first_imgStaff Writer Six local football teams qualify for state playoffs Action set to begin this weekend for most teams JEFF HUNTLEY Red Bank Catholic’s Michael Schower gets set to smother Holmdel’s John Giusti during RBC’s 38-7 win at Holmdel on Friday. RBC earned a fifth seed in the Parochial Group III state tournament, while Holmdel will be on the outside looking in this year. Following this weekend’s play, which saw a pair of local teams pick up big wins at the expense of other regional squads, a total of six area football teams learned their fate for the first round of state playoff games, scheduled for this weekend. Topping the list of local teams is two-time defending Central Jersey Group I champs Keyport, who are coming off a 42-9 stomping of Point Boro this weekend. The 8-0 Red Raiders have been steamrolling their competition this season, and will enjoy another bye week this week as the No. 1 seed in Group I play. They will sit back and wait for the winner of the Colts Neck (5-3)-Highland Park (4-4) game. If things go as expected in that bracket, it will mean a rematch for the Red Raiders of last year’s Group I final against the No. 2-seeded South River Rams (6-2). Against Point Boro (2-6), the Red Raiders rode the heels of senior split end Dezmin Laing, who scored four touchdowns, including an 82-yard kickoff return for a TD to start the game. From there, Keyport produced a well-rounded offensive effort, while the defense allowed only an 82-yard TD run in the first quarter en route to the team’s eighth win of the year. In Group II play, a pair of local teams will get back into action this weekend. The Matawan Regional High School Huskies (5-3), who have turned their season around after a slow start, will host a 5-3 Ridge team after enjoying last weekend off. The Huskies face a daunting challenge in their run for a Group II title as a threesome of 8-0 teams (Somerville, Manasquan and Spotswood) enter the tournament after dominating their opponents this year. Look for Spotswood, the No. 3 seed, to surprise some teams throughout this postseason. But Spotswood will have to get by Manasquan, entering the postseason on the heels of a 32-game winning streak, which was started following its 1997 loss to Neptune in the Group II final. Manasquan will begin its run for a title on Saturday when it hosts a 4-4 Raritan team which has limped into the playoffs. Coach Bob Generelli’s Rockets have lost their last three games, getting outscored 102-28. The latest loss came on Friday at the hands of Holmdel’s St. John Vianney, 42-22. The win was a big one for the Lancers, who at 5-3 enter the Parochial Group III tourney as the No. 6 seed. That means they will face the three-seed, St. Joseph-Montvale (5-3), on Saturday. In Friday’s game in Holmdel, Vianney’s Shane Kochon scored five touchdowns, leading the Lancers to their biggest win of the year. Kochon made his presence known from his first play of the game, when he returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD. The next time he touched the ball, he ran 67 yards for a TD, and that was just the beginning. By the end of the game, Kochon had scored five times, kicked four extra points, rushed for 253 yards and intercepted two passes in leading the Lancers to victory. His first touchdown came after the Rockets had jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a four-yard run from quarterback Dave Petruzzi. But Kochon scored three times in the first half to give the Lancers the 20-6 halftime lead. By the end of the third quarter, the score was 35-12 and Vianney was well on its way to the win. Raritan will have to step up big time to stop Manasquan this weekend, but Generelli has been known for orchestrating big upsets in the past, and Manasquan Coach Vic Kubu will be expecting Raritan to play better this weekend. The Middletown South Eagles came up with an enormous win on Friday, topping the Shore’s top quarterback Colin Gaynor and his Toms River East team, 32-30, in a thrilling contest. The Eagles (7-1) got a fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Nick Ernst to Moqut Ruffins to make the score 34-24 late in the fourth quarter. But Gaynor and his Raiders did not give up. After scoring on every possession in the second half, the Toms River East squad was confident that they could answer the Eagles’ score. And respond they did. Gaynor led the Raiders (6-2) 70 yards in just over three minutes to bring his team within two, but a thwarted two-point conversion gave the Eagles the win with just over a minute left. The Eagles will look to ride the momentum of this win into the Group III playoffs, where they will host Ocean (5-1) in a rematch of a 19-13 overtime game won by South earlier this season. The game will be played on Friday at the Swamp in Middletown. Hamilton North (7-1) sits atop the Group III bracket as the top seed, but will have its hands full with Hamilton West (7-1) and a North Brunswick team (8-0) which has not yet been tested this year. Look for North Brunswick to surprise everyone but themselves with a Group III title. Middletown North will be the only local team in Group IV play, when they travel to Woodbridge to play the second-seeded Barrons (6-2), who are coming off a shocking upset of Piscataway on Friday. Because of that loss, Piscataway (6-2) enters the Group IV tourney as the three-seed. Even if the Lions (4-4), who were off this weekend, get by Woodbridge and Piscataway, they will need to play the game of their lives to knock off top-seeded Sayreville (8-0), one of the top teams in the state. Look for Sayreville to cruise through this playoff season. The only other local team in action this weekend was the Holmdel Hornets, who fell to the Red Bank Catholic Caseys 38-7. It was the sixth straight win for the Caseys (6-2), who will look to carry momentum into the Parochial Group III tourney where they are the No. 5 seed. Holmdel (5-3) was beaten in every aspect of the game on Friday as the Caseys showed why they are considered a dangerous team going into this year’s playoff. RBC will have a tough time winning the Parochial Group II title, with unbeaten Immaculata (8-0) and second-seeded Camden Catholic (6-2) playing their best ball of the year as well. Up first for the Caseys, however, is Pope John-Sparta (6-2), the No. 4 seed. Look for Immaculata to be 11-0 when this tournament is over. In consolation games, all of which will be played on Saturday at 1 p.m., Holmdel will host Voorhees, while Mater Dei will travel to Bayley Ellard in Madison. Keansburg will play at Metuchen. By Doug mckenzie last_img

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