When I was at Central Regional High School in the early 70s our first two football games were against Manasquan and Point Boro and they were tough, hard-fought games.

That was also a time when those two played one another on Thanksgiving Day which at that time marked the end of the season.  Separated by an inlet and just a few miles they were natural rivals as many football players and students knew one another.

Times have changed and not only don’t Manasquan and Point Boro play on Thanksgiving but even on a regular basis as they last met in 2011.  However tonight they get together with more on the line than in any meeting between the two in decades.

The setting is Al Saner Field named after the legendary Panthers coach who was a big part of those turkey day clashes in the 60’s and 70’s and at stake is a trip to the Central Jersey Group II championship game in the first weekend of December.

Point Boro is the top seed in the section and comes into the game with a perfect

10-0 record fueled largely by an offense that has averaged 35 points a game.  The leader of that is senior quarterback James Fara, who has rushed for over 1,400 yards and 23 touchdowns while executing their flex bone attack with precision as Boro cruised to their third straight Class “B South” title.

Manasquan’s 6-3 record may not be as impressive but don’t let it fool you.  All three of their losses came to “B North” rivals Long Branch, Middletown South and Red Bank Catholic, three teams that made the playoffs.  The Warriors feature senior running back Connor Morgan, who has rushed for over 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns while the Big Blue defense has recorded four shutout wins.

This is the Jersey Mike’s Game of the Week on the Shore Sports Network and will be broadcast on 1160 & 1310AM and streamed live at shoresportsnetwork.com.  You can also check out that site for a look at all 11 sectional semifinal games this weekend involving shore-area teams.