In a season unlike any other, the 2020 NJSIAA postseason consists of two weeks of play. Some conferences are playing four-team “playoff” pods while other leagues have set up intriguing matchups in Weeks 7 and 8. JSZ has a full breakdown of what to expect for the playoffs
November is usually reserved for teams plotting their course to Rutgers and MetLife Stadium to play for sectional titles and in recent times, the public school Group bowl games. All of that is off the table in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WJFL, Shore Conference to Play for Unofficial Champions
The West Jersey Football League and Shore Conference have set up four team “pods” for their post-season format. The WJFL has four 4-team pods while the Shore Conference has set up 4-team pods for their entire conference.
Two Weeks of Games Scheduled for SFC, Big Central and NJIC
The Non-Public Group 4 state championship is usually a much anticipated rematch from the regular season but that is off the table. Bergen Catholic and Saint Peter’s Prep meet up this Saturday in a 1 vs. 2 matchup in the regular season. But we won’t see a rematch in a “top 4” playoff. The Super Football Conference along with the Big Central and NJIC have set up two weeks of games as if they were regular season contests. While there is no playoff bracket to break down, all three leagues have set up some intriguing matchups that are going to have a playoff feel to them.
The West Jersey Football League has announced four, four-team pods, which feature the top teams in the WJFL. One of those pods aims to crown the unofficial champion of South Jersey. Another of the pods features the top small schools in the WJFL, while the other two pods feature the top teams teams with “medium” enrollment sizes. The remaining WJFL leagues teams who did not opt out were assigned a two-week schedule.
Pod 1 (Unofficial SJ Championship Pod): Lenape at Cherokee, Williamstown at St. Augustine OR Holy Spirit
Pod 2: Ocean City at Burlington Township, St. Joseph (Hamm.) at Winslow Township.
Pod 3: Nottingham at Camden, Hammonton at St. Augustine OR Holy Spirit
Pod 4: Delran at Salem, Haddon Heights at Paulsboro
WJFL Pod Notes
- Lenape will face Cherokee (Pod 1) on Sunday, November 15. Lenape is currently in a two-week COVID-19 shutdown and can return to the practice field on Saturday, November 14th. All other first-round games with either be played on 11/13 or 11/14.
- St. Augustine (3-1) is set to host Holy Spirit (4-0) on Friday night, in a game that will send the winner to Pod 1, and the loser to Pod 3. JSZ will have coverage of the highly-anticipated clash between the Hermits and the Spartans.
- Every team in Pod 2 except St. Joseph (4-1) is undefeated entering this weekend.
- Every team in Pod 4 is undefeated entering this weekend. However, Delran has only played 3 games due to COVID-19 shutdowns.
Shore Conference Breakdown
The Shore Conference was up front early in the season that it was their intention to have a “top four team playoff” and the fans on the Jersey Shore are getting what they want. There is no controversy on the four teams selected as they have earned their spots in the top tier and now they get to play things out for an unofficial Shore Conference championship. The Shore won’t recognize an official Shore Conference champ, but the winner of this four team pod will no doubt earn the right to say they are the best in the Shore.
Friday, November 13: Mater Dei Prep at Wall, 7:00 p.m.
No one around New Jersey really talked about Wall football until they scored a 14-7 win at Mater Dei Prep last October and went on to become the top ranked team in the Shore Conference and a top-10 team in the state with a 12-1 record. This time around, Wall’s got the bullseye on their back as the unofficial #1 seed in the bracket. Mater Dei Prep used a hook and lateral from Naran Buntin to score a last minute 26-19 win over Rumson-Fair Haven to earn their spot. Wall’s Casey Larkin (shoulder) will have a couple of weeks to get healthy for this much anticipated matchup.
Saturday, November 14: Donovan Catholic at Red Bank Catholic, 7:00 p.m.
RBC gives themselves the prime time Saturday slot for another much anticipated rematch. Donovan Catholic rolled off eight straight wins in 2019 before RBC’s defense locked the Griffins down in a 27-16 game. RBC rallied from a loss to Middletown South to earn their spot in the “Shore Four”.
The Shore’s Second Four Team Pod
Rumson-Fair Haven at Colts Neck, Southern Regional at Freehold Boro. Both games are set for Saturday, November 14th at 12 noon. Southern nearly knocked off Donovan Catholic, while Freehold Boro has been a high scoring machine. Colts Neck is unbeaten and gets its first big test against an angry and heartbroken RFH team that was 27 seconds away from being in to the top pod
Games to Watch in the SFC
Week 7: Bergen Catholic @ Delbarton
Week 8: Delbarton @ St. Peter’s Prep
Delbarton has a chance to prove they’re among the best teams in the state with this gauntlet of a two-week stretch to close the 2020 season. The Week 6 matchup between Bergen Catholic and St. Peter’s Prep is the unofficial battle for No. 1 in New Jersey, but these two weeks pit three of the top six teams against each other in an exciting playoff.
Week 7: DePaul @ St. Joe’s (Mont.)
DePaul and Joe’s have met in some incredible games over the years and each programs fields plenty of talent in 2020. Joe’s, led by Michigan State recruits Geno VanDeMark and Audric Estime, haven’t lost to DePaul since the Non-Public Group 3 championship in 2018.
Week 7: Ramapo @ West Side
These two Group 3 programs have two of the most well-rounded rosters in the public ranks of the Super Football Conference. You’ll remember, West Side gave Ramapo its toughest test last year in a 49-40 marathon in the sectional playoffs. Harvard commit Charles DePrima squares off against Rutgers commit Kharyi Banton and a tough Roughriders defense.
Week 8: Irvington @ Wayne Valley
Now this is a big-time game. Both Irvington and Wayne Valley were part of the North Group 4 sectional bracket in 2019, yet didn’t meet. This time around, these two will clash in a Essex County/Passaic County battle. Two of New Jersey’s top linebackers meet in Nebraska commit Mikai Gbayor and the Indians’ John Testa.
Games to Watch in the Big Central
Week 7: Somerville @ Woodbridge
Buckle up! Two of New Jersey’s most potent offenses will clash in this much-anticipated game. Somerville’s Cookie Desiderio and Woodbridge’s Ali Lee, Jr., two of New Jersey’s top running backs, will highlight what most assuredly will be a game loaded with offense.
Week 8: Montgomery @ Watchung Hills
After upsetting Phillipsburg earlier this season, Watchung Hills put themselves right in the conversation among the top BCFC teams in 2020. Montgomery picked up steam with wins over North Hunterdon and Hunterdon Central to earn a meaningful game in the two-week postseason.
Week 8: Summit @ Hillside
Hillside is a combined 26-2 going back to the 2018 season, and this Group 2 perennial powerhouse will take a step up the ladder for a tussle with a tough Group 3 program in Summit. The Hilltoppers might be 2-3, yet they’ve shown they can put up points in bunches when necessary.
Game to Watch in the NJIC
Week 7: Park Ridge @ Becton
Two 4-0 teams open the final stretch of the NJIC season. You’ll remember Park Ridge ran the table last season and won the North Group 1 bowl game. Becton, impressively, hasn’t allowed a single point so far this season.
Full Playoff Matchups
Super Football Conference
West Jersey Football League
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