The Jeep Store Shore Sports Network Football Top 10 for Sept. 13
A perennial state power out of the rankings? A team that has had just seven winning seasons in its 55-year history is now ranked? Absolute chaos?
Chaos would be going a little too far, but there's no denying that the latest The Jeep Store Shore Conference Football Top 10 has some eye-opening changes heading into Week 3.
Entering the SSN Top 10 for the first time in program history is Marlboro, which moved to 2-0 after a thorough win over Freehold Township. After going 7-3 last year for the program's first winning season since 1999 but also missing out on the playoffs, the Mustangs have started the 2022 season strong and are looking to make a championship run under 10th-year head coach Jason Dagato.
The yin to the yang of this week's rankings is Rumson-Fair Haven dropping out of the Top 10 after its 21-0 loss to Donovan Catholic. The Bulldogs have been one of New Jersey's best public school programs over the past decade but are working in plenty of new starters and are winless after defeats at the hands of No. 2 Toms River North and No. 5 Donovan Catholic.
Outside of the Marlboro-Rumson swap, three teams moved up based on the results of Week 2 and another dropped multiple spots after a season-opening loss.
Week 3 features two ranked matchups within the American Division and several other pivotal division games that have the ability to drastically alter the Top 10 again next week.
1. Red Bank Catholic (3-0). Last week: No. 1
Sophomore quarterback Frankie Williams threw for 133 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another, and junior linebacker Davin Brewton made 9 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 tackles for loss to lead the Caseys to a 25-3 win over Wall. Senior wide receiver Najih Rahman and junior wide receiver Emanuel Ross had touchdown catches and senior running back Sabino Portella ran for 60 yards on 14 carries. The difficulty ramps up for the unbeaten Caseys this week when they square off against the No. 3 team in the Shore. Next game: Friday at No. 3 Middletown South (2-0).
2. Toms River North (3-0). Last week: No. 2
Junior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 109 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries and threw for 64 yards and a touchdown, while senior linebacker Ty Kazanowsky had 15 total tackles and four tackles for loss to send the Mariners to a 42-0 victory over Southern. Junior running back Josh Moore ran for 83 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries, junior wide receiver Tareq Council caught four passes for 47 yards and a touchdown, junior wide receiver Jeremiah Pruitt had a 24-yard touchdown run, and sophomore wide receiver Mordecai Ford scored on a 35-yard touchdown run. Through three games, the Mariners are averaging 36.7 points per game. Next game: Friday vs. Central (0-2).
3. Middletown South (2-0). Last week: No. 3
Junior running back Donovan Summey took a swing pass in for an 8-yard touchdown with 32 seconds left in regulation to complete the Eagles' 17-14 comeback victory over Manalapan in a thrilling matchup between the Monmouth County rivals. Summey also had an 18-yard touchdown run and junior Jake Czwakiel kicked a 27-yard field goal to lead the rally after trailing 7-0 entering the fourth quarter. Junior linebacker Colin Gallagher had another outstanding game with 16 tackles, 3 sacks, and 5 tackles for loss. The Eagles have needed to rally in the second half for two straight weeks to overcome Long Branch and Manalapan, but a slow start will be much more difficult to overcome this week when they welcome the Shore's No. 1 team to The Swamp. Next game: Friday vs. No. 1 Red Bank Catholic (3-0).
4. Point Boro (2-0). Last week: No. 4
Junior quarterback Matt Oliphant ran for 228 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries and senior defensive ends Aiden Ward and Connor Reynolds led a relentless defensive effort to send the Panthers to a resounding 39-13 victory over rival Manasquan. Junior running back Jake Croce ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries and senior running back Connor Cilento ran for 61 yards on seven carries as Point Boro rolled up 365 yards rushing on an average of 9.9 yards per carry. The Independence Division is shaping up to be very competitive but Point Boro reaffirmed itself as the favorite with its win over Manasquan. Next game: Friday at Holmdel (0-2).
5. Donovan Catholic (2-0). Last week: No. 5
Freshman running back Najee Calhoun rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries and the Griffins' defense allowed under 100 yards of offense in a dominant 21-0 victory over Rumson-Fair Haven. Junior quarterback Todd Lambertson threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to freshman Emanuel Gerena and Roman Moyers blocked a punt that JJ Corea returned 15 yards for a touchdown. After graduating most of its top players the past two seasons, Donovan's new starters and talented underclassmen have helped the Griffins hit the ground running and show they will once again contend for the American Division title. Next game: Friday vs. No. 6 Manalapan (2-1).
6. Manalapan (2-1). Last week: No. 8
The Braves lost a 17-14 heartbreaker to No. 3 Middletown South on a touchdown with 32 seconds left, but even in defeat Manalapan showed it has top-five potential. Senior running back Thomas Clark-Glasco ran for 119 yards and a touchdown and junior Anthony Macchio returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown. Senior defensive end Artem Reinikov-Jouk had another big game on defense with four tackles for loss among his 10 total tackles. The American Division is a gauntlet with every week presenting a significant challenge, so the Braves will have to dust themselves off quickly and regroup for another matchup with a top-five team this weekend. Next game: Friday at No. 5 Donovan Catholic (2-0).
7. Long Branch (1-1). Last week: No. 9
Senior running back Sekou Kamau ran for 201 yards and two touchdowns and returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown to lead the Green Wave to a 34-21 victory over Lacey that gave head coach Chad King his first career win. Long Branch showcased its big-play ability with Kamau's long kick return touchdown plus scoring runs of 75 and 79 yards. Junior running back Zaheem Brown also had an explosive game with 131 yards rushing and two touchdowns on nine carries, scoring on runs of 49 and 56 yards. Long Branch and No. 2 Toms River North are the top two teams in the Colonial Division and the Wave will look to keep pace with the high-powered Mariners leading up to their Week 4 showdown. Next game: Friday at Southern (1-1).
8. Jackson Memorial (2-0). Last week: No. 10
Senior quarterback Tai Mann rushed for 153 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 102 yards as the Jaguars built a three-score lead and then held on for a 20-19 victory over Howell. Senior running back Aidan Sweeney ran for 102 yards and a touchdown and junior wide receiver Albert D'Alessandro caught five passes for 86 yards. Jackson and Marlboro have emerged as the frontrunners in the Constitution Division and the Jaguars will look to remain unbeaten when they welcome another division opponent to John J. Munley Stadium on Friday night. Next game: Friday vs. Colts Neck (1-1).
9. Marlboro (2-0). Last week: not ranked
The Mustangs make their first-ever appearance in the Shore Sports Network Top 10 after their 35-7 win over Freehold Township to improve to 2-0. Senior quarterback AJ Schwartz threw for 112 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a touchdown, junior running back Matt Cassidy ran for 118 yards and a touchdown, senior Lucas McEvoy had a touchdown catch, and junior linebacker Anthony Tropeano and senior Jake Houston each returned interceptions for touchdowns. Last season, Marlboro went 7-3 for its first winning season since 1999. The Mustangs' only division title in school history came during hits historic 1994 season when they went 10-1 and also captured the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 4 title. Some tough games await, but Marlboro is certainly a contender for the Constitution Division championship and a playoff berth. Next game: Saturday vs. Freehold (0-2).
10. Manasquan (0-1). Last week: No. 7
The Warriors drop three spots after their 39-13 loss to No. 4 Point Boro. Senior quarterback Brett Patten had a touchdown run but was largely shut down by a Point Boro pass rush that gave him little time to throw or scramble. Senior running back Jhamier Howard totaled 146 scrimmage yards and scored on a 38-yard touchdown run to lead the way. Patten and Howard are two of the most dynamic players in the Shore and will look to lead the Warriors to a bounce-back win this weekend against an undefeated division opponent. Next game: Saturday vs, Raritan (2-0).
Dropped out: Rumson-Fair Haven (0-2, No. 6 last week)
Writing off the Bulldogs would be foolish given their championship pedigree, but we do have to drop them from the rankings after a 21-0 shutout loss to Donovan Catholic dropped their season record to 0-2. Yes, Rumson's two losses have come to No. 2 Toms River North and the No. 5 Griffins, so most teams facing the same schedule would also be 0-2. Over the past decade, RFH has proven it can shake off losses to graduation and continue to contend for championships, and while we expect that to be the case as the season progresses, an inexperienced Bulldogs squad is still trying to find its way versus a challenging schedule.
Keep an eye on:
Raritan (2-0): The Rockets defeated Monmouth Regional, 21-13, to improve to 2-0 and have a huge divisional game at No. 10 Manasquan on Saturday afternoon.
Ocean (2-0): Senior quarterback Tyler Douglas had another big game in Ocean's 43-14 win over Neptune and the Spartans are now 2-0 for the first time 2019. They host Brick Memorial in an important Freedom Division game on Friday night.
St. John Vianney (2-1): The Lancers are now 2-1 after a 34-27 win over Holmdel followed Week 1's dramatic victory over Colts Neck. SJV's lone defeat is to No. 1 Red Bank Catholic. They'll host Monmouth Regional on Friday night.