NJSIAA Football Playoff Matchups Announced
There’s a new look to the NJSIAA playoffs as we take one step closer to true state champions.  The sectional champions will get one more game in 2018 as North 1 and North 2 face-off in a bowl game and Central champions matchup against South in another bowl game.  When the dust settles, there will be three Non-Public state champions and two champs from each public group (10 total).  With the brackets revealed, Jersey Sports Zone has all the matchups plus a breakdown with a chance for you to watch our videos to get ready for post-season football in the Garden State!
NON-PUBLIC
Non- Public Group 4:
(9) Paramus Catholic at (8) Seton Hall Prep – Sat. Nov 3, 2:00 pm, winner faces (1) Bergen Catholic on 11/10
(10) Notre Dame @ (7) St. Augustine Prep — Fri., Nov 2, 7:00 pm, winner faces (2) St. Joe-Montvale on 11/10
(6) St. Joseph-Metuchen at (3) St. Peter’s Prep on 11/9
(5) Delbarton at (4) Don Bosco Prep on 11/9
JSZ Notes
It’s imperative for football teams to not look ahead especially during the post-season, but the semifinals of Non-Public Group 4 on November 17 will be a Super Saturday for New Jersey high school football.  If the brackets hold to form, we will get a St. Peter’s Prep-St. Joe Montvale rematch along with Don Bosco Prep-Bergen Catholic part two.
Scouting Report
Non-Public Group 3

(1) Red Bank Catholic — bye in 1st round
(7) Bishop Ahr @ (2) DePaul – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Donovan Catholic @ (3) Mater Dei Prep – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(5) Pope John (4) St. John Vianney — Fri., Nov 3, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
DePaul Catholic was a heavy favorite to be the #1 seed for the entire regular season, but things took a dramatic change when the Spartans lost Ronnie Hickman to a season-ending torn ACL and ended the season with two losses and the Caseys scored a dramatic win over public school power Rumson-Fair Haven to run the table and a perfect regular season.  Mater Dei Prep is stockpiled with talent and suffered their first loss in a 34-33 regular-season finale against Cheshire Academy out of Connecticut.   This was smart scheduling by the Seraphs as they were virtually unchallenged in their Shore Conference schedule and the out of state game was the perfect way to prepare for what’s to come over the next few weeks.  Pope John is not your typical one-win team.  The Lions beat Seton Hall Prep to get a boost of confidence heading into the playoffs and the Pope John/SJV game this Friday night has the potential to be a down to the wire game. The Shore is anxious to see how Mater Dei Prep and possibly RBC matchup with the traditional North Jersey superpower in Depaul.
Scouting Report
Group 2:

(8) Immaculate Conception @ (1) St. Joseph (Hamm.) – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(7) Morris Catholic @ (2) Holy Spirit – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Gloucester Catholic @ (3) Hudson Catholic – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Holy Cross (4) Immaculata – TBD

JSZ Notes
St. Joe-Hammonton is the favorite as we got a likely preview of the Non-Public Group 2 finals in the final week of the regular season with St. Joe’s 28-14 win against Holy Spirit.  Jada Byers had 266 yards in a spectacular performance and needs to be in the conversation for JSZ’s Zoneman Trophy, given to the top high school football player in New Jersey.
Scouting Report

 

GROUP 5

North 1:

(8) West Orange @ (1) Montclair – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(7) Passaic County Tech @ (2) Ridgewood – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Kennedy @ (3) Clifton – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) North Bergen @ (4) Hackensack – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
We’ve got a fascinating first round rematch as West Orange visits Montclair.  The Mounties were stunned on the road in Week 0.   Montclair earned the #1 seed with a 6-4 record and benefitted from playing a very tough schedule that garnered enough power points to get the top spot while West Orange suffered four straight losses by 7 points or less on the way to a 3-6 campaign.  Montclair ousted Ridgewood last year on the way to its sectional championship and we could see those teams tangle in the sectional finals in 2018.
Scouting Report
North 2:

(8) Bridgewater-Raritan @ (1) Piscataway – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(7) Westfield @ (2) Union City – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Elizabeth @ (3) Union – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) East Orange @ (4) Ridge – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Bridgewater-Raritan showed how wide open this bracket can be when it upset Union 21-19 on the final week of the regular season.  Piscataway has been electric behind Juwon Jackson while Union City’s lone loss is to St. Peter’s Prep.  Elizabeth and Union is a rematch from Week 1 with the Minutemen getting a 28-14 win.
Scouting Report
Central:

(8) Hillsborough @ (1) Sayreville – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Trenton @ (2) North Brunswick – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Edison @ (3) South Brunswick – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:00 pm
(5) Manalapan @ (4) Hunterdon Central – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Sayreville overcame its lone loss with a big 34-28 win over South Brunswick to lock up the #1 seed.  This is a deep field with teams like Edison and Trenton capable of leaning on their defenses.  The Manalapan at Hunterdon Central game has the potential to be a thriller.  The Braves did a great job of overcoming two heartbreaking losses in the first two weeks to get to 5-3 on the season.  North Brunswick’s lone loss is to Sayreville and they are a #3 seed at 8-1 while South Brunswick gets the #2 seed at 5-4 and accruing more power points.  This is going to be a fun bracket to watch over the next few weeks
Scouting Report
South:

(8) Washington Township @ (1) Williamstown – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Eastern @ (2) Rancocas Valley – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Kingsway @ (3) Lenape – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Toms River North @ (4) Vineland – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 p.m.

JSZ Notes
Williamstown is ranked #17 in the latest state polls and proved that they are worthy of being considered among New Jersey’s best after a 14-7 win over St. Augustine Prep to run the table in the regular season.  Rancocas Valley and Lenape had an amazing regular season game and it would be a treat to see them square off again in a rematch with a trip to the sectional finals on the line.  Toms River North has a sophomore gunslinger in Jake Kazanowsky and a solid defensive unit.  TRN at 3-5 Vineland should be a great game.  The Fighting Clan had a rugged schedule that will make them playoff ready.
Scouting Report
GROUP 4
North 1:

(8) Mount Olive @ (1) Wayne Hills – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Passaic Valley @ (2) Old Tappan – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:00 pm
(6) Wayne Valley @ (3) Morris Hills – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(5) Northern Highlands @ (4) Morris Knolls – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Wayne Hills has been a fun team to watch with quarterback Tom Sharkey and the dynamic receiving duo of Charles Njoku and Jaaron Hayek.  Old Tappan bounced back from two straight losses to Wayne Hills and Ramapo to roll off four straight wins.  Congratulations to Bill Regan on his 250th career win at Morris Knolls.  That 12-7 victory against Northern Highlands secured a home playoff game as the two teams will play for the second time in as many weeks.
Scouting Report
North 2:

(8) North Hunterdon @ (1) Phillipsburg – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Colonia @ (2) Randolph – Sat., Nov. 3, 7:00 pm
(6) West Morris @ (3) Irvington – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Cranford @ (4) Linden – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Phillipsburg’s rolling with a four-game win streak and the no-doubt top seed in North 2 Group 4 with a 7-1 mark.  Irvington turned heads with back to back wins over Barringer and Montclair to close out the regular season. Linden’s BJ George is at 1472 yards rushing and could get to 2,000 if Linden can make a run in November.  And when it comes to stats, Colonia’s Antonio Alfano is the rare player who makes eye-popping headlines on defense.  Alfano had 6 sacks and 9 pancakes against Woodbridge.  Colonia is a dangerous #7 seed.
Scouting Report
Central:

(8) Middletown North @ (1) Long Branch – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Northern Burlington @ (2) Middletown South – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Jackson Memorial @ (3) Brick Township – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Brick Memorial @ (4) Freehold Boro – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm

JSZ Notes
A Shore Conference-dominated bracket with 7 of the 8 teams calling the Jersey Shore home.  Long Branch has been fantastic and should be a Top 20 team if they run the table in the playoffs.  Middletown North put a scare into RBC last week and Steve Bush’s ability to gameplan cannot be overlooked.  Middletown South’s defense gave the Eagles a signature win over Rumson-Fair Haven.  The Eagles know that if they can follow the blueprint of the RFH stunner, they’re going to be in the mix.  Freehold Boro made the shift to Shy’Kim Shuler at quarterback and the Colonials have a tough offense to prepare for.  Brick Memorial lost to Boro 20-17 and gets a chance to avenge that loss. The Colonials and Green Wave could rematch in the semifinals.  Long Branch won the Central Jersey Group 4 championship at Rutgers on a two-point conversion in overtime.
Scouting Report
South:

(8) Winslow Township @ (1) Millville – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:00 pm
(7) Ocean City @ (2) Highland Regional – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Hammonton @ (3) Clearview – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Mainland @ (4) Shawnee – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Millville overcame a 0-3 start to roll of five straight wins and grab the #1 seed.  Strength of schedule served the Thunderbolts well.   We got a good look at Clearview in Week 8 and their Wing-T attack was impressive.  Hammonton got a dramatic win courtesy of the Vandever twins in Week 6 and will try and write a similar script on the road in round one.
Scouting Report
North 1:

(8) Demarest @ (1) Ramapo – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:30 pm
(7) West Milford @ (2) Paramus – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:00 pm
(6) Pascack Valley @ (3) River Dell – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:00 pm
(5) Lakeland @ (4) Sparta – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Ramapo’s regular-season finale win over Randolph served notice that the Green Raiders are one of the best public schools in New Jersey.   #3 seed took Ramapo to overtime in the regular season.  Paramus is a perfect 9-0 with an OT win over Ridgewood highlighting their incredible 2018.
Scouting Report
North 2:

(8) Voorhees @ (1) Summit – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(7) South Plainfield  @ (2) West Essex – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Parsippany Hills @ (3) Rahway – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Warren Hills @ (4) Montville – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Summit had a hiccup against Cranford but has been dominant in 2018.  Rahway rolled seven straight wins after losing their opener to Somerville.  West Essex sits at #3 with a perfect 8-0 mark.   Rahway/West Essex is going to be a must-see game if they can win their first-round games.  Montville with a 7-2 record shows how deep this bracket is.
Scouting Report
Central:

(8) Raritan @ (1) Somerville – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Ocean Township @ (2) Rumson Fair-Haven – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Allentown @ (3) Red Bank – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Nottingham @ (4) Holmdel – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Somerville is the favorite here and has served notice as one of the best public school teams in New Jersey.  Jalahn Dabney will be in our Player of the Year conversation for sure.  Rumson-Fair Haven ends the regular season on a two-game skid and has star running back Alex Maldjian banged up, but RFH is hungry for a rematch with Somerville in the sectional finals.   We have two fascinating Mercer/Monmouth matchups in round one.  Red Bank Regional is one of the most improved teams in the state.  No one would have booked them for a home playoff game in August.  They are the #3 seed thanks to their stunner of Holmdel earlier in the regular season.  Holmdel’s only loss is to RBR and coach Jeff Rainess and his team is going to be a tough out.   Nottingham and their six player running attack at the Hornets is another game with great potential to go down to the very end.
Scouting Report
South:

(8) Oakcrest @ (1) Burlington Township – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Deptford @ (2) Delsea – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Triton @ (3) Woodrow Wilson – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(5) Timber Creek @ (4) Wall – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Burlington Township closed out the regular season with back-to-back one-point wins to get to 8-0.  We’ve got great star power in this bracket with Delsea running back Aidan Borguet and Woodrow Wilson quarterback Nick Kargman along with teammate Stanley King (Louisville).  Delsea lost to Burlington Township 22-8 earlier in the regular season.
Scouting Report
GROUP 2
North 1:

(8) Pequannock @ (1) Newton – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Glen Rock @ (2) Westwood – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Mahwah @ (3) Kittatinny – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(5) High Point @ (4) Ramsey – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Newton’s lone loss was a one point defeat at Walkill Valley.  #3 seed Kittatinny is 7-2 and lost at Newton 28-17.  6-3 Ramsey rolls into the playoffs on a 5 game win streak.
North 2:

(8) Newark Central @ (1) Rutherford – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Dumont @ (2) Verona – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Hanover Park @ (3) Lyndhurst – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Mountain Lakes @ (4) Hawthorne – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Rutherford’s 7-game win streak was snapped by Hasbrouck Heights over the weekend.  Verona lost back-to-back weeks to Shabazz and Weequahic, but has won three straight heading into the playoffs.  #3 seed Lyndhurst’s lone loss was a 14-7 defeat against New Milford in double overtime.
Central:

(8) South River @ (1) Hillside – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(7) Delaware Valley @ (2) Manasquan – Sat., Nov. 3, 2:00 pm
(6) Shore @ (3) Cinnaminson – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Bernards @ (4) Lincoln – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Hillside opened with six straight road wins and is the #1 seed in Central Jersey Group 2 with an 8-0 mark.  Whenever our cameras pay a visit to the Comets, there’s plenty of highlights to be had.  Manasquan plays disciplined hard-nosed football and will get a test from Del Val.  Cinnaminson gets the 3-seed at 6-2 and gets Shore Regional who has moved up from Group 1 to Group 2 in 2018.

Scouting Report

Watch Hillside’s 39-10 win over Cranford in Week 8        

Watch Cinnaminson’s 28-13 win over Ewing in Week 7

South:

(8) Sterling @ (1) Haddonfield – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Collingswood @ (2) Camden – Sat., Nov. 3, 3:00 pm
(6) Barnegat @ (3) West Deptford – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Cedar Creek @ (4) Pleasantville – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
This is an exciting bracket.  Haddonfield’s 8-0 resume is highlighted by wins over St. Joe-Hammonton and West Deptford.  Camden has a ton of talent.  West Deptford at Camden in the semifinals would be a war.  That is one game we’ll circle on our calendar for sure.

Scouting Report

Watch Haddonfield’s 22-15 win over St. Joe-Hammonton in Week 4

Watch Camden’s 45-15 win over Delsea in Week 3

Watch West Deptford’s 28-21 win over Deptford in Week 7

GROUP 1

North 1:
(8) Pompton Lakes @ (1) Butler – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Cresskill @ (2) Park Ridge – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Emerson @ (3) Boonton – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Wallkill Valley @ (4) New Milford – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Butler earns the one seed with a 7-1 mark with its lone loss coming to Hasbrouck Heights.  Park Ridge is also 7-1 and brings a high powered offense to the post-season.  Boonton overcame an 0-2 start to win six straight and grab the third seed.  On the other side, New Milford started 6-0, but drops to the 4-seed after two straight losses.
North 2:

(8) Bound Brook @ (1) Shabazz – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) New Providence @ (2) Hasbrouck Heights – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(6) Hoboken @ (3) Weequahic – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Newark West Side @ (4) Cedar Grove – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Shabazz is the defending sectional champ and will be tested in a tough bracket.  Hasbrouck Heights is a perfect 8-0 and has yet to be challenged in 2018.  Weequahic is also unblemished and we all saw what Tyler Phillips did in Week 0 (viral video courtesy of JSZ!).  Weequahic against Hasbrouck Heights is a potential must see game in the semifinals.

Scouting Report

Watch Weequahic’s 33-0 win over Morris Catholic in Week 0

Central:

(8) Keyport @ (1) Willingboro – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(7) Maple Shade @ (2) Paulsboro – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(6) Asbury Park @ (3) Woodbury – Sat., Nov. 3, 10:30 am
(5) Middlesex @ (4) Florence – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm

JSZ Notes
The Chimeras raised eyebrows around the state when they topped Cinnaminson and Woodrow Wilson.  A tough schedule is rewarded with the #1 seed.  While Willingboro is 4-4, Paulsboro at 6-2 and 5-2 Woodbury take the next two slots in this bracket.  This “Central” bracket is South Jersey heavy, an example of the changes to the way the playoffs are built.

Scouting Report

Watch Willingboro’s 14-12 win over Cinnaminson in Week 4

Watch Paulsboro’s 37-0 win over Woodbury in Week 5

Watch Woodbury’s 20-6 win over Audubon in Week 1

South:

(8) Woodstown @ (1) Penns Grove – Sat., Nov. 3, 12:00 pm
(7) Overbrook @ (2) Salem – Sat., Nov. 3, 1:00 pm
(6) Schalick @ (3) Gateway – Fri., Nov. 2, 7:00 pm
(5) Glassboro @ (4) Buena – Fri., Nov. 2, 6:00 pm

JSZ Notes
Penns Grove’s 26-20 win over Salem in the regular season finale ultimately decided this bracket as Gateway and Buena look to play spoiler in what could be a great rematch in the sectional final.

Scouting Report

Watch Penns Grove’s 42-6 win over Glassboro in Week 7

Watch Salem’s 65-14 win over Burlington City in Week 2

Watch Gateway’s 27-20 win over Paulsboro in Week 8

Watch Buena’s 38-18 win over Gloucester Catholic in Week 8