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 firstname.lastname@example.org.