When the high school football season began in early September the general consensus was that defending champion Lacey was the team to beat in Class A South and their most serious challenge would come from Brick Memorial and Toms River South. 

(Brad Burascano, Townsquare Media NJ)

Tonight at Keller Memorial Field in Brick it will be two other teams meeting to decide the division championship and for both it’s a chance to win a title that’s been elusive in recent years.

The Green Dragons of Brick last won a championship in 2008, the 51st and last year that the legendary Warren Wolf would walk a Brick sideline in his grey suit.  In the four years after that one of the shore’s most storied programs went 17-23 and was mired in coaching controversy.  Brick was expected to improve on last year’s 3-7 record and Coach Rob Dahl got a boost this summer when quarterback Carmen Scalfani transferred in from Toms River North.

Jackson Memorial won back-to-back state championships in 2000 and 2001 and added another in 2005 which was also the last year they claimed a divisional title.

In the 7 seasons after that the Jaguars posted three winning seasons and just a couple of years ago went 8-2 under then first-year coach Walt Krystopik.

Coming into this season Jackson was the team nobody really knew all that much about but we found out quickly when they won their first three games and outscored their opponents 116-14.

The final weekend of the pre-playoff season is here and the unpredictable Class A South race will be decided tonight when the Jaguars visit the Green Dragons in a game we will broadcast on 105.7 The Hawk.  Both teams have been resilient, especially Brick who in recent weeks lost a shootout with Toms River East, had to hang on late against Toms River North and rallied in the final seconds for a dramatic one point win at Lacey.  That victory came without Scalfani, who suffered a shoulder injury the week before and was replaced by Joe Phillips who was clutch down the stretch.

Interesting to me is that Dahl and Krystopik are both in their third year as head coaches at their alma maters and one of them tonight will lead their team to a division title.  They won’t have long to enjoy it; the state playoffs begin next week.