High-SchoolNew-Jersey: St. Joseph (Mont.)

N.J. Week 4 POWERADE baseball rankings

May, 2, 2012
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 3 POWERADE baseball rankings: Steinert enters the fray

April, 25, 2012
After games on Saturday, April 21

As was the case last year, Gloucester Catholic has been dominant against in-state competition this year. The Rams showed this much by beating six teams in five days last week to push their record to 13-2, tighten their hold on the top spot in N.J. and move up to No. 27 in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Still, in a state deep with talent, the Rams and other top 10 teams must watch out for those upstart squads. Previously undefeated Wall learned this much when Steinert handed the Crimson Knights their first loss of the season. Steinert now sits at 12-0.

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

1. Gloucester Catholic 13-2 (1)
Rams are undefeated against Garden State foes and won six games in five days last week.

2. St. Joseph (Montvale) 13-0 (2)
Have put up 10 or more runs in four of their last five games.

3. Steinert (Hamilton) 12-0 (NR)
Knocked off previously undefeated Wall to move into the rankings.

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

N.J. Week 2 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 17, 2012
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.

N.J. Week 1 POWERADE baseball rankings

April, 11, 2012
After games on Sunday, April 7

The very early part of this baseball season has brought much of the same along with a bit of change. Gloucester Catholic picked up right where it left off last season, winning its first four games by a combined margin of 60-1. Led by Brett Tenuto's average of .800, three players are batting above .700 for the No. 34 team in the POWERADE FAB 50.

Things haven't been so fortunate for Don Bosco Prep. At 2-2, the Ironmen have already lost more games than last year's 24-1 campaign. To be fair, though, the two losses came against No. 2 St. Joseph (Mont.) and Maryland power Calvert Hall.

Here are this week's rankings (preseason rankings):

1. Gloucester Catholic 4-0 (2)
Rams picked up where they left off last year, outscoring four foes 60-1.

2. St. Joseph (Montvale) 4-0 (NR)
Along with knocking off preseason favorite Don Bosco Prep, the Green Knights have been on a tear at the plate, recording more than eight runs per game.

3. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey) 2-2 (1)
Ironmen have already lost more games than they did all of last season, but the defeats have come against No. 2 St. Joseph (Mont.) and Maryland power Calvert Hall.

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

New Jersey football championships preview

December, 2, 2011
There will be championships galore across the Garden State this weekend. Here are five contests to keep a close eye on:

Don Bosco Prep vs. Bergen Catholic
We've seen this before in last year's Non-Public, Group 4 title game and about two months ago. And even though Don Bosco has won both matchups (along with its last 45 games overall and the last five titles), we all want to see this one again. Bergen Catholic gave the Ironmen their greatest challenge this year, bringing a lead into the fourth quarter before falling 33-22 behind late turnovers. The Crusaders have seen great growth since then, as QB Jon Germano has emerged as a big-time passer while the defense continues to be solid. Thing is, with each passing week, the Ironmen seem to get better and find a different playmaker. Plus, while both teams beat St. Joseph (Mont.) and Paramus Catholic, the Ironmen did so in a much more convincing manner behind its suffocating defense. Regardless, this one should be another classic.
My pick: Don Bosco Prep 34, Bergen Catholic 30

Wayne Hills vs. Old Tappan
Here's another rematch of last year's North Jersey Section 1, Group 3 final, when Wayne Hills ran back a kick return for the decisive TD in the final minute. This year's tilt could be just as thrilling with offensive firepower at a plenty. Wayne Hills boasts talented junior QB Kevin Olsen and do-everything player Andrew Monahan, who is expected to play despite being charged with assault a few weeks back. For Old Tappan, arguably the state's top offensive prospect in Devin Fuller makes the Golden Knights a threat to score on every play.
My pick: Old Tappan 28, Wayne Hills 27

Elizabeth vs. Piscataway
At the start of the year, most wondered what was wrong with Piscataway, as the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 4 champs lost two of their first three games. But the Chiefs have recovered in a major, letting loose an aggressive defensive attack that's produced five shutouts this year. The Chiefs are also explosive on offense behind QB Nadir Barnwell. Elizabeth doesn't have Piscataway's size, but it has the talent and speed, anchored by RB Elijah Hughes (21 touchdowns).
My pick: Piscataway 31, Elizabeth 24

Summit vs. Madison
It's been 24 games since Madison lost a game. The last one? A 23-14 playoff defeat at the hands of Summit. Of course, the defending North Jersey Section 2, Group 2 champs would like nothing more than to avenge that loss, but that will be easier said than done. Summit's offense has been nearly unstoppable this year, averaging 43 points a game during its 11-0 campaign. Madison has the defensive ability to thwart such an attack, though, as the Dodgers have given up less than 10 points per game and shut out their last two opponents. Which unit will bend in this intense matchup?
My pick: Madison 27, Summit 20

St. Joseph (Mont.) vs. Delbarton
Never mind St. Joseph's blowout loss to Don Bosco Prep. It's a new week and the Non-Public, Group 3 championship is at stake. But the Green Knights' foe this weekend is also formidable in 11-0 Delbarton. The Green Wave's defense has been stifling this year, barely allowing 11 points per game. Likewise, the offense has been solid behind RB Jamie White (1,334 yards and seven scores). On the other side, St. Joseph is certainly battle-tested, facing the likes to Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep this year. Take away those two losses and the Green Knights have given up just 81 points in nine wins. But while Delbarton might not be of the caliber of the top two teams in the state, its firepower and success could be too much for the Green Knights.
My pick: Delbarton 27, St. Joseph (Mont.) 23

Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHS.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at brandon.c.parker@espn.com.

State title games set for the gridiron

November, 21, 2011
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.

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

Wayne Hills, St. Joseph (Mont.) battle in Week 8 New Jersey football

November, 4, 2011
St. Joseph (Mont.) is in the middle of the octagon. Of course, the No. 9 Green Knights are a football team, not MMA fighters, but with the schedule they have to finish up this season, win or lose, they'll be beyond battle-tested.

Three weeks ago, it was No. 3 Bergen Catholic (a 30-17 loss). Last week, it was a talented Pascack Valley squad (a 42-3 win). And this weekend, it's No. 2 Wayne Hills for the finale.

The Green Knights will look to QB Spencer Aukamp, who has shown great athleticism from the pocket while totaling 13 touchdowns this year, and his favorite target in Ricky Jeune (five touchdowns) to lead an offensive attack that will need to be explosive to keep up with Wayne Hills.

After almost literally playing lights-out football in their first five games by outscoring opponents 185-7, the Patriots have survived upset bids from Ramapo and Ridgewood in the last three weeks. The Green Knights definitely provide their biggest test to date, meaning key players like QB Kevin Olsen (932 pass yards, 16 TDs) and WR/KR Andrew Monahan (11 total TDs) will have to step up even more.

But since the offenses for both teams are proven, defensive play will be the X-factor in this contest. In the Patriots' two close contests, the opponent hung with them early by shutting down their offense. Likewise, in the Green Knights' lone loss, they had to play keep-up after falling behind early.
My pick: Wayne Hills 28, St. Joseph (Mont.) 27

Sayreville vs. Piscataway
After a slow start, both of these teams ride into this matchup on lengthy win streaks. There have been some classic battles since these two started playing in 1995, as chronicled in this Star-Ledger story. I don't expect anything less in this year's bout.
My pick: Sayreville 17, Piscataway 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.

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
After facing Don Bosco Prep and Friendship Academy (Washington, D.C.) in consecutive weeks, the road doesn't get any easier for No. 3 Bergen Catholic, as it takes on No. 6 St. Joseph (Mont.).

The Crusaders are 3-2, but have held their own throughout their tough slate, nearly knocking off Don Bosco and Plant (Fla.) while putting together a comeback win against Friendship. Jonathan Germano is really coming into his own at quarterback (five touchdowns last week) and John Tsimis has been a beast of late at receiver.

Still, they will be going up against an equally explosive offense in the Green Knights. Led by running back Jabari Garvin, St. Joseph has hung at least 34 points on all of its opponents and won by an average margin of 30 points during a 5-0 start.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 24, St. Joseph (Mont.) 21

Woodbridge (4-1) at Sayreville (4-2)
This is a very intriguing matchup for several reasons. For one, Woodbridge is just coming off a near-upset of South Brunswick (a last-minute touchdown and red zone stop made the difference) while Sayreville narrowly lost to the same team in its opener. Also, Sayreville, which began the season ranked in the top 10 but dropped out after losing its first two games, appears to have found its rhythm. The Bombers have won their last four by a combined margin of 126-26. With these two arcs colliding, it should be a good one.
My pick: Woodbridge 28, Sayreville 27

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.
Results as of Saturday, Oct. 8

As I said on Twitter this weekend, if you're the No. 6 team in the POWERADE FAB 50, it's best to avoid Don Bosco Prep. Before it was Mission Viejo (Calif.) that fell 35-7 to the top-ranked Ironmen. This past weekend, it was St. Edward (Ohio) that lost 38-7 to Don Bosco Prep in surprising fashion.

Granted, even though the Ironmen have proven to be on another level, they weren't the only Jersey teams who found success this past week. Bergen Catholic showed its resolve in a 48-26 comeback victory against a solid Friendship (Washington, D.C.) team. Likewise, Wayne Hills and East Orange put together shutout victories (again).

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

1. Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, N.J.) 5-0 (1)
The Ironmen flexed their muscles as the nation's top-ranked team, easily beating St. Edward (Ohio), 38-7. With their out-of-state slate behind them, the Ironmen will finish out the season with Jersey squads. Following a much-needed bye week, they will face Passaic Tech on Oct. 21.

2. Wayne Hills 4-0 (2)
Another week, another shutout for the Patriots. This time around, they blanked Paramus 38-0 behind three touchdowns by Kevin Olsen. Next up: Ridgewood.

3. Bergen Catholic (Oradell) 3-2 (3)
The Crusaders beat their second out-of-state squad of the year, downing Friendship (Washington D.C.) 48-26 behind Jon Germano's five touchdowns. The schedule doesn't get any easier, as a matchup with No. 6 St. Joseph (Mont.) is next.

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

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.

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.