With its win at Union last Friday night, the undefeated Bridgewater-Raritan Panthers appear to have a top seed solidified in the North Jersey, Section 2 - Group 5 playoffs. Let's look at the area teams in the North 2 sections.
North Jersey, Section 2 - Group 5
The Panthers look solid at No. 1, despite being only 19 points ahead of undefeated Westfield. BR has played eight games, while Westfield has only played 7. Why can't the Blue Devils catch them? Well, once you play 8 games, the NJSIAA drops your lowest score and takes your best 7. I've already done that for BR, but not for Westfield. Since the Blue Devils are undefeated, all their point totals are high. This weekend's opponent for Westfield is winless Group 4 Scotch Plains-Fanwood. That means they'd get 6 for the win, 4 for the group and no residuals. The 10 points would be their lowest score, so it gets dropped. Inotherwords, win or lose, Westfield gains no points for playing SPF this weekend. Thus, they can't catch BR, which already had its lowest point total dropped.
Enter Ridge, which is just a point behind Westfield at 141. Whoever gets the 2 seed could come down to residuals. The Blue Devils can get 9; Ridge can get 7, but both teams have a common residual in Union, if they win. In the end, if all goes to chalk, they'll end up facing each other in the semis, it's just a matter of whether it's at Kehler Stadium or in Basking Ridge. The bottom line is this: neither team can be caught from behind by 4th place East Orange, so it looks like Ridge and Westfield are seeds 2 and 3 regardless of what happens this weekend; it just remains to be seen which is which. The top seven seeds appear to have been set, with 1-7 Columbia in 8th, hoping 9th place Linden (3-4) loses Friday night. That's not likely; Linden plays winless Franklin Friday night at home.
North Jersey, Section 2 - Group 4
Here's where the winner of last Friday night's Colonia-JFK rivalry game was rewarded. The Patriots clinched a playoff berth, and now the top 7 teams are in. The last two spots look like they'll go to any of three teams: Woodbridge (3-5, 78 pts), North Hunterdon (4-4, 73) and JFK (4-4, 71). Kennedy could get as many as 13 residuals, while Woodbridge (already in, just jockeying for position) could get as many as 6, and North Hunterdon - the biggest potential loser here - can only gain 1 point. None are guaranteed any, as none of the residual teams play each other.
Colonia should end up the 6 seed, even if things break right for Woodbridge, because they share two residuals with Woodbridge, and would gain points in those cases even as the Barrons do. Sayreville is likely the 5-seed, setting up a potential opening round matchup at Phillipsburg.
North Jersey, Section 2 - Group 1
This is a simple one: Bound Brook is sitting in the 2nd slot right now, unable to catch top-seed Weequahic since the Crusaders have played 8 games, and the Indians have one more to go. And they should stay there. With 118 points, the only team behind them close enough is Shabazz, and they're not close enough. A win this weekend would get them within four points of Bound Brook, and they can only gain two residuals. Plus, one of them is for a loss to Bernards, which Brook also lost to, meaning if Shabazz got that point, so would the Crusaders. Looks like Bound Brook is locked in as the second seed. Looks like their potential first round matchup could be home against Newark Collegiate, or Brearley (which they beat two weeks ago).
We'll get to those later this week. Stay tuned!