Welcome back football fans! There is plenty of excitement around the Shore for all of the Week 7 action. For any team on the bubble, now is the time to finally put a major run together. Some teams are comfortably in the playoff picture, while others are still looking to slip in. Power Points will be up for grabs with some big matchups to highlight tonight’s schedule.
No 1 Middletown South (6-0) at Brick Memorial (5-1)
The Eagles do not have any time to enjoy last week’s A North victory over Manalapan. Middletown South will go on the road to face a very hungry Brick Memorial team. The Mustangs are winners of five straight and are very much in Class A South and Central Jersey Group IV. Brick Memorial trails cross town rival Brick Twp in the division and state bracket.
Defensively, Brick Memorial will provide the biggest challenge that Middletown South has faced. Brothers’ Mike and Anthony Nobile anchor one of the best defensive lines in the state. They will have the difficult task of putting pressure on Eagles Quarterback Matt Mosquera. Can the Brick Memorial linebackers slow down Cole Rogers and James McCarthy?
Both teams are led by big time leaders at the Quarterback position. Matt Mosquera has enjoyed a very special season in 2015. The Senior has thrown for 11 touchdowns and run for another 2. Since Week 2, Tim Santiago has been running over everyone. The Senior has rushed for 984 yards, and is averaging 9 yards per carry on the ground. He has led the Brick Memorial triple option offense to great heights all season long.
Middletown South comes into this game riding a lot of momentum. After dethroning Manalapan of the Class A North title, the Eagles are on an emotional high. It will be up to Head Coach Steve Antonucci to keep the team focused and prepared to play a very tough team.
Brick Memorial is coming off a big victory over Jackson Memorial. The Mustangs scored three second half touchdowns to walk away with a 28-7 win. Will Tim Santiago and Tony Thorpe be able to move the chains against an Eagles defense that is only giving up 7 points per game?
When I look at this contest, I have to give Middletown South a slight edge. Both teams are very close on the defensive side of the ball, but offensively the Eagles have a little more to work with. Everyone wants to talk about the running ability of Cole Rogers and James McCarthy, but Middletown South can also make the big plays in the vertical passing game. Several times this year, Matt Mosquera has been able to stretch the field with scoring plays to Samson Dube and Tom Coffey. While both teams can run the ball efficiently, I believe a few big plays will be the difference in this one.
The Pick – Middletown South 34, Brick Memorial 21
Red Bank Catholic will look to get back to their winning ways after suffering a tough loss to Red Bank Regional in Class B Central. This was only the second time the Caseys have lost to Shore Conference competition in the past six years. Manalapan were dominated by Middletown South, losing the game by a score of 42-7. This is a game where both teams are trying to regain respect across the Shore.
All eyes will be on Quarterback Eddie Hahn. Hahn is a natural leader and will motivate his teammates for prime time. The Quarterback will have to get Wide Receivers Dan Lukawski and Mike Balzofiore involved early. Manalapan will come after him in the same way that RBR did a week ago.
Sophomore Luke Corcione will get some great experience under the lights. Corcione continues to look more comfortable in the Braves offense. The running game of Marcus Salinas and Na’im Mayfield will help take the pressure off the young signal caller. RBR used an inside running game to gain the tough yards against the Caseys. Manalapan Head Coach Eddie Guirerri will try to utilize the same strategy.
This is going to be a tough battle right from the start. Both teams are very much in the playoff picture which means they have a lot to play for. It was a tough regular season loss to Jackson Memorial that gave RBC some extra motivation heading into the postseason last year. The Caseys were able to rally around one another and roll to a Non Public Sectional Championship. I see RBC going back to the drawing board and having a big night against Manalapan!
The Pick – Red Bank Catholic 31, Manalapan 14
Toms River South (4-1) at Jackson Memorial (3-3)
Toms River South will go down into the jungle to face a Jackson Memorial team that has lost three straight. The A South title is out of reach, but the playoffs are not for the Jaguars. Expect Head Coach Walt Krystopik to use Mike Gawlik and Vinny Lee to control the clock and keep the ball away from the Indians.
Toms River South is off to a surprising 4-1 start! The Indians are only one game behind Brick Twp in Class A South. Senior Quarterback and Linebacker Jaden Kosh is questionable for the game with a knee injury. Junior Dominic O’Brien is ready to step in if needed. Tyler Sosa and DaShaun Alexander bring a lot of speed to the Indians offense. Can the Indians defense slow down Gawlik and Lee? This will be a fun game to watch.
The Pick – Jackson Memorial 21, Toms River South 14
OTHER PICKS AROUND THE SHORE:
St John Vianney over Donovan Catholic
Asbury Park over Dunellen
Pt Beach over Highland Park
Wall over Neptune
Jackson Liberty over Lacey
Raritan over Pt Boro
Monroe over Howell
Freehold Twp over New Brunswick
East Brunswick over Marlboro
Matawan over Long Branch
Holmdel over Pinelands
Brick over Colts Neck
Spotswood over Keyport
Shore over South River
Middlesex over Keansburg
Metuchen over Mater Dei Prep
Rumson Fair Haven over Lakewood
Freehold Boro over Toms River East
Stay tuned to NJSR for all your previews, updates, and recaps throughout the weekend!