1 Red Bank Catholic, are two of three teams in contention to finish No. 1 in the final Asbury Park Press Top 10. Second-ranked Manalapan (10-0) is the other. Rumson-Fair Haven will meet Weequahic (10-0) at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 7 at Kean University, Union, in the Central Group II championship game. Red Bank Catholic will be concluding its season.
A major story here will be Rumson-Fair Haven junior tailback Charlie Volker, who has rushed for 100 yards in every game and 1,967 yards on the season. Volker is coming off an electrifying 314-yard, four TD performance, which included an 80-yard TD run with 6.8 seconds left, in the Bulldogs’ 28-21 win over Rahway last week in a NJSIAA Central Group II semifinal.
Red Bank Catholic’s defensive front seven is one of the best in the Shore. The Caseys, who have beaten Rumson 10 consecutive seasons, have allowed just one running back to run for 100 yards against them. That was Middletown South’s Jeremy Concepcion, who had 140 on Nov. 1.
Among the major rivalry games taking place this weekend are Toms River South (7-3) at Lakewood (6-4) on Thursday in the 94th renewal of the Shore’s oldest continuous rivalry; Neptune (4-5) at Asbury Park (7-3) on Thursday in the 86th meeting between those two neighboring schools; Manasquan (7-3) at Wall (3-6) on Thursday; Long Branch (6-3, 4-1) at Red Bank Regional (1-8, 1-4) tonight in the 91st renewal of that series and Middletown North (3-6) at Middletown South (4-5) on Thursday. Middletown North will be seeking its first win over its sister school since 2000.
The Neptune at Asbury Park game is the Game of the Week on APP.com with video highlights available by Thursday night. The Manasquan at Wall game will be broadcast live on 1160 and 1310 AM Thursday morning beginning with the pre-game show at 10:50 a.m.