The 2015 scholastic football season is almost at the halfway point.
There have been many surprises and many wild games during the first five weeks of the season, including a pair of 2-0 games this past weekend.
The divisional races are starting to take shape as far as who appears to be the favorites to win the six divisional championships. Here are how each of the divisions shape up.
Class A North
Middletown South (4-0, 2-0), ranked No. 1 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, is the only unbeaten remaining team in the division and heavy favorite to win its first divisional championship since 2009.
The Eagles have outscored their opponents, 174-35, have recorded two shutouts and their starting defense has not allowed a touchdown since the second quarter of the opener.
Middletown South still has the teeth of its schedule to play. It hosts Manalapan (3-1, 2-1) on Oct. 16. Manalapan, the five-time defending Class A North champion with wins over Middletown South the past five seasons, had a 33-game divisional streak snapped last Friday night by Middletown North (3-1, 2-1).
The Eagles also host Middletown North on Thanksgiving Day and at Freehold (2-2, 2-1) Nov. 7. Middletown South has defeated Middletown North 14 straight seasons.
Manalapan hosts Freehold on Oct. 30.
Class A Central
St. John Vianney (4-0, 3-0), which moved up to No. 2 this week in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, took a major step toward its second consecutive divisional title with a 13-6 win over Rumson-Fair Haven (2-1, 2-1) last Friday night. The last time the Lancers won divisional titles in two consecutive seasons was 1981-82.
It would appear the most difficult hurdle St. John Vianney has remaining to win the divisional title is an Oct. 16 game against Raritan (3-0, 2-0). The Lancers also host Manasquan (2-2, 2-1) on Nov. 6.
Raritan, which moved into the the top 10 this week and is 3-0 for the first time since 2006, has been one of the surprise teams in the Shore. The Rockets have outscored their opponents, 100-17, including 74-3 the past two weeks.
Another key game remaining in this division has Raritan hosting Rumson-Fair Haven on Oct. 30.
Class A South
Brick, after its 2-0 win over Jackson Memorial on Friday night in the wind, rain and mud at Keller Memorial Field, has the inside track to win the division for the second consecutive season.
The Green Dragons, who have allowed just six points all season and recorded three consecutive shutouts, also have already defeated Brick Memorial (3-1, 3-1).
Among the four main contenders for the divisional title, it would appear Brick has the most favorable schedule remaining. It would appear the Green Dragons’ toughest remaining game is against Toms River North (3-1, 2-1) on Oct. 30.
However, Brick does have a rivalry game at Toms River South (3-1, 2-1) on Nov. 6.
Jackson Memorial (3-1, 2-1) and Toms River North meet Friday night at Toms River North’s Gernerd Field and Jackson Memorial hosts Brick Memorial on Oct. 16 and Toms River South on Oct. 23.
Brick Memorial is at Toms River South on Oct. 30.
Class B North
Red Bank Regional (4-0, 4-0), ranked No. 9 in the Asbury Park Press Top 10, and No. 3 Red Bank Catholic (4-0, 3-0) are the only two remaining unbeaten teams in the division. They meet Oct. 16 at Red Bank.
Red Bank, which has won four straight games for the time since it won 10 straight in 2003, has not defeated Red Bank Catholic since 2004 and won a divisional title since 1977.
The Bucs have already defeated Ocean (3-1, 2-1). Ocean is at Red Bank Catholic on Oct. 30.
Class B Central
Shore (4-0, 2-0), which has outscored its opposition 128-24 and has won 12 straight games since a loss to Dunellen last Oct. 3, is the heavy favorite to win this division for the third consecutive season.
Four of the other five teams in the division are 1-1 in divisional play.
Shore Is at Point Beach (2-2, 1-1) on Oct. 30 and hosts Asbury Park (3-1, 1-1) on Nov. 6.
Class B South
Lakewood (4-0, 4-0), which is 4-0 for the first time since 2002 when it started 5-0 and Point Boro (4-0, 3-0), which is 4-0 for the first time since 2007 when it started 6-0, are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the division.
Central (3-2, 2-1), the defending divisional co-champion, Jackson Liberty (2-2, 2-1) and Donovan Catholic (2-2, 2-1) are all a game back in the loss column.
Lakewood and Point Boro meet Nov. 7 at Point Boro. Lakewood is at Donovan Catholic and hosts defending divisional co-champion Barnegat (1-3, 1-3) before the Point Boro game.
Point Boro is at Central Friday night at Barnegat on Oct. 16 and at Jackson Liberty on Oct. 30.
This and that:
Middletown North’s 18-8 win over Manalapan was its first win over the Braves since a 21-14 win on Oct. 27, 2000. Manalapan had won 10 straight games over the Lions.
Brick’s 2-0 win over Jackson Memorial was the first 2-0 game it has played in its 58-season history. It was also the first 2-0 game in Jackson Memorial’s 52-season history.
Week 4 Game Balls
Asbury Park: Senior quarterback Davon Thompson, Senior wide receiver Jaedon Stephens.
Brick: Junior defensive lineman Jack Finelli, senior linebacker Dan Finelli, junior wide receiver Ja’Sir Taylor.
Brick Memorial: Sophomore running back Tony Thorpe, senior quarterback Tim Santiago. The entire defense.
Central: Junior running back Mike Bickford, senior quarterback Mike Miserendino.
Donovan Catholic: Senior placekicker Giancarlo Stigliano. Senior wide receiver/running back Dezmund Hunter.
Howell: Senior kick returner/running back David Galarza.
Jackson Memorial: Senior defensive lineman Tyler Towns.
Lakewood: Senior running back Amir Tyler, junior defensive back Honore Richardson.
Long Branch: Senior running back/tight end/linebacker Brandon Lane.
Manasquan: Senior linebacker Paul Krueger.
Matawan: Senior running back Makiya Caesar.
Middletown North: Sophomore running back Connor Welsh, senior defensive back Dwight Wilkerson.
Middletown South: Junior running back James McCarthy, senior defensive back Tom Coffey.
Ocean: Senior running back Tyler Thompson.
Point Beach: Sophomore quarterback/linebacker Luke Frauenheim.
Point Boro: Senior defensive back Noah Husak.
Red Bank: Senior running back Alim Godsey, Senior defensive lineman Sean Naiman.
Red Bank Catholic: Senior running back Dylan Murphy.
Shore: Senior running back Jack Britton, senior running back Doug Goldsmith.
Southern: Junior quarterback Sam Cammarata, Senior wide receiver Nick Simonelli.
St. John Vianney: Senior quarterback Anthony Brown, junior defensive lineman Micah Clark.
Toms River North: Junior quarterback Mike Husni.
Toms River South; Senior defensive lineman Jake Newton, junior defensive lineman Jake Iavedia, senior running back Dashaun Alexander.
Steven Falk: 732-643-4267; email@example.com