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 firstname.lastname@example.org.