High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Montclair

N.J. Week 8 POWERADE baseball rankings: Upsets galore

May, 30, 2012
After games on Saturday, May 26

This past week was unkind to a number of ranked teams and strong contenders for the state title. Jackson, Westfield, Ramapo, Washington Township, Middlesex, Wall, Millville, Notre Dame and Montclair all saw their seasons come to a stunning end, while Sayreville needed extra innings to survive its matchup with Phillipsburg.

Don Bosco Prep held on to the top spot after cruising to a second straight Bergen County Tournament title, which pushed them to No. 39 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

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

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 21-3 (1)
Ironmen shut out Paramus 9-0 to secure their second straight Bergen County Tournament title. Next up: Pope John.

2. Seton Hall Prep (West Orange) 22-3 (3)
Pirates lost to Nutley. Will open play in state tournament against Bergen Catholic.

3. Gloucester Catholic 21-4 (4)
Rams beat Kingsway, Holy Spirit and Buena to enter state playoff matchup against Holy Cross on five-game win streak.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey baseball rankings

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

December, 5, 2011
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

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

November, 7, 2011
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

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

October, 28, 2011
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
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.

Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley renew rivalry in Week 3 NJ football

September, 23, 2011
About this time last year, Passaic County rivals Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley each brought 2-0 records into their annual clash with Wayne Hills as the favorite. But the Patriots got a scare, falling behind 10-7 early before clawing back for a 21-6 victory. Some weeks later, the two met again and the Patriots again took care of business, winning 48-0 en route to the North 1, Group 3 sectional championship.

All of that is certainly not lost on either team as they face off in similar circumstances tonight. Wayne Valley is seeking revenge while No. 4 Wayne Hills is looking to continue its dominance. The Indians will lean on the home crowd as well as tailbacks Alesandro Trani and Anthony Lanberg, but their defense will be key. Patriots wideout Andrew Monahan scored three times one quarter last week and leads an offense that's outscored opponents 72-7 in two games.
My pick: Wayne Hills 31, Wayne Valley 17

No. 8 Montclair (2-0) at Seton Hall Prep (1-1)
The Pirates' task against Montclair is simple: Stop Khalif Herbin. If only that were easier done than said. The dual-threat back has already scored eleven touchdowns and topped 500 yards rushing during the Mounties' quick start. Plus, on defense All-State lineman Julian Pinnix-Odrick will be pursuing Pirates QB Sean Maguire. No small task, but if anything the Pirates can try to match the Mounties on the scoreboard.
My pick: Montclair 35, Seton Hall Prep 24

Linden (0-1) at Elizabeth (2-0)
The Tigers have had a week to regroup after falling to a strong Hunterdon Central squad in the opener. Running back Ruhann Peele makes Linden a threat to score on almost every play, but Elizabeth will have some say in that. After losing by 29 points to the Tigers last season, Elizabeth looks like a formidable opponent, led by quarterback P.J. Walker (660 passing yards, seven TDs). Plus, the Minutemen are fresh off a win against the very squad that beat Linden, which is why I think this year's contest will have a happier ending for Elizabeth.
My pick: Elizabeth 24, Linden 17

Timber Creek (2-0) at Moorestown (2-0)
In two wins this season, Moorestown has displayed a balanced attack. Quarterback Andrew Lisa has looked solid (450 yards, four scores, no picks), tailback Delaney Wallace has reached the end zone four times and five players have caught at least two passes this year. But that all will be tested against a Timber Creek defense that features highly touted LB Quanzell Lambert as well as lineman Greg Webb. This one should go down to the wire, but I think Timber Creek's defense makes the difference.
My pick: Timber Creek 17, Moorestown 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.

Pollock, Tyree reach new heights on the gridiron

September, 21, 2011
In this week's New Jersey All-State Football Stock Watch, we zero in on a tailback who makes 200-yard games a habit as well as a two-way starter who has his team climbing up the rankings.

UP — Donta Pollock, Holy Spirit RB
We all knew Pollock was good. Rushing for 1,878 yards as a junior made that pretty clear. But the senior has upped the ante this season, totaling 436 yards and five touchdowns through two games for the Spartans. Next up for Holy Spirit is Bridgeton before facing a major showdown with powerhouse St. Joseph (Hamm.). Until then, check out this video to see just how dominant Pollock has been.

DOWN — D.J. Singleton, St. Peter's Prep LB
It's been a long and surprising first two weeks for Singleton and the Marauders defense, to say the least. In losses to Montclair and St. Joseph (Mont.), the Marauders have given up 92 points, raising questions about a team that was thought to be one of the state's best. Of course, all the blame doesn't fall on Singleton, a Wisconsin commit, and the Marauders first two opponents were top-10 teams. So while an 0-2 start is never good, it's quite time to panic for a team with enough talent to make a turnaround.

UP — Devon Tyree, South Brunswick RB/DB
When South Brunswick beat Sayreville in the opener, it was impressive but not everybody was drinking the Kool-Aid. But following a 28-7 defeat of another sectional champ in Piscataway, it's clear the Vikings are for real. Count Tyree as a big reason why. On offense, he's rushed for touchdowns in each win, including the decisive score last week. On defense, the senior has intercepted two passes, picking off third-quarter pass last week to completely swing the game in the Vikings favor against Piscataway.

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.

South Brunswick debuts, Piscataway falls in Week 2 NJ rankings

September, 19, 2011
It was a big weekend for New Jersey schools, as Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic traveled Florida with hopes of increasing the Garden State's national profile. And although only the No. 1 Ironmen pulled out a 22-16 win against Manatee (BC fell 12-7 to Plant), both schools represented well in the two defensive struggles.

South Brunswick shot to the No. 10 spot after beating their second straight ranked opponent, this time defending sectional champ Piscataway, 28-7. Meanwhile, Montclair continued its strong start behind speed demon Khalif Herben's five touchdowns in a 48-24 win against West Orange.

On the national front, Don Bosco strengthened its hold on the top spot and Holy Spirit maintained its No. 45 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Here's how the state rankings shake out after Week 2:

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 2-0 (1)
Ironmen showed their resilience in 22-16 comeback victory against nationally ranked Manatee (Fla.) on the road. The nation's top squad will put its 37-game win streak on the line against 1-0 Ridgewood this Friday.

2. Holy Spirit (Absecon) 2-0* (2)
Despite having to forfeit last week's win due to an ineligible player, the Spartans didn't miss a beat, riding Donta Pollock's 235 rushing yards and three scores to a 42-14 win. A road contest against Bridgeton is on slate this week. (*does not include forfeits)

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 1-1 (3)
The Crusaders lost a tough one to Plant (Fla.) by the count of 12-7, but between their solid effort against a power program and Piscataway's loss, BC stands pat in the rankings. Next up: Teaneck.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey rankings.

Don Bosco Prep, Bergen Catholic take on Florida powers

September, 16, 2011
To say the least, New Jersey powers Don Bosco Prep and Bergen Catholic are pulling no shots when it comes to establishing their national profile.

Last week, Don Bosco, the nation's top-ranked team, took care of business against No. 6 Mission Viejo (Calif.), letting loose its ferocious defense in a 35-7 win. Bergen Catholic, meanwhile, handily defeated a solid La Salle College (Pa.) team, 41-17.

This week, both of the programs travel south to Florida with hopes of throwing some shade on two Sunshine powers.

(Shameless plug: I'll be on 1050 ESPN Radio NY tonight around 11:15 p.m., talking Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic and more football on the High School GameNight show. Check it out if it's not past your bedtime.)

No. 1* Don Bosco Prep (1-0) at No. 19* Manatee (Fla.) (1-1) (*national rankings)
One streak will end after these two meet in a huge Friday matchup. Don Bosco has won 36 straight games, but Manatee hasn't lost a home game since Oct. 30, 2009.
The Ironmen enter as the favorite, boasting a very balanced attack. John Wilkins and Jabrill Peppers (183 rushing yards and four touchdowns) lead the offense while a wealth of D-1 recruits anchor a nasty defense. Plus, the Ironmen easily handled their last nationally ranked opponent, while Manatee lost a double-overtime contest to No. 9 Good Counsel (Washington, D.C.) in its opener.
Earning a win in Manatee's house is no easy task, but should the Ironmen defense be able to pressure quarterback Cord Sanberg like they did Mission Viejo's Alex Bridgord (four interceptions, six sacks), it could be a long night for the Hurricanes.
My pick: Don Bosco 28, Manatee 17

No. 48* Bergen Catholic (1-0) at Plant (Fla.) (2-0) (*national ranking)
In the second game of the doubleheader at Hawkins Stadium in Bradenton, Fla. Bergen Catholic coach Nunzio Campanile admitted to me before the season that the Crusaders had graduated some key players, but he likes their depth. This much was clear in their 41-17 opening win. In his first varsity start, junior Jonathan Germano tore apart the Explorers' defense with 315 passing yards and five total touchdowns. The Crusaders' defense, which has nine returning starters, also looked stout. But again, playing in a big atmosphere on the road isn't easy, especially for the second straight week.
Plant is led by quarterback James Few, who had three touchdowns in last week's 36-6 win against Hillsborough (Fla.). Like the Don Bosco-Manatee contest, defense will be key for the New Jersey side, as the Crusaders hope to give their offense enough breathing room to break out early on.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 31, Plant 21

No. 6 St. Joseph (Mont.) at No. 10 St. Peter's Prep
This should be a good one. St. Peter's Prep looks to bounce back after a wild 43-41 loss to Montclair, but it won't be easy against an always tough St. Joseph (Mont.) squad. There's no doubt the Marauders can score with Brandon Napoleon under center; the question is can they do so against a solid St. Joseph defense.
My pick: St. Joseph (Mont.) 31, St. Peter's Prep 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.

Montclair moves into rankings after wild win in opener

September, 13, 2011
What was expected to be the most competitive game of the weekend turned out to be a snoozer (a 35-7 win against California's Mission Viejo), giving way to a thriller between Montclair and St. Peter's Prep.

Five-foot-seven Khalif Herbin came up big for Montclair, accumulating 212 rushing yards and five touchdowns to lead the Mounties to a 41-43 comeback win against the Marauders. Senior quarterback Brandon Napoleon served as St. Peter's Prep's sparkplug, tossing four touchdowns and 279 passing yards. Napoleon's last two scores pulled the Marauders within two points, but Herbin proved too much, scampering for his final score with 2:19 remaining to make the difference.

Meanwhile, Sayreville lost a shocker to South Brunswick, 14-7, knocking them out of the top 10. On the national front, Holy Spirit and Bergen Catholic both joined Don Bosco Prep in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Check out how these developments affected the season's first state rankings:

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 1-0 (1)
Made bold statement in opener with a 35-7 victory against Mission Viejo (Calif.), the nation's No. 6 team. It doesn't get much easier this week, as the Ironmen travel to face Manatee (Fla.).

2. Holy Spirit (Absecon) 1-0* (2)
Took over No. 45 spot in the nation after easy 41-16 win against Oakcrest, but had to forfeit win for using an academically ineligible player. Still, the Spartans were too dominant to move down in the rankings. Next up: Absegami. (*Does not include forfeits)

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 1-0 (3)
Crusaders easily downed a solid La Salle College (Pa.) squad, 41-17. Will continue out-of-state bouts with matchup at Plant (Fla.) on Friday.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly state rankings

Don Bosco Prep football faces big test in opener

September, 9, 2011
For weeks, we've talked about the juggernaut that is Don Bosco Prep's football game. Four straight state titles. 35 consecutive wins. No. 1 ranking in the POWERADE FAB 50.

This weekend, the curtain will finally be raised on the Ironmen and the Jersey football scene.

Don Bosco is waiting no time proving its worth as the nation's top team as it hosts No. 6 Mission Viejo (Calif.), a program that's produced the likes of Jets QB Mark Sanchez. This year's quarterback, Alex Bridgford, looked solid in the Diablos' opener, passing for four touchdowns. But the Ironmen defense present quite the challenge for Bridgford.

From lineman Darius Hamilton and Mike Strizak to defensive backs Elijah Shumate, Yuri Wright and Jabrill Peppers, the Ironmen have the potential to lock down any and every opponent that comes their way. (Good thing, too, judging by the monster schedule Don Bosco has this season).

The X-factor could be Ironmen quarterback Mike Yankovich. The senior replaces two-year starter Gary Nova, who is now at Rutgers. Yankovich has a good target in All-State wideout Leonte Carroo, but he certainly has little time for growing pains with a squad like Mission Viejo coming to town.
Prediction: Don Bosco 28, Mission Viejo 24

No. 5 St. Peter's Prep vs. Montclair at Rutgers
This matchup serves as the biggest in-state matchup, as there's plenty of star power on both sides. St. Peter's Prep has the experience edge, boasting senior quarterback Brandon Napoleon (West Virginia commit) and tight end Michael Giacone (Rutgers). In pursuit of Napolen will be All-State defensive lineman Julian Pinnix-Odrick, who had 82 tackles and 10 sacks last season.
Prediction: St. Peter's Prep 35, Montclair 21

Hammonton at Mainland Regional
It will be quite the emotional weekend for Mainland Regional's football team. Not only is the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 sure to be heavy on some minds, but this will mark the first game played by the Mustangs since losing four teammates in a tragic car crash in August.

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.