Monday, November 21, 2011
State title games set for the gridiron
By By Brandon Parker
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 email@example.com.