The Panthers are the top seed in the bracket having secured a 9-0 undefeated season last week defeating Barnegat 28-12. Raritan will come into Point Boro as the eight seed having jumped both Lincoln and Spotswood for the final spot. While Raritan was able to come into Point Boro and defeat the Panthers in 2015, things are very different this season as the Panthers are already entering the playoffs on a historic note being undefeated.
For Point Boro, a 9-0 regular season is something that has not been very common. In fact, the last time the Panthers finished the regular season undefeated was in 2005 when they went 12-0 to capture their third NJSIAA title.
“We knew what we expected when we came into the season,” Senior Ronnie Leyda explained.
“Last two years, we struggled week 8. This year, once we won that game vs Ocean, we knew that we just had to come out against Barnegat and have fun. We knew we just had to play our type of football,” Ronnie said. Leyda had a big interception against Barnegat to help secure the Panthers’ perfect season.
When the Panthers return to the field this Friday, they will look to win their first playoff game since 2008. Senior Quarterback James Fara will once again look to lead Point Boro to the semi-finals after a heartbreaking 31-27 loss to Bernards last season.
“Clinching the number one seed is certainly great for us,” Fara mentioned. “The undefeated season gives us a lot of confidence and hopefully will pay off for us starting with a win next week,” Fara explained.
Even with plenty of confidence, Fara knows that it will come down to executing each and every play efficiently. “Last season the state tournament showed me that one play can change the entire outcome of a game. We know that we just have to stay composed and that we have to take things yard by yard this time around. We had a situation against Bernards where we were one yard away from the end zone and couldn’t pick it up.”
We know this time we will just have to stay composed and execute,” Fara noted.
The winner of the Point Boro-Raritan game will be matched up with the winner of the Roselle- Manasquan game also set for Friday evening at 7 PM. Manasquan features a balanced offensive and defensive line and has proven to be a threat in the running game led by Conor Morgan. One thing is for sure, Manasquan and Point Boro would be a great game that would bring back a former Thanksgiving day rivalry.