The scholastic football season has entered the final week of the season, and there is a lot to play for.
A record nine Shore Conference teams will play for NJSIAA sectional championships on Saturday at four neutral sites around the state.
Besides that, the No. 1 spot in the final Asbury Park Press Top 10 will be up for grabs.
Middletown South has been ranked No. 1 all season and has the inside track to finish No. 1 should it defeat Phillipsburg in the North II Group IV championship game Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.
Should the Eagles lose, then St. John Vianney, which plays a very talented DePaul team Saturday morning at Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium in the Non-Public Group III championship, would have a chance to finish No. 1 in the Shore for the first time.
Red Bank Regional, which plays Rumson-Fair Haven Saturday night at Rutgers in the Central Group III championship game, would have a chance to be No. 1 should both Middletown South and St. John Vianney lose.
If Middletown South, St. John Vianney and Red Bank all lose, then the possibilities become endless with unbeaten Shore Regional in the mix.
The only change in the top 10 this week has Shore and Rumson-Fair Haven swapping places at No. 6 and No. 7 after Shore’s 20-14 win at Rumson-Fair Haven on Thanksgiving Day.
1. MIDDLETOWN SOUTH (11-0): Last week: No. 1. Senior quarterback Matt Mosquera hit senior wide receiver Tom Coffey with a 62-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the game and also threw a 20-yard TD pass to Spencer Pereless, senior running back Cole Rogers ran for 114 yards and three TDs in the first half and the defense recorded two safeties in the first half as the Eagles built a 39-point halftime lead and went on to a 39-16 win over Middletown North. Middletown South’s second win over Middletown North in six days enabled it to clinch the outright Shore Conference Class A North championship and was its 16th straight win over the Lions – 15 of which have come on Thanksgiving. Middletown South will now seek to win its first sectional championship since 2006 and 10th overall. The opponent is an tradition-rich two-time defending sectional champion. Next game: Saturday at 7 p.m. at MetLife Stadium vs. Phillipsburg (9-2) in the NJSIAA North II, Group IV championship game.
2. ST. JOHN VIANNEY (11-0): Last week: No. 2. The Lancers did not play. Their previous game was an ultra-impressive 49-6 win over No. 9 Red Bank Catholic in a NJSIAA Non-Public Group III semifinal on Nov. 20. St. John Vianney will try to win its first sectional championship in 35 years. The opponent is a very talented team whose record in no way indicates its abilities. Next game: Saturday at 10 a.m. at Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium vs. DePaul (5-6) in the NJSIAA Non-Public Group III championship game.
3. RED BANK (11-0): Last week: No. 3. Senior quarterback Jack Navitsky threw TD passes to Sadiq Palmer and Mike DeCristofaro, Alim Godsey ran for two TDs and Palmer had a TD run as the Bucs overcame an early deficit and defeated Long Branch, 35-12, to clinch the outright Shore Conference Class B North championship. Red Bank, which is 11-0 for the first time since it went 11-0 and won the NJSIAA Central Group II championship in 1975, will try to win its first sectional championship since 1975 and second overall against one of its biggest rivals and a program that knows how to win sectional championships. Next game: Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium vs. No. 7 Rumson-Fair Haven (9-2) in the NJSIAA Central Group III championship game.
4. BRICK MEMORIAL (9-2): Last week: No. 4. The Mustangs did not play. Their previous game was the 28-7 win over Allentown in a NJSIAA Central Group IV semifinal on Nov. 20. Brick Memorial will try to win its first sectional championship since 2008 and third overall against an opponent it knows very well. Next game: Saturday at 4 p.m. at Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium vs. No. 10 Jackson Memorial (7-4) in the NJSIAA Central Group IV championship game.
5. TOMS RIVER NORTH (10-1): Last week: No. 5. The Mariners did not play. Their previous game was the 14-0 win at Lenape in a NJSIAA South Group V semifinal. Toms River North will try to win its first sectional championship since 2007 and make it 6-for-6 in sectional championship games. The opponent is a team that won its only previous sectional final against Southern in 2012. Next game: Satuirday at 6 p.m. at Rowan University vs. Williamstown (9-2) in the NJSIAA South Group V championship game.
6. SHORE (11-0): Last week: No. 7. Quarterback Matt Pennell,.scored on a 4-yard run, defensive lineman Paul Christopher returned an interception 20 yards for a TD and running back Jack Britton scored on a 47-yard run as the Blue Devils improved to 11-0 for the first time since they finished 11-0 in 1981 with a 20-14 win over then No. 6 Rumson-Fair Haven that extended the Shore Conference’s current longest winning streak to 19. It was the second straight season Shore has defeated Rumson-Fair Haven. Shore will try to win its second straight sectional championship, third in the last six seasons and seventh overall. The opponent is a team that has big-play ability all over the field. Next game: Saturday at 4 p.m. at Kean University vs. Palmyra (10-1) in the NJSIAA Central Group I championship game.
7. RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN (9-2): Last week: No. 6. Junior quarterback Mike O’Connor threw two TD passes and threw for 132 yards and ran for 108 yards, but it was not enough for the Bulldogs in a 20-14 loss to No. 6 Shore. Rumson-Fair Haven will try to become the fifth Shore Conference team to win three consecutive sectional championships. The opponent will be one that is about two miles up the road on Ridge Road and is having a magical season. Next game: Saturday at 7 p.m. at Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium vs. No. 3. Red Bank (11-0) in the NJSIAA Central Group III championship game.
8. OCEAN (9-2): Last week: No.; 8. Senior running back Tyler Thompson concluded his outstanding scholastic football career by running for 195 yards and three TDs and also scoring on a 63-yard pass from junior quarterback Kenny Pickett and Pickett threw for 221 yards with a 38-yard TD pass to Ruquan Dean as the Spartans concluded their season with a 34-7 win over Monmouth. Next game: Season completed.
9. RED BANK CATHOLIC (8-3): Last week: No. 9. The Caseys did not play and have concluded their season. Their final game was the 49-6 loss to No. 2 St. John Vianney on Nov., 20 in a NJSIAA Non-Public Group III semifinal. Next game: Season completed.
10. JACKSON MEMORIAL (7-4): Last week: No. 10. The Jaguars did not play. Their last game was the 56-10 rout over Steinert on Nov. 21 in a NJSIAA Central Group IV semifinal. Jackson Memorial will try to win the NJSIAA Central Group IV championship for the second straight season and its fifth sectional championship overall. The opponent is one it knows well and lost to on Oct. 16. Next game: Saturday at 4 p.m. at Rutgers University’s High Point Solutions Stadium vs. No. 4 Brick Memorial (9-2) in the NJSIAA Central Group IV championship game.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com