*Originally Posted October 2016*
This weekend kicks off the very exciting North Jersey HSFB playoff! With numerous big-time games being played across the board, even in the first round, there is a lot to cover. Let us take a look at some of the big North Jersey powers.
*Rankings are from MaxPreps
Both of these schools are coming into this game having very strong seasons. The Paladins have without a doubt played tougher competition than Falcons, but 9–0 is still impressive. The Paladins will be at home for this one and hope Senior QB Andrew Brito can lead them to victory. I expect big games for Corey Bolds and Johnathan Clark as well as a cruising Paladin victory.
Prep vs Prep is what this one is. The always fearsome Ironmen take on the Pirates who are coming off of a struggling season. The Pirates are coming off of a loss to Bergen Catholic on the road as the Ironmen are coming off of back to back road victories against SPP and BC. After a struggling start, Toal and crew have bounced back to a very solid 5–4 going 5–1 in New Jersey play. The Ironmen are at home and should run away with this one.
The Marauders have played very well this season thus far but will miss their starting QB Johnathan Lewis for the rest of the season as he has gone down with an injury. Even with that said, the Marauders should still be better at every position on the field compared to the Green Wave. It is also at Caven Point, which is a very big aid for SPP. Like the previous three games, I expect to see a victory from the favorite.
Now this right here should be a game. The 9–0 Hermits take on the 6–3 Crusaders in Oradell, but this is a game a lot of people have swinging towards the underdog. St. Augustine has dominated almost everyone they have played this season and looked confident in doing so. There also is the smallest gap in the rankings between these two teams compared to the others. The offensive line will play a big factor in this one and will need to set the tone early. The Crusaders best chance to win is if the running game can finally show back up, but we should be in for a good one.
Why no St. Joes (Montvale) coverage?
The reasoning behind me not discussing the Green Knights even though they are a North Jersey power is simple. The Green Knights have elected to play in a much smaller, easier division with the new grouping system. They open up against Pingry, a school that St. Joes is higher nationally than Pingry is ranked in the state. I think you get my point.
I wish every team the best of luck! Don’t forget to be at kickoff in Oradell at 1PM EST Saturday 11/12/16.