by Mike Pavlichko
I literally just wrote a tweet that says I’m putting high school football to bed for the night, and that I’ll be back at it in the morning crunching numbers and playoff scenarios.
I turned that into a lie pretty damn quick.
Had to share some thoughts on area high school football for the night, so here goes.
Chiefs are back?
With QB Lucas Loffredo waiting in the wings, Piscataway quarterback Kristopher Hernandez may have turned in his best effort of the season as his team’s signal caller.
Loffredo has transferred in from Edison after moving from that township to Piscataway; he doesn’t need to sit out 30 days. But he hasn’t apparently been cleared medically to play yet, as he had been out for the Eagles with an injury.
Yet the Chiefs poured it Friday Night at Mike Elko Field on against a South Brunswick team that had found its groove with a new spread offense since a season-opening shutout at arch-rival North Brunswick. They held a team averaging 42.2 points a game in its last five to just tow touchdowns in a 41-14 win that was just about over (34-7) by halftime.
Hear Hernandez’ comments to WCTC’s Tim Catalfamo after the game:
None dominant, but many solid
That was a topic of conversation tonight between me and broadcast partner Max Scheiner Friday night, and then again with Dom Savino on the postgame edition of Friday Night Football USA presented by St. Peter’s University Hospital.
Nobody has displayed the dominance that Piscataway did last year, or that other top teams from the area have in the past. They’ve been more like Sayreville was last year: a really good team, super talented, that you always knew what you would get. They could score points, but also win close games. Sometimes it was execution (like against North Brunswick in the Central Jersey Group 5 title game at home) and sometimes it was luck (like against Williamstown in the Black Friday South 5 Bowl at the Meadowlands) but either way you take it.
Consider the WCTC Top Ten. Of the first nine teams, they have a combined 6 losses, with three unbeaten teams: #1 Woodbridge, #6 Old Bridge, and #9 Middlesex, the last three undefeated teams left in Central Jersey. With previous #6 New Brunswick (4-2 heading into Week Six) and #7 Piscataway (3-3) dropping out – the Chiefs ending a streak of 60 straight weeks in the WCTC Top Ten – the only team left in the top ten with multiple losses us Hillsborough. But the 10th-ranked Raiders are now 5-2 after breezing by Colonia Friday night 26-0.
All those teams are really good. Not dominant, but good football teams. Of course, I haven’t seen them all in person. But I’ll get to check the top two teams in the area off the list over the next two Friday nights: we have No. 1 Woodbridge at home against New Brunswick on WCTC next week at 7, followed by the in-town rivalry of Immaculata and No. 2 Somerville at Brooks Field on cutoff weekend.
New Brunswick dream dies
Winning their final three games might have kept New Brunswick in the playoff chase, even after having all four of their wins wiped off the board this week via forfeit. On its own, those victories would have moved them to around 17 in the South 5 standings, with the top 16 making the playoffs. But, a tough loss tonight to East Brunswick put the kibosh on that. Now, the best they could do is 24th, well out of striking distance.
Playoff chances take a hit…
While not out of the hunt by any stretch of the imagination, losses by South Brunswick and Sayreville Friday night didn’t help either the Vikings or the Bombers. They were in 13th and 14th heading into Week Six action. The teams behind them aren’t great, so that could help prop them up. Sayreville’s power point average is lower than all the teams around them by a good deal (they’re just above 7.5 and all but one other team above them is in double digits. The only team at 10 or more below them is South Brunswick, but they could fall.
The plot thickens next week, when the Bombers visit the Vikings for a 6:00 tilt Friday under the lights.
Colonia’s chances also took a hit with its shutout loss at No. 10 Hillsborough, as heard Friday night on WCTC. While Gridiron New Jersey had them 16th entering Week 6, WCTC Sports had them 17th. (The reason is what we believe is an incorrect OSI for Morris Hills, despite the Strength index of their opponents on Gridiron being exactly what WCTC used, we’re getting a different OSI somehow. An email to Jon Fass this week went unreturned.) The loss will certainly hurt their chances, but by how much we don’t know. It depends a lot on what the teams behind them do. We already know Linden lost a close one to North Brunswick, so they’ll drop (because the Raiders’ SI will drop, since they didn’t win by as much as they should have).
…But some helped themselves
Bound Brook’s 28-7 win over Roselle Park likely helped the Crusaders’ chances a good deal with just two weeks of the regular season left to play. Behind them, Becton played Friday night (no score as of this writing) while Wood-Ridge plays at Wallington tomorrow.