High-SchoolNew-Jersey: Red Bank Catholic

N.J. Week 4 POWERADE baseball rankings

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
12:32
PM ET
After games on Saturday, April 28

Going undefeated is far from an easy task in baseball, so it's no surprise (or no reason to panic) that contenders like St. Joseph (Mont.) and Red Bank Catholic took "Ls" this past week. The key is hitting their right stride in the conference tournaments, which begin this week, before the real postseason starts.

One big matchup to look forward to this week comes Sunday, when No. 1 Gloucester Catholic, ranked 27th in the POWERADE FAB 50, takes on No. 4 Don Bosco Prep in what could very well be a preview of the Non-Public A championship.

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

1. Gloucester Catholic 13-2 (1)
After an idle week, the Rams have a date with No. 4 Don Bosco Prep in a potential preview of the Non-Public A title game.

2. Jackson 13-1 (7)
Went undefeated in four games last week to emerge as the top Group 4 team as conference tournament play begins.

3. Seton Hall Prep 14-1 (8)
Pirates are rolling behind the consistent pitching of Mike Sheppard III (36 strikeouts) and Bobby Morgenroth (4-0, 1.84 ERA). Mike's dad and the Pirates coach, Mike Sheppard Jr., celebrated his 600th career victory Monday after the Pirates beat Bloomfield 12-2.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey baseball rankings.

N.J. Week 2 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 17, 2012
4/17/12
5:28
PM ET
After games on Saturday, April 14

Gloucester Catholic coach Dennis Barth told me before the season that there would be nothing easy about the Bishop Gorman Easter Tournament. Last year, the Rams suffered one of their two losses on the season to Bishop Gorman, but the fruit reaped from facing this tough competition showed in the Rams' dominance of the rest of their schedule.

Last week, the Rams again lost to Bishop Gorman, this time in the title game. They also fell to Bishop Minogue (Nev.), but with seven players hitting .400 or better and ace Mike Shawaryn shining on the mound, there's no reason to panic. They also still remain in the POWERADE FAB 50 at No. 36.

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

1. Gloucester Catholic 7-2 (1)
Reached the Bishop Gorman Easter Tournament in Nevada, but lost two games along the way to FAB No. 9 Bishop Gorman (Nev.) and Bishop Minogue (Nev.).

2. St. Joseph (Montvale) 9-0 (2)
Green Knights continue hot start, beating their first nine opponents by an average margin of seven runs.

3. Red Bank Catholic 5-0 (4)
Caseys scored six runs in the final two innings to rally for a 7-5 win against Freehold Borough and remain undefeated.

Click here for the full POWERADE weekly New Jersey baseball rankings.

State title games set for the gridiron

November, 21, 2011
11/21/11
3:19
PM ET
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.

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

Neptune's Jazzmar Clax ruled eligible

September, 15, 2011
9/15/11
3:56
PM ET
Holy Spirit isn't the only New Jersey football program with eligibility news. On the same day it was revealed the Spartans had to forfeit its opening win for using an academically ineligible player, Neptune's Jazzmar Clax was ruled eligible after missing last week's contest.

The All-State senior LB/FB, who transferred from Freehold Borough this year, sat out Neptune's 28-7 victory last Friday against Bishop Ahr because Freehold had not yet signed off on Clax's transfer, according to this Star-Ledger report. But following a NJSIAA ruling on Wednesday, Clax is immediately eligible to play this Friday's contest against Red Bank Catholic.

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.

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