(All games 7 p.m.)
No. 5 Monroe (5-3) at East Brunswick (4-3): Both teams have unofficially qualified for the Central Group V playoffs. East Brunswick has won four of its last five including a forfeit victory over Sayreville last Friday. Monroe, whose three defeats have been by a total of 20 points, endured a 28-21 setback to Old Bridge last weekend. Monroe’s Akeer Franklin is the Red Division’s leading rusher with 931 yards, while teammate Stephen Karoly is its second-leading passer with 758 yards. East Brunswick counters with quarterback Kevin Hemmings and a young backfield that has impressed in recent weeks. Monroe 27-16.
No. 4 Old Bridge (5-2) at No. 2 Piscataway (6-1): Following a two-week layoff, Old Bridge responded with a 28-21 win over Monroe. Despite injuries to key skill position players, the Knights have remained impressive on offense under the direction of quarterback Mike Gargano, who has passed for 656 yards and rushed for 312 more. After allowing just seven points in its first two games combined, Old Bridge has yielded an average of 24 points over its last four contests. Piscataway had a six-game winning streak snapped in a heartbreaking 14-7 loss to South Brunswick last weekend. The Chiefs have allowed just four offensive touchdowns all season. Elorn Lumor (6.5 sacks) and Zaire Ashley (42 tackles) anchor the defense. Running backs Elijah Pierson and Elijah Barnwell have each rushed for more than 400 yards. Both teams have unofficially qualified for the NJSIAA playoffs. Piscataway 21-19.
No. 3 Colonia (8-0) at South Plainfield (2-5): The Tigers dropped a 12-10 decision last weekend to Perth Amboy, which entered the meeting with a 10-game losing streak. South Plainfield features one of the league’s most dynamic players in Kyle Dickerson, who is among the conference’s leaders in all-purpose yards. Colonia quarterback Tenny Adewusi is regarded as a leading candidate for Home News Tribune Offensive Player of the Year. He has passed for 1,110 yards and rushed for 701 more. Colonia functions with machine-like precision on offense. The Patriots have unofficially secured the top seed for the North 2 Group IV playoffs. Colonia 29-13.
Perth Amboy (1-6) at Bishop Ahr (3-4): The Panthers rebounded from a 10-0 halftime deficit in a 12-10 win over South Plainfield as they snapped a 10-game losing streak last weekend. Tristan Rock returned to quarterback, from where he scored the decisive touchdown on a 1-yard keeper. Perth Amboy turned in its finest defensive effort of the season. Bishop Ahr, which had a bye week, enters with a three-game losing streak. Tim Howard has game-breaking ability. Bishop Ahr 13-8.
St. Joseph (2-5) at New Brunswick (3-5): The injury-riddled Falcons, who used seven sophomores in a lopsided loss to Colonia the previous week, rebounded nicely in a hard-fought 14-7 loss at Woodbridge last Friday. New Brunswick’s offense has been more balanced in recent weeks with Samad Davila complementing Maurice Ffrench at running back. The Zebras won two straight before dropping a 50-28 decision to Colonia last weekend. New Brunswick 21-17.
No. 8 Woodbridge (5-3) at No. 6 J.F. Kennedy (6-2): Both teams have unofficially qualified for the North 2 Group IV playoffs. Were it not for Spotswood and Metuchen playing for a division title, this contest easily would have been the Home News Tribune Game of the Week. The showdown for township bragging rights features two of the league’s top three quarterbacks in Tracy Fudge (1,108 passing yards) of Woodbridge and Andrew Roberts (896 passing yards) of J.F. Kennedy. Woodbridge’s Quassim Glover has 40 catches for 586 yards, while J.F. Kennedy’s Terence Young has 39 receptions for 598 yards and Stepp Oziegbe has 327 receiving yards. Woodbridge, which is the GMC’s most improved team, has won 5 of its last 6, while J.F. Kennedy has won four in a row. J.F. Kennedy 19-18.
Marlboro (0-8) at J.P. Stevens (0-7), 7 p.m.: The Hawks are simply much better than their record indicates as a one-point loss to Monroe and a 17-6 setback to Old Bridge indicate. J.P. Stevens dropped a 13-7 decision to North Brunswick on Oct. 24. Deandre Perkins has 301 rushing yards and 191 receiving yards. Marlboro lost 35-12 to East Brunswick, to which the Hawks lost 30-26. J.P. Stevens 28-14.
Highland Park (0-7) at South River (2-6), 1 p.m.: Sean Darrar (240 yards) and Jared Smith (193 yards) are the favorite targets of South River quarterback Nick Lepore (667 passing yards). Running back Mario Nigro (313 rushing yards) provides offensive balance. Since defeating Keansburg in overtime, South River has lost four in a row to some outstanding competition including Mater Dei, Spotswood, Shore and Dunellen. The Owls have dropped eight in a row dating back to last season. South River 24-19.
No. 10 Spotswood (5-3) at Metuchen (5-2), 2 p.m.: Spotswood (5-3 overall, 4-0 division) can win the division championship outright with a victory. If the Chargers lose, they would need Dunellen (7-1, 3-1) to defeat Middlesex and Metuchen (5-2, 2-1) to beat Highland Park in their respective regular-season finales to share the division crown with the Destroyers and Bulldogs. Metuchen can capture the division title outright with two wins and a Dunellen loss to Middlesex. The Chargers have a multitude of offensive weapons including running back Chase Fee (927 yards), quarterback Ryan Smolin (634 passing yards), running back Ryan Long (519 rushing yards) and wideout Nick Bacskoczky (190 receiving yards). Metuchen has relied heavily over the first three quarters of the season on wideout Evan Collier (236 receiving yards), running back Danny Briggs (458 rushing yards) and quarterback Jake Lebovits (444 passing yards). The return of quarterback Trevor Firgau from a broken collarbone and the addition of Josh Hall to the running game has made Metuchen even more balanced. Metuchen 21-19.