A division that’s largely been dominated by St. Joseph in recent seasons, and to a certain extent East Brunswick, the Greater Middlesex Conference Red Division has greater parity and more competition this season than its seen during that span.
While St. Joseph entered the season as the favorite and still sits atop the standings with a two-game lead on the field, its opposition has certainly closed the field.
North Brunswick, South Brunswick, and East Brunswick all sit as teams that could be threats while even Piscataway, which is in a rebuilding stage, played the Falcons closely.
These teams have been apt to playing close games – East Brunswick edged North Brunswick by two opening night; North Brunswick edged South Brunswick by a point last week; South Brunswick holds a three point victory over East Brunswick and also holds a one point win over Perth Amboy.
“That’s kind of what we’ve been doing lately,” said South Brunswick coach Joe Hoehman of his team’s propensity of playing close games, as the Vikings past five games have been decided by a total off 11 points in which they’ve gone 4-1 in that span.
There’s still the adage though of having to get over that hump – in this case, St. Joseph, if any Red Division team wants to challenge the Falcons for the division title.
Of the teams in striking distance, South Brunswick and East Brunswick have both taken one stab so far and fell by double digits.
North Brunswick will gets its chance Tuesday.
Other division races
With its statement 60-38 victory over Monroe on Thursday, Colonia solidified itself as the team to beat in the White Division as they’re already defeated, in addition to the Falcons, Woodbridge and Sayreville, two other teams perceived to be considered as preseason contenders in the division.
Cardinal McCarrick remains at the head of the class in the Blue Division ahead of Spotswood and Carteret while Dunellen holds the Gold Division lead over Perth Amboy Tech and Piscataway Tech.
Eagles still golden
With its 55-51 win over Marist on Sunday afternoon, Cardinal McCarrick kept its perfect record intact at 10-0 as it is the only remaining undefeated team in the GMC.
With first year head coach Ben Gamble, a longtime right-hand man to Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley at St. Anthony, and a group that includes seven transfers, the Eagles have been far and away the GMC’s most improved team this winter.
Students of St. Joseph and North Brunswick are being asked by its principals, John Anderson of St. Joseph and Pete Clark of North Brunswick, to bring non-perishable food items to Tuesday night’s game between the two teams at North Brunswick.
The principal of the school that collects the most donations for the Middlesex County Food Bank Association will be allowed to pie the other school’s principal during halftime of Tuesday’s game or at halftime of a Feb. 5 meeting at St. Joseph between the rivals.
Games to watch
St. Joseph at North Brunswick, Tuesday: The Falcons will put their 32-game GMC win streak on the line when they visit the Raiders. This is the first meeting between the teams, now division rivals, since the 2012 GMC championship game.
Bridgewater-Raritan at East Brunswick, Saturday: A meeting between two annually strong teams in their respective conferences should tell us something about the strengths of the GMC and Skyland Conferences this season.
Staff writer Mike Becker: firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Linden 6-2
2. St. Joseph 6-1
3. Rutgers Prep 7-2
4. Cardinal McCarrick 10-0
5. Colonia 6-2
6. North Brunswick 5-2
7. South Brunswick 6-2
8. East Brunswick 5-2
9. Monroe 7-1
10. Spotswood 6-1