It's never too early to start looking at high school football power points, and the playoff scenarios they foretell. So, let's take a quick peek.
Central Jersey Group 5
Currently, Manalapan holds the top spot. No surprise there. Hillsborough is five points back in second, followed by South Brunswick. Yes, that would be a potential Rick Mantz Bowl in the semis. (He's coached and produced NFL products at both schools.)
What's interesting is who's on the "inside" at the moment. North Brunswick sits in 5th, and Perth Amboy at 8th. It's still sooooo early yet. But North Brunswick hasn't been a factor in years, and Perth Amboy has never made the playoffs, which made their debut in New Jersey in 1974.
Central Jersey Group 3
With Monmouth Regional sitting in the catbird's seat (having played a 4th game already), undefeated Somerville is 4th. South Plainfield and Carteret occupy the bottom two spots.
Central Jersey Group 2
South River made the jump up to Group 2 this year, along with Metuchen, joining Spotswood from the GMC Blue in the next-largest section. But the three-time defending division champion Chargers are 0-3, sitting in last (15th) place with just 4 power points, with Metuchen (4 pts) just above them (based on strength of schedule). The Rams? They are in 2nd place behind Point Pleasant Boro. South River was the last GMC Blue team to win a sectional title, doing so in 2001. The Rams handled Bishop Ahr this weekend, and it would be interesting to see what they do against the likes of other teams in this section, which they don't typically face: Point Boro, Johnson, Clark, Holmdel, and Del Val.
Central Jersey Group 1
Undefeated (3-0) Bound Brook is No. 2 in this section, tied with Burlington City (No. 1) but a point behind based on strength of schedule. Manville and Middlesex sit in 7th and 8th. There are fewer area teams here this year with the moving up of South River and Metuchen from Group 1.
North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5
Undefeated Westfield, the owner of the state's longest active winning streak, is the top team in the section, with newcomer Piscataway (back from CJ5) in 2nd, 5 points behind. But their schedule has not been strong yet. It will get better, and they'll have a chance to pick up some ground, as the teams get better. A huge matchup in 2 weeks (after a bye this week) looms at Sayreville (on WCTC on Friday, October 6th).
Bridgewater-Raritan, despite a tough home loss to Phillipsburg (not in this section), sits in 4th. After 2 straight losses, Ridge - which began the season in the Star-Ledger/nj.com Top 20 (at No. 15) - sits at No. 11 in the sectional standings.
North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4
Three undefeated teams top the standings here, with Phillipsburg (45 pts) followed by North Hunterdon (39) and Sayreville (36). Same deal for the Bombers here, with that big matchup looking at home with the Chiefs in two weeks. But first comes Brick Memorial on Friday night, another chance against a 2-1 team to pick up some nice residuals now, and down the road.
Despite a tough loss to St. Joe's-Metuchen Friday night, Colonia sits in 4th. There are some good teams in the GMC White, so the Patriots should pick up some residuals down the line as well. Woodbridge's first win of the season gets them within striking distance of the playoffs, in 9th. JFK's loss pushes the to 1-2 and has them three spots out in 11th.
Not a factor yet...
In North 2, Group 3, North Plainfield is winless and not a factor, the only area team in the section. And despite Dunellen's rout of Highland Park, they're not quite a factor yet, either, as the only area team remaining in North 2, Group 1.
Non-Public Group 4
I'll be honest, I'm not sure where all the points I saw in the nj.com power points release last week are coming from. Based on the new incentive formulas from the NJSIAA, most power points involving North Jersey Super Football Conference United Red and White Division teams are fixed. Nonetheless, I'm going with my own personal numbers here, which show 0-3 Seton Hall Prep leading the section, while St. Joseph of Metuchen sits in 4th at 3-0. The real injustice, though, is that the Falcons are even in this section to begin with. Private school or not, they simply don't belong in the same playoff grouping as Paramus Catholic, Bergen Catholic, or Don Bosco.
Non-Public, Group 3
At 1-2 after this weekend's loss to South River, Bishop Ahr sits in 9th, 5 points out of the playoffs. But there's a lot of season left and a lot of games the Trojans should win, on paper. And there are a couple of 1-2 teams ahead of them in 7th and 8th (Bishop Eustace and Donovan Catholic), so it's not quite time to hit the panic button in North Edison.
Non-Public, Group 2
Immaculata is 2-1, sitting in 7th, with 4 undefeated teams making up the top 8 (including 2-0 Mater Dei in 8th, a product of a weak early-season Shore Conference schedule). St. Joe's-Hammonton leads the pack with 40 power points. Immaculata has 21. Big matchup in mid-October with Westfield at Brooks Field will be on WCTC.