Jonathan Yardley, webmaster
Despite the snow on Friday, it was a heck of a week, with big Saturday games highlighting the action. Delbarton-Seton Hall Prep was another classic, while Morris Knolls and Bishop Eustace stepped up by beating suddenly slumping Don Bosco Prep. Contrary to what’s been going on most of the season, the Southern Red is the first Red Division to crown a champion, while the Northern and Central Red Divisions have fallen into remarkable parity. Morris County is on the upswing, with big wins from Knolls, Roxbury, Morristown-Beard, and Chatham this week and a strong tie from Montville.
Plenty of eyes should be on the always-entertaining Mercer County Tournament this week, and there’s only one week left before the state tournament deadline of Saturday!
All the computer rankings have the South Jersey teams ranked very highly, but Southern Red and White teams have played a grand total of 14 games against Northern opposition, rendering those rankings all but meaningless.
Check out the White/Blue Top 20 ranking for lower-division teams.
Top 20 (records as available through 2/9/03)
1 — Bergen Catholic (13-1-2, 9-1-2 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/10 vs. CBA; 2/12 vs. St. Mary’s (NY)
Cruising to a No. 1 seed and Gordon Cup bye, but CBA is a tough test today.
2 — Delbarton (16-1-1, 10-0 MCSSIHL Mennen Division)
This Week: 2/10 vs. MB; 2/12 @ Hill (Pa.); 2/14 Ran
Came through with a big win over SHP; now Delbarton can rest up for the postseason despite a tough week.
3 — CBA (11-3-3, 6-3-3 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/10 @ BC; 2/12 vs. SJMet; 2/13 @ TRE
BC game is the biggest of the week, but the TRE game is also important for the Shore A title.
4 — Seton Hall Prep (11-4-2, 9-2-1 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/12 @ Fairfield Prep (Ct.); 2/15 vs. Bri
Losers of two in a row out of league, SHP faces the top-ranked team in Connecticut before old rival Brick.
5 — Hudson Catholic (9-6-5, 5-3-4 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/10 vs. SJV; 2/13 vs. Bri
Swing game against St. John Vianney for that No. 4 seed before a make-up contest with Brick.
6 — St. John Vianney (10-6-2, 4-5-2 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/10 @ HC; 2/11 @ TRN; 2/14 @ BE
The Lancers also have the Gordon Conference and Shore A on their mind, and Pershing will be a tough trip.
7 — Randolph (15-2, 7-2 MCSSIHL Mennen Division)
This Week: 2/10 WMC; 2/12 @ MB; 2/14 Del
Rams squeaked by Bayonne without Pencinger and will now gear up for Friday’s showdown with Delbarton.
8 — St. Augustine (9-3-1, 7-2-1 Southern Red)
This Week: 2/13 @ SPP
Hermits got by Middletown South 3-2 to clinch Southern Red regular season title, now face Central test.
9 — West Windsor-Plainsboro North (14-3-1, 10-1-1 CVC Valley)
This Week: Mercer County Tournament (2/10 Pri); 2/12 Pri?
Knights are the favorites for the MCT title, although a rematch with Hopewell could loom in Saturday’s final.
10 — Brick Township (7-8-4, 3-6-3 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/13 @ HC; 2/15 @ SHP
Green Dragons back in the Top 10 thanks to losses ahead of them; let’s see if they can take advantage.
11 — Morris Knolls (12-6-2, 7-4 MCSSIHL Mennen Division)
This Week: 2/14 vs. Ten (BSA)
Golden Eagles at their highest ranking in a while after a huge win over Don Bosco Prep. Gotta beat Tenafly.
12 — Pope John (10-1-3, 8-1-2 Northern Red)
This Week: 2/10 vs. Ten; 2/14 vs. SJMont; 2/16 vs. RD
Lions can win the division with a sweep of this week’s action.
13 — Tenafly (14-2-3, 8-1-3 Northern Red)
This Week: 2/10 @ PJ; 2/16 vs. SJMont
Tigers played to another 2-2 tie with Paramus, denting their title hopes.
14 — Hopewell Valley (16-3-1, 10-2-1 CVC Valley)
This Week: Mercer County Tournament (2/10 WWPS)
Cruised past Morristown midweek as a tune-up for this week’s MCT—tricky quarterfinal against WWPS.
15 — Don Bosco Prep (11-7-1, 9-2-1 Northern Red)
This Week: 2/11 @ Para; 2/14 Suffern (N.Y.)
Ironmen lost consecutive games to Knolls and Eustace; need to regroup to earn a playoff bye.
16 — St. Joseph’s Metuchen (5-12-1, 2-9-1 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/12 @ CBA
Lost chance at a playoff spot in 3-1 loss to Brick yesterday; now just playing to stay ready for the states.
17 — Roxbury (10-8-1, 6-6 MCSSIHL Mennen Division)
This Week: 2/11 @ Mclr; 2/14 @ Sum
Gaels crushed Morristown-Beard 7-1 midweek and face road games against Montclair and Summit.
18 — Bishop Eustace (3-11-2, 0-9-2 Gordon Conference)
This Week: 2/14 vs. SJV
Crusaders back in the Top 20 after 6-2 win over Don Bosco Prep, but they too are waiting for the states.
19 — Middletown South (8-9, 6-6 Southern Red)
This Week: 2/12 MidN
Must-win game Saturday against bitter rival Middletown North, which beat South 8-2 in the first meeting.
20 — St. Peter’s Prep (9-6-3, 7-4-1 Central Red)
This Week: 2/11 @ Sum
Suddenly the top Central Red rep is down at No. 20, and the Marauders are lucky just to be there.
Best of the Rest (ranks 21-34, alphabetically)
Brick Memorial — Hey why not? They crushed TRN and played St. John Vianney close.
Chatham — Cougars schooled TRE 7-2; huge week against Wessex, Pingry, and Ridge.
Clifton — Not huge credentials, but at least they’re not losing Central Red games.
Hightstown — Rams were shocked in Princeton upset, but it didn’t really mean much with the MCT this week.
Middletown North — Shore B champs can keep rival South out of automatic state qualifying on Wednesday.
Montclair — Mounties are struggling bigtime, and games with Roxbury and Bayonne aren’t going to help.
Montville — Mustangs got a good tie against Ridge and almost pulled off the upset. Have almost clinched Haas title.
Morristown-Beard — Crimson were embarrassed against Roxbury, but rolled past Bayonne to strengthen Morris.
Paramus — Tying Tenafly good, tying Paramus Catholic not good, even for a rival.
Ridge — Montville slipup drops Red Devils just out of the Top 20, but they’re still a strong team to watch.
Rumson/Fair Haven — Bulldogs have chance to make a point in division finale against South Brunswick.
South Brunswick — Vikings have only RFH before long layoff and playoffs.
Toms River North — Mariners have crucial Shore A game against St. John Vianney this week.
West Essex — Beaten by a better goalie this weekend, Knights need to regroup immediately.