As we write this, Saturday games are mostly wrapped up, but the playoff picture has become a lot clearer. If not who will get top seeds or first round home games, we at least have a better of idea of who’s going to be playing in the postseason from our area.
WCTC Sports believes 16 teams are either locks or should be in the playoffs, come Cutoff Weekend November 1-2. And only three teams are on the bubble.
Nine area teams look to have wrapped up playoff berths with just two weeks left in the regular season. Five of those teams are in Group 5: Ridge and Piscataway in the North; North Brunswick, Old Bridge and Hillsborough in the South. All but one of those teams (Piscataway) are ranked in the WCTC Top Ten.
There’s also Woodbridge in North 4, Somerville in South 3, Middlesex in South 1, and St. Joseph-Metuchen in Non-Public Group 4.
Woodbridge has a shot to get a top-seed in one of the North Jersey Group 4 sections. After Friday’s games, they were tied with Irvington, but get the tiebreaker because there’s no head-to-head tiebreaker and no common opponent. OSI is the next tiebreaker, and the Barrons win that.
Another seven area teams should be in the playoffs, barring a mammoth collapse on their part, and/or a big jump by teams below them.
Despite losses Friday night, South Brunswick and Sayreville failed to lose any ground in South Jersey Group 5. There’s a good deal of room between them being in 13th and 14th place, respectively, and the teams outside of 16th.
Bridgewater-Raritan and Watchung Hills should be safe in North 5. The Panthers helped themselves by beating Westfield Friday night, but Watchung Hills didn’t lose much ground with a loss to a pretty good Montgomery club, which is now 5-1.
Bernards is right in the middle of the pack in South 2. And St. Thomas Aquinas (Non-Public 3) and Immaculata (Non-Public 2) are in no real danger in their sections, either.
On the Bubble, Inside
Bound Brook is squarely on the bubble, sitting in 15th place in North Group 1. And it’s a pretty tight group of five teams battling for the last three playoff spots.
Outside Looking In
Spotswood and South River didn’t move much after Friday night play. They’re still on the outside looking in. Spotswood has the tougher schedule, but the Rams’ weak schedule is doing them no favors. Beating Highland Park only brought their OSI down. Same would be the case next week against Roselle Park.
Then there’s East Brunswick. The Bears vaulted up five places to No. 19 in the South Jersey Group 5 supersection with a 17-14 win over New Brunswick, which is now 0-7, but really more like a 4-3 quality team. East Brunswick has a schedule that – unlike South River – with a couple of wins could get them in the playoffs. Next week is the toughest challenge: Hillsborough at home. They close at Perth Amboy on cutoff weekend.
East Brunswick coach Andy Steinfeld was a guest on Football USA Saturday afternoon with Mike Pavlichko, and you can hear the interview below:
East Brunswick Head Coach Andy Steinfeld discusses the Bears’ 17-14 Week 6 win over New Brunswick