The last time Raritan was ranked in the Asbury Park Press Football Top 10, current Giants injured safety Bennett Jackson was the team’s standout wide receiver, kick returner and defensive back.
That was in 2009 when the Rockets went 8-3 and advanced to the NJSIAA Central Group II semifinal before they were defeated by Matawan — eventual sectional champion and Asbury Park Press No. 1 ranked team in the Shore — for the second time that season.
But, the Rockets’ 3-0 start, which has seen them outscore their opponents, 100-17 has enabled them to move into the Top 10 at No. 10.
Raritan, which is 3-0 for the first time since 2006, replaces Manalapan, which had been ranked in the poll since the third week of the 2010 season or 72 consecutive polls.
Manalapan drops out of the rankings after its 18-8 loss to Middletown North this past Friday night. That loss snapped a 33-game divisional winning streak for Manalapan, dating back to a 26-14 loss at Southern on Oct. 23, 2009.
Other changes in the rankings see St. John Vianney move from No. 4 to No. 2 after its 13-6 win over then No. 5 Rumson-Fair Haven.
The Lancers jump over Red Bank Catholic because their win over Rumson-Fair Haven is the best win amongst those two 4-0 teams.
Jackson Memorial, the No. 2 team in the first four rankings, drops to No. 5 after its 2-0 loss at Brick in the rain, wind and mud.
Brick, which defeated Jackson Memorial in the regular season for the second straight season, moves up to No. 4.
Other movement sees Rumson-Fair Haven dropping one spot to No. 6 and Brick Memorial, Toms River North and Red Bank Regional all move up one spot to 7, 8, 9, respectively.
1. MIDDLETOWN SOUTH (4-0): Last week: No. 1. Maxx Imsho returned an interception 67 yards for a touchdown, Tom Marron returned a fumble 30 yards for a TD and quarterback Matt Mosquera and receiver Samson Dube connected on two TD passes as the Eagles rolled to a 42-0 win over Freehold Township. Next game: Friday vs. Howell (2-2).
2. ST. JOHN VIANNEY (4-0): Last week: No. 4. Calvin Beaty’s 2-yard TD run in the third quarter gave the Lancers the lead for good and quarterback Anthony Brown and receiver Marcque Ellington hokked up for a 75-yard TD pass as the Lancers defeated then No. 5 Rumson-Fair Haven, 13-6, in a key Shore Conference Class A Central game. Next game: Friday at Manchester (0-4).
3. RED BANK CATHOLIC (4-0): Last week: No. 3. Senior running back Dylan Murphy ran for three TDs as the Caseys recorded their third shutout of the season in a 20-0 win over Wall. Murphy had TD runs of 2, 1 and 4 yards. Next game: Saturday at Colts Neck (0-4).
4. BRICK (4-0): Last week: No. 7. A first quarter safety when a punt snap sailed out of the end zone was all the Green Dragons needed as they recorded a 2-0 win over then No. 2 Jackson Memorial and snapped the Jaguars’ 11-game winning streak. Senior defensive lineman Jack Finelli and senior linebacker Dan Finelli fueled a defense that held Jackson Memorial to 45 yards rushing and 67 yards of total offense. Brick has to be on guard now because its next opponent upended it last year when it was 4-0 and ranked No. 2 coming off a win over Jackson Memorial. The opponents’ offensive coordinator was also Brick’s offensive coordinator the last two seasons. Next game: Friday at Wall (1-3).
5. JACKSON MEMORIAL: (3-1): Last week: No. 2. The Jaguars could not get anything going on offense in a 2-0 loss at Brick. The Jaguars did have chances to win the game, but they missed a 33-yard field goal after a penalty nullified a successful 28-yard field goal and they had a 23-yard field goal blocked. Jackson Memorial will be looking to duplicate what it did last year after a loss to Brick, and that’s run the table. It began that run with a convincing win over this week’s opponent. Next game: Friday at No. 8 Toms River North (3-1).
6. RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN (2-1): Last week: No. 5. A 1-yard TD run by junior quarterback Mike O’Connor gave the Bulldogs the early lead, but that was the only score they could manage in a 13-6 loss to No. 2 St. John Vianney. O’Connor ran for 101 yards on 26 carries. Next game: Friday vs. Long Branch (2-2).
7. BRICK MEMORIAL (3-1): Last week: No. 8. Sophomore running back Tony Thorpe ran for a career-high 212 yards and four TDs and senior quarterback Tim Santiago added 170 yards and a TD as the Mustangs rolled to a 44-6 win over Toms River East. Brick Memorial ran for 450 yards. The Mustangs have scored 144 points in their last three games. Next game: Friday vs. Old Bridge (3-1).
8. TOMS RIVER NORTH (3-1): Last week: No. 9. Junior quarterback Mike Husni ran for four TDs, including an 81-yarder on the first play of the game, and threw a TD pass to Andrew Daniluk as the Mariners defeated Marlboro, 42-0. The going will get a lot tougher this week. Next game: Friday vs. No. 5 Jackson Memorial (3-1).
9. RED BANK (4-0): Last week: No. 10. Alim Godsey ran for 195 yards and two TDs, Sadiq Palmer ran for a TD and quarterback Jake Navitsky had a 34-yard TD run as the Bucs improved to 4-0 for the first time in many seasons with a 28-7 win over Neptune. An interesting test looms this week. Next game: Friday at No. 10 Raritan (3-0).
10. RARITAN (3-0): Last week: Not ranked. Senior running back Derek Ernst ran for 219 yards and three TDs, quarterback Marc Carnivale and receiver Jahciere Jones teamed up for a 77-yard TD pass and defensive back Vito Aleo returned an interception 56 yards for a TD as the Rockets defeated Freehold, 34-0, to improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2006. Next game: Friday vs. No. 9 Red Bank (4-0).
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com
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