High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Football

Final New Jersey football rankings: Don Bosco Prep is No. 1

December, 5, 2011
12/05/11
4:03
PM ET
There's no need for a playoff or BCS in this year's high school football campaign; Don Bosco Prep is the clear No. 1. The Ironmen cemented their claim on the top spot with a 42-14 win in the against Bergen Catholic in this weekend's Non-Public, Group 4 title. The outcome marked the Ironmen's sixth straight state title and second POWERADE FAB 50 national crown in the three years.

The defense led the way in the finale, intercepting four passes and racking up seven sacks. RB/DB Elijah Shumate scored twice and had a pick-six in his final high school game.

*North Bergen also made it a memorable season, knocking off previously unbeaten Montclair on the final play of the North Jersey Section 1, Group 4 title. Debray Tavarez pulled down a 22-yard touchdown pass as time expired to give the Bruins their first title and coach Vin Ascolese a win in the final game of his 50-year coaching career.

*Wayne Hills overcame the absence of nine of its players (suspended after being charged with aggravated assault) to knock off Old Tappan, 15-12, in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 title. The Patriots used a 25-yard pass from Jeff Gignac to Kevin Olsen to secure its second straight crown.

*Eighth-seeded Piscataway overcame the odds and a tough opponent in Elizabeth to cop its second straight North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 crown with a 41-34 win. Tevin Shaw had a career effort, rushing for a school-record 304 yards and three touchdowns, including the decisive score with 17 seconds left.

Here are how the final state rankings after a wild championship weekend:

1. Don Bosco Prep 11-0
Cemented top spot in state and nation with 42-14 win against Bergen Catholic in Non-Public, Group 4 championship.

2. St. Joseph (Hamm.) 10-0
Capped dominant season with 51-0 win against St. Mary. The Non-Public, Group 1 champs allowed 19 points all season.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 8-3
The Crusaders once again fell to rival Don Bosco Prep in the Non-Public, Group 4 title by the count of 42-14. Two of three losses came at the hands of nation's top team.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings

Union's Jamuari Bogan named Gatorade POY

December, 1, 2011
12/01/11
12:11
PM ET
Jamauri Bogan has been selected as Gatorade New Jersey Football Player of the Year.

Just a sophomore, the Union tailback ran for 2,260 yards and 27 touchdowns in leading the Farmers to a 7-3 mark and the Group 4, North 2 state quarterfinals. In an Oct. 14 contest against Elizabeth, Bogan rushed 50 times for 376 yards and six touchdowns to push Union to victory.

For a breakdown of Bogan's award, click here.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

State title games set for the gridiron

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
3:19
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Most local football fans are likely to be thankful for the slate of title games set for the week after Thanksgiving.

*National No. 1 Don Bosco Prep easily reeled off its 44th straight win, riding Jabrill Peppers' four touchdowns to take down Paramus Catholic, 42-3, and set up a much-anticipated rematch with Bergen Catholic. Jonathan Germano threw for four scores as the Crusaders downed St. Peter's Prep, 42-21, to reach the Non-Public Group 4 state title game.

Granted, before this contest, the Ironmen will put their win streak on the line Thursday when they face St. Joseph (Mont.) in a Thanksgiving contest that has no postseason implications. Bergen Catholic, which handed St. Joseph (Mont.) its lone loss of the season, will face Paramus Catholic.

*St. Joseph (Mont.) will be looking to hand two teams their first defeat of the year. After the Ironmen, the Green Knights face 10-0 Delbarton in the Non-Public Group 3 title. Delbarton looked especially impressive in a double-overtime win against Red Bank Catholic. Will Reynolds picked off a pass in the second OT to give the Green Wave a 30-23 win. It didn't hurt that RBC lost its top player, RB John DiStefano, in the first quarter to a knee injury, but Delbarton still showed plenty of resolve in the back-and-forth contest.

*Wayne Hills and Old Tappan will meet in the North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 championship for the second straight year. Controversy surrounded the Patriots' 48-21 win against Paramus, as nine Wayne Hills players charged with aggravated assault were allowed to play. But their presence won't give the Patriots a decided advantage against Old Tappan. All-State quarterback Devin Fuller leads a Golden Knights squad that's won its last six games after downing Pascack Valley, 34-10. Fuller surpassed 10,000 yards of total offense for his career in the win and will have a chance to add even more yards in a Thanksgiving tune-up against Northern Valley Regional.

*Sayreville exacted revenge on South Brunswick, putting together a thrilling 22-15 win to spoil the Vikings' bid for their first-ever undefeated season. Delon Stephenson caught the decisive 63-yard touchdown with less than 90 seconds remaining to send the Bombers into the Central Jersey Group 4 final versus Manapalan.

*Eighth-seeded Piscataway showed why it was ranked in most preseason state polls by beating East Orange, 7-0, and reaching the North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 championship for the second straight year. The Chiefs slid by on Tevin Shaw's first-quarter TD run, relying on its defense to seal the ultimate win and set up a repeat title bid against Elizabeth.

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
In sports, there's nothing worse than losing, but few things are better than a rematch — in the playoffs, at that. Several teams have this opportunity for revenge as we enter the second round of the New Jersey football postseason, so let's get to it:

St. Peter's Prep at Bergen Catholic
The last time Bergen Catholic took the field, it defeated St. Peter's Prep, 28-17. After the Crusaders had a first-round bye, St. Peter's Prep will once again occupy the opposite sideline with a trip to the Non-Public Group 4 championship (likely to face national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep) on the line. St. Peter's Prep has made great strides since 0-2 start, but the Marauders had trouble slowing BC in critical moments. The Crusaders used big plays (93-yard TD on opening kickoff, two forced fumbles, fourth-quarter scoring drive to create cushion) to control their last contest. If the Marauders can't seize control of the game early, the result will remain the same.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 27, St. Peter's Prep 20

Old Tappan at Pascack Valley
Old Tappan pulled off the upset last week by beating higher-seeded Sparta, 40-14. But few were surprised, what with the Golden Knights boasting do-everything QB Devin Fuller. Now they have a chance to avenge a season-opening, 30-28 loss to Pascack Valley. The Golden Knights are a much different team now. They're healthier (Fuller has recovered from turf toe and WR John Trainor is back from a collarbone injury) and more confident (five straight wins after a 1-3 start). Still, the Indians have their share of weapons in RB Jordan Roses (909 rushing yards) and have been consistent all year. Should be a good one.
My pick: Old Tappan 31, Pascack Valley 27

Sayreville at South Brunswick
South Brunswick helped establish itself as a legitimate contender by knocking off Sayreville, 14-7, to open the season. Eight straight wins later, the Vikings face Sayreville again under much bigger circumstances. Delon Stephenson has helped Sayreville right the ship after an 0-2 start, but South Brunswick still boasts a strong playmaker in RB Jevon Tyree. Whichever team can eliminate the other from making big plays will be the key to this one.
My pick: South Brunswick 17, Sayreville 14

Red Bank Catholic at Delbarton
After beginning the season 9-0, one of these teams will go with its first loss and nothing to show for a solid year. That's the tragic beauty of the playoffs. Red Bank Catholic is looking to continue its resurgence after winning its first playoff game since 1998. The Delbarton offense is explosive — witnessed by its five occasions of putting up 40-plus points this year — and defense is stingy – evidenced by the 8.7 points per game it's allowed. But the Red Bank Catholic offensive line is imposing, opening holes for talented tailback John DiStefano, who has racked up 1,517 yards and 23 scores this year. Which team will bend and which team will break?
My pick: Delbarton 35, Red Bank Catholic 28



Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

New Jersey football playoffs to get underway

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
5:36
PM ET
It's the most wonderful time of the year for New Jersey football fans: the playoffs. Many storylines abound entering this year's postseason, like:

-Will Bergen Catholic get another crack at upsetting national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep?
-Will Holy Spirit recover and take the Non-Public, Group 2 crown like most predicted to begin the year?
-Will Old Tappan get another crack at a reeling Wayne Hills squad that used a last-second kickoff return to beat the Golden Knights in last year's title game?
-Will St. Joseph (Hamm.) take its dominant season to another level in the playoffs?

As you digest those, among many other intriguing questions surrounding the postseason, here are two games to watch out for in the opening round?

Union at Elizabeth
When these two teams met in the regular season, it proved to be Jamauri Bogan's coming-out party. The Union sophomore tailback carried the ball 50 times for 376 yards and six touchdowns to upset previously undefeated Elizabeth, 43-21. Bogan hasn't slowed down much since their Oct. 14 matchup, meaning the Minutemen D will certainly have to clamp down to avoid the same outcome.
My pick: Union 28, Elizabeth 21

Immaculata at DePaul
DePaul began its season with a loss before winning eight straight. Immaculata won eight straight contests before losing its regular-season finale. In other words, that intangible factor we call "momentum" could come into play in this matchup. Tailback Joe Moreno leads a DePaul offensive attack that put up nearly 42 points per game this year.
My pick: DePaul 30, Immaculata 24

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Wayne Hills, Immaculata fall in final NJ regular season football rankings

November, 7, 2011
11/07/11
2:45
PM ET
For two of the last three weeks, Wayne Hills had survived near upset bids with late rallies. But after falling behind in Friday's contest against St. Joseph (Mont.), there was no such comeback. Behind Spencer Aukamp's four touchdowns, the Green Knights handed Wayne Hills their first loss of the season.

Immaculata also fell for the first time this year. The Spartans' attack took a major hit when quarterback Antonio Najale went down with a shoulder injury in a 37-6 loss to Westfield. Whether the junior will be ready for the upcoming playoffs remains in question.

These outcomes brought some movement in the rankings, as Wayne Hills fell several spots and Immaculata dropped out of the top 10 altogether. Taking its place is Red Bank Catholic, which has put up 45-plus points in three of its last four wins.

Nationally, Don Bosco Prep once again earned all five of the first-place votes in the POWERADE FAB 50 after beating Clifton 56-8 behind Jabrill Peppers' three scores.

With the regular season wrapped up, that'll do it for our rankings until we post our final state rankings following the always wild state playoffs. In the meantime, stay tuned for postseason updates each Monday.

Here are how the final regular season rankings shake out (last week's rankings in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 8-0 (1)
Completed another undefeated regular season with a 56-8 win against Clifton. Jabrill Peppers' three scores helped the Ironmen secure their 43rd straight victory. Now they will look to win their sixth straight state title.

2. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 6-2 (3)
After enduring a brutal regular-season schedule, the Crusaders got some time to rest before entering the playoffs.

3. Montclair 8-0 (4)
Khalif Herbin was at it again, racking up 229 rushing yards and four scores in the first half of the Mounties' 38-0 win against Livingston.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings

Wayne Hills, St. Joseph (Mont.) battle in Week 8 New Jersey football

November, 4, 2011
11/04/11
12:53
PM ET
St. Joseph (Mont.) is in the middle of the octagon. Of course, the No. 9 Green Knights are a football team, not MMA fighters, but with the schedule they have to finish up this season, win or lose, they'll be beyond battle-tested.

Three weeks ago, it was No. 3 Bergen Catholic (a 30-17 loss). Last week, it was a talented Pascack Valley squad (a 42-3 win). And this weekend, it's No. 2 Wayne Hills for the finale.

The Green Knights will look to QB Spencer Aukamp, who has shown great athleticism from the pocket while totaling 13 touchdowns this year, and his favorite target in Ricky Jeune (five touchdowns) to lead an offensive attack that will need to be explosive to keep up with Wayne Hills.

After almost literally playing lights-out football in their first five games by outscoring opponents 185-7, the Patriots have survived upset bids from Ramapo and Ridgewood in the last three weeks. The Green Knights definitely provide their biggest test to date, meaning key players like QB Kevin Olsen (932 pass yards, 16 TDs) and WR/KR Andrew Monahan (11 total TDs) will have to step up even more.

But since the offenses for both teams are proven, defensive play will be the X-factor in this contest. In the Patriots' two close contests, the opponent hung with them early by shutting down their offense. Likewise, in the Green Knights' lone loss, they had to play keep-up after falling behind early.
My pick: Wayne Hills 28, St. Joseph (Mont.) 27

Sayreville vs. Piscataway
After a slow start, both of these teams ride into this matchup on lengthy win streaks. There have been some classic battles since these two started playing in 1995, as chronicled in this Star-Ledger story. I don't expect anything less in this year's bout.
My pick: Sayreville 17, Piscataway 14

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
As the playoffs draw near, the state's top teams will get no mercy when it comes to their opponents — many of which are trying to claw their way into the postseason.

No. 2 Wayne Hills found this out, as it needed two late touchdowns from Christian Rodriguez to secure a come-from-behind 31-24 win against Ramapo. Same went for No. 3 Bergen Catholic. Down 10-7 at the half, the Crusaders turned to their emerging star in QB Jonathan Germano, who scored three second-half touchdowns in a 28-17 win.

Granted, Don Bosco Prep was immune from such an upset bid. The Ironmen easily downed a tough Paramus Catholic squad, 45-0 to maintain their top spot in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's state rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 7-0 (1)
Jabrill Peppers and Elijah Shumate each scored on kick returns in the Ironmen's 45-0 win against Paramus Catholic. Next up: Clifton.

2. Wayne Hills 8-0 (2)
Christian Rodriguez scored two touchdowns to help the Patriots avoid an upset in a 31-24 win against Ramapo. Next up: No. 9 St. Joseph (Mont.).

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 6-2 (3)
The Crusaders overcame a three-point halftime deficit to beat St. Peter's Prep, 28-17, behind Jonathan Germano's three second-half touchdowns. They will now get to rest until the playoffs begin on Nov. 11-12.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings

St. Peter's Prep looks for big win in Week 7 New Jersey football

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
2:16
PM ET
Two losses marked the start of the season for a St. Peter's Prep not accustomed to losing that often. Granted, defeat came at the hands of talented opponent in Montclair and St. Joseph (Mont.), but the Marauders have righted the ship since then, winning their last five games in convincing fashion.

This weekend, though, the Marauders (5-2) will be back in deep waters, as No. 3 Bergen Catholic (5-2) comes to town. The Crusaders have been surging of late behind the play of QB Jonathan Germano (1,421 yards, 18 scores) and WR John Tsimis, and nearly knocked off national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep a few weeks back.

St. Peter's Prep has its own offensive one-two punch in QB Brandon Napoleon, a West Virginia commit, and WR Jared Crayton, who has 14 touchdowns in the last six games.

The difference is likely to be Bergen Catholic's big-game experience and success, as well as the Crusaders' stingy defense. Still, the Marauders should prove competitive in a contest that could serve as a preview of a future playoff matchup.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 27, St. Peter's Prep 20

No. 7 Immaculata (7-0) vs Elizabeth (6-1)
Both teams are looking to gain some important ground in the Mid-State 39 conference race this weekend. Immaculata has quietly moved up the rankings, but Elizabeth possesses a playmaking threat in tailback Elijah Hughes, who had three scores last week. The Minutemen defense will need an effort similar to last week's win against Plainfield, when they forced seven turnovers.
UPSET ALERT: Elizabeth 20, Immaculata, 17

No. 9 St. Joseph (Mont.) (5-1) vs. Pascack Valley (7-0)
After falling to Bergen Catholic two weeks ago, St. Joseph (Mont.) returns from its bye week to face an emerging Pascack Valley squad. Bent on returning to their winning ways, the Green Knights figure to be hard to stop in this Saturday matchup behind running back Javari Garvin and quarterback Spencer Aukamp.
My pick: St. Joseph (Mont.) 35, Pascack Valley 24

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

Montclair rises up, Holy Spirit drops out of Week 7 NJ football rankings

October, 24, 2011
10/24/11
12:58
PM ET
Results as of Sunday, Oct. 23

For three years, Montclair had come up short against rival East Orange, but with Khalif Herbin lighting up the scoreboard during an undefeated start, the Mounties figured this year could be different.

Boy, were they right. Behind Herbin's 207 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Mounties easily beat East Orange, 35-7, this past Saturday. The big win moved the Mounties up to No. 4 while pushing the Jaguars to the opposite edge of the rankings at No. 10.

Holy Spirit also stumbled, falling to an emerging Hammonton squad, 37-14, for its second loss of the season. The defeat furthers a tough season for the Spartans, who forfeited their first game due to an ineligible player, lost 34-7 to rival St. Joseph (Mont.) and have now fallen out of the top 10.

Taking their spot is Delbarton, which has beaten its opponents by an average of nearly four touchdowns after shutting out West Morris Mendham, 35-0.

Nationally -- you guessed it — Don Bosco Prep remained at No. 1, earning all five first-place votes in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here are this week's rankings (last week's rankings are in parentheses):

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 6-0 (1)
Ironmen didn't mess a beat after their bye week, easily beating Passaic Tech by the score of 63-15. Next up: Paramus Catholic.

2. Wayne Hills 7-0 (2)
After a close win last week, the Patriots earned their fourth shutout of the season in a 49-0 victory against Bergen Tech. Next up: Ramapo.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 5-2 (3)
Quarterback Jonathan Germano totaled four touchdowns in a 54-0 win against Paterson Eastside. Next up: 5-2 St. Peter's Prep.

Click here for full POWERADE weekly New Jersey football rankings
Leading up to this Saturday's matchup, East Orange (6-0) and Montclair (5-0) have racked up a handful of impressive stats.

There's the 819 rushing yards and 18 scores on just 59 carries by Montclair's Khalif Herbin. There's the 5.8 points per game allowed by East Orange's stingy defense this season. And there's the undefeated records that both highly ranked teams boast. But in a contest like this, it's probably best to throw out the numbers.

Whether Herbin can break loose against the East Orange defense is the big storyline here. Last year, the Jaguars limited the back to 156 total yards in a 28-14 win. But this isn't the same Mounties squad. Herbin is much improved, as is a defense that's coming off a 49-0 shutout of Belleville.

East Orange boasts its own explosive backfield in Najee Williams, Rammel Tisdale and Shamier Moon, who each topped 100 yards in last week's 56-21 victory against Bloomfield. Whether they can get going again will also be key to the outcome.

These teams are so evenly matched that it could come down to something as simple as homefield advantage, which Montclair holds this year.
UPSET ALERT: Montclair 38, East Orange 35

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.
BRONX, N.Y. — The Don Bosco Prep football train just keeps rolling along, as the Ironmen, who are ranked No. 1 in both the POWERADE FAB 50 ESPNHS Team Rankings and the POWERADE New Jersey weekly football rankings, rolled to a 38-7 win over POWERADE FAB 50 No. 6 St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio) on Saturday night at Fordham University.

Sophomore running back Jabrill Peppers led the way with three touchdown runs, while the Ironmen's stout defense stymied the Eagles' potent offensive attack all evening.

You can read more about the game here.

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