11 Union County football teams in this weekend’s opening playoffs; Undefeated Cranford, Brearley squads seek to extend winning streaks

PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI - Which Union County football teams will advance in opening round play?
PHOTO BY JR PARACHINI – Which Union County football teams will advance in opening round play?

Eleven got in.

How many will get out?

Union County is well represented in playoff football that commences this weekend.

Eleven of the 17 football playing schools in Union County qualified.

Last week I wrote that nine would get in.

Rahway and Roselle also snuck in as eighth seeds in their sections – the Indians making the grade in Central Jersey, Group 3 for the first time and Roselle in Central Jersey, Group 2 for the second straight season.

Cranford is the top seed for the second straight season in North 2, Group 3 and is also 9-0 for a second straight perfect regular season.

After two blowout wins at home in the playoffs a year ago, the Cougars were upset by Parsippany Hills 20-13 in the N2, G3 final at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, finishing 11-1.

Cranford, with the most points of any Union County team at 361 (40.11 average) has unfinished business this year for sure. The Cougars, who repeated as the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Raritan Division champion, seek to capture the section for the second time in five seasons.

Brearley is 9-0 and the top seed in North 2, Group 1 both for the first time since 2008. The Bears just defeated a 7-0 New Providence team 27-19 at home last Friday night to capture their first Valley Division crown.

Brearley head coach Scott Miller is one win away from obtaining victory No. 100. This is his 14th season at the helm of the Bears.

Westfield is 8-0 for the first time in a long time and for the first time under the guidance of 10th-year head coach Jim DeSarno. The Blue Devils have won seven of their eight games by double digits and have yielded the least amount of points of any Union County team – 62 for a 7.75 average.

Westfield is the second seed in North 2, Group 5. Last year the Blue Devils lost at eventual champion Linden 14-6 in the semifinals, shutting out the Tigers in the second half.

Also making the grade in North 2, Group 5 were 2012 champion Elizabeth and 2013 finalist Union.

Roselle Park is in the North 2, Group 1 playoffs for the third time in four years under fourth-year head coach Terry Hanratty.

Summit, in its first year in the section, qualified in North 2, Group 4. The Hilltoppers have won four playoff championships each in North 2, Group 3 and North 2, Group 2.

Johnson has won five straight and is in the Central Jersey, Group 2 field for the second straight season under second-year head coach Anthony DelConte.

New Providence, in its first year in the section, made the grade in Central Jersey, Group 2.

There are 10 opening round games this weekend involving the 11 Union County teams that made the playoffs.

The only common one is fourth-seeded New Providence (7-1) hosting fifth-seeded Johnson (5-3) Friday night at 7 at Lieder Field.

 

PLAYOFF NOTES:

 

-Roselle (3-5) had one power point more than 6-2 Metuchen.

 

-Roselle beat a Group 4 school in Summit and a Group 3 school in Rahway, which was huge for the Rams.

 

-Friday night’s 33-26 win at Bernards enabled the Rams to edge Metuchen.

 

-Metuchen lost at Spotswood 27-24 Saturday. Spotswood got the seventh seed, two points ahead of Roselle.

 

-Metuchen is the only team in the entire state to not have enough power points to qualify at 6-2 in their section.

 

-In 2010, Linden – in N2, G4 – and Delaware Valley – in CJ, G2 – did not make it with 6-2 records.

 

-Four 5-3 teams did not qualify in North 1, Group 1 this year.

 

-In CJ, G3, Rahway had six more power points than 4-4 Monmouth and 10 more than 4-4 Ewing.

 

-Saturday’s 21-20 win at Gov. Livingston was a big part of deciding factor for Rahway.

 

LOOKING BACK – Roselle defeated visiting Rahway 7-0 in the season-opener for both back on Sept. 12. Roselle committed seven turnovers and Rahway three. Both went on to produce sub-.500 records for their first eight games – each going 3-5 – yet both somehow still managed to qualify for the playoffs as the eighth and final seeds in their sections.

 

 

HERE’S A LOOK AT THE 6 PLAYOFF SECTIONS

INVOLVING UNION COUNTY FOOTBALL TEAMS

 

NORTH 2, GROUP 5:

Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

8-East Orange Campus (3-5) at 1-Bridgewater-Raritan (9-0)

5-Ridge (5-4) at 4-Elizabeth (7-2)

Saturday, Nov. 14, 1 p.m.

7-Columbia (5-4) at 2-Westfield (8-0)

6-Union (4-4) at 3-Piscataway (6-2)

* Elizabeth reached the final last year, while defending champion

Linden did not return. Westfield, sparked by senior running back

Jack Curry, is 8-0 for the first time in a long time and for the

first time under 10th-year head coach Jim DeSarno. Union, which

did not qualify last year after reaching the final in 2013, played

BR and Elizabeth tough, losing at BR 13-7 and at Elizabeth 10-7.

Union and Westfield did not face each other last year and this year.

BR won the Mid-State 38 Conference’s Delaware Division title.

Westfield is a win at home over Plainfield on Thanksgiving away

from winning the Watchung Division title for the first time.

 

NORTH 2, GROUP 4:

Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

8-West Windsor North (5-4) at 1-Middletown South (8-0)

5-Sayreville (5-4) at 4-Middletown North (6-2)

7-Woodbridge (5-3) at 2-Phillipsburg (7-1)

6-Summit (6-3) at 3-Colonia (7-2)

* This is Summit’s first year in this section. The Hilltoppers, led by

junior QB Jake Froschauer, have rebounded nicely from a mid-season

slump with a three-game winning streak.

 

NORTH 2, GROUP 3:

Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

8-Voorhees (5-3) at 1-Cranford (9-0)

5-Ridgefield Park (6-3) at 4-Orange (7-2)

Saturday, Nov. 14, 1 p.m.

7-West Essex (5-4) at 2-Nutley (8-1)

6-Chatham (7-2) at 3-Barringer (8-0)

– at Schools Stadium, Newark

* Cranford – guided by senior QB Jack Schetelich – is the prohibitive

favorite to win this section after falling just short a year ago. The

Cougars have won playoff games the last four years, including two

in this section to capture it for the first time in 2011.

Cranford repeated as the Mid-State’s Raritan Division champ.

 

NORTH 2, GROUP 1:

Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

8-North Arlington (4-5) at 1-Brearley (9-0)

5-Roselle Park (5-3) at 4-Belvidere (6-3)

7-Glen Ridge (5-4) at 2-Hoboken (6-3)

6-Weequahic (3-5) at 3-Newark Collegiate (7-2)

– at Schools Stadium, Newark

* Brearley – led by senior QB Sebastian Montesdeoca – is seeking to

win this section for the first time since 2006.

Brearley won its first Mid-State Valley Division crown.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 3:

Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

8-Rahway (3-5) at 1-Rumson-Fair Haven (7-1)

5-Matawan (6-3) at 4-Hopewell Valley (7-2)

7-Hamilton (4-4) at 2-Ocean Township (7-1)

6-South Plainfield (6-2) at 3-Red Bank (8-0)

* Rahway won at Gov. Livingston 21-20 Saturday to sneak in

as the eighth and final seed.

 

CENTRAL JERSEY, GROUP 2:

Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.

5-Johnson (5-3) at 4-New Providence (7-1)

7-Spotswood (7-2) at 2-Delaware Valley (7-1)

6-Raritan (3-5) at 3-Point Pleasant Boro (8-1)

Saturday, Nov. 14, noon

8-Roselle (3-5) at 1-Lincoln (9-0)

– at Caven Point, Jersey City

* Top-seeded Lincoln has won eight of its games by double digits,

scored at least 50 points four times, at least 64 twice and at one

point in the season produced four straight shutouts. The Lions have

outscored nine foes 380-50. Johnson has won five straight, while

New Providence just had a seven-game winning streak snapped.

 

 

UNION COUNTY

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

 

THIS WEEK’S NJSIAA PLAYOFFS:

Friday, Nov. 13 (7 games)

North 2, Group 5

5-Ridge at 4-Elizabeth, 7 p.m.

North 2, Group 4

6-Summit at 3-Colonia, 7 p.m.

North 2, Group 3

8-Voorhees at 1-Cranford, 7 p.m.

North 2, Group 1

8-North Arlington at 1-Brearley, 7 p.m.

5-Roselle Park at 4-Belvidere, 7 p.m.

Central Jersey, Group 3

8-Rahway at 1-Rumson-Fair Haven, 7 p.m.

Central Jersey, Group 2

5-Johnson at 4-New Providence, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14 (3 games)

Central Jersey, Group 2

8-Roselle at 1-Lincoln, noon

North 2, Group 5

7-Columbia at 2-Westfield, 1 p.m.

6-Union at 3-Piscataway, 1 p.m.

 

CONSOLATIONS:

Thursday, Nov. 12 (3 games)

Linden at Bayonne, 7 p.m.

Gov. Livingston at Parsippany Hills, 7 p.m.

Bogota at Dayton, 7 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 14 (3 games)

Perth Amboy at Plainfield, 1 p.m.

West Windsor-Plainsboro South

at Scotch Plains, 1 p.m.

Robbinsville at Hillside, 1 p.m.

 

LAST WEEK’S RESULTS:

Friday, Nov. 6 (7 games)

Westfield 33, Hunterdon Central 14

Cranford 50, North Plainfield 8

Johnson 40, Somerville 29

Roselle 33, Bernards 26

Brearley 27, New Providence 19

Roselle Park 57, Manville 12

Dayton 27, Pingry 24

Saturday, Nov. 7 (5 games)

Elizabeth 25, Linden 7

Hillsborough 22, Plainfield 18

Summit 38, Hillside 6

Rahway 21, Gov. Livingston 20

Phillipsburg 48, Scotch Plains 13

Off: Union.

 

THIS WEEK’S PLAYOFF PICKS (10):

Elizabeth over Ridge

Colonia over Summit

Cranford over Voorhees

Brearley over North Arlington

Roselle Park over Belvidere

Rumson-Fair Haven over Rahway

Johnson over New Providence

Lincoln over Roselle

Westfield over Columbia

Piscataway over Union

Best bet: Cranford

Upset special: Roselle Park

Last week: 9-3

This year: 82-30 (.732)

Best bets: 9-0

Upset specials: 3-6

 

JR’S UNION COUNTY TOP 10:

1-Cranford (9-0)

2-Westfield (8-0)

3-Elizabeth (7-2)

4-Union (4-4)

5-Brearley (9-0)

6-Linden (3-5)

7-New Providence (7-1)

8-Summit (6-3)

9-Johnson (5-3)

10-Roselle Park (5-3)

Others: Rahway (3-5),

Gov. Livingston (3-5),

Hillside (3-6), Dayton (4-5),

Roselle (3-5), Plainfield (1-7),

Scotch Plains (0-9).

 

 

BREARLEY HEAD COACH SCOTT MILLER

ON VERGE OF OBTAINING 100TH VICTORY –

HIS RECORD IS 99-45-1 (.688)

 

HERE’S A LOOK AT MILLER’S RECORD AT BREARLEY:

 

2015: (9-0) – top seed in North 2, Group 1 playoffs

 

2014: (5-4-1) – lost in North 2, Group 1 quarterfinals

 

2013: (5-5) – lost in North 2, Group 1 quarterfinals

 

2012: (2-8) – did not qualify in North 2, Group 1

 

2011: (4-6) – did not qualify in Central Jersey, Group 1

 

2010: (4-6) – did not qualify in North 2, Group 1

 

2009: (7-4) – lost in Central Jersey, Group 1 semifinals

 

2008: (9-1) – lost in North 2, Group 1 semifinals

 

2007: (8-2) – lost in North 2, Group 1 quarterfinals

 

2006: (12-0) – won North 2, Group 1 championship at old

Giants Stadium. First Union County team to go 12-0.

 

2005: (10-2) – lost in Central Jersey, Group 1 final at Rutgers

 

2004: (9-2) – lost in Central Jersey, Group 1 semifinals

 

2003: (6-4) – lost in Central Jersey, Group 1 quarterfinals

 

2002: (9-1) -lost in North 2, Group 1 quarterfinals at Union

 

Record: 99-45-1 (.688). Playoff record: 7-9 (.438).

 

Playoff seasons: 11. Years won playoff games: 5.

 

Sectional semis: 5. Sectional finals: 2. Sectional titles: 1.

 

 

BREARLEY IN PLAYOFFS UNDER MILLER:

 

2014: (0-1) – lost at Belvidere 19-8 in North 2, Group 1 quarters

 

2013: (0-1) – lost at Roselle Park 28-20 in North 2, Group 1 quarters

 

2009: (1-1) – lost at Asbury Park 28-6 in CJ, G1 semifinals

won at South River 26-15 in CJ, G1 quarterfinals

 

2008: (1-1) – lost at home to Verona 36-7 in N2, G1 semifinals

defeated Glen Ridge 14-13 at home in N2, G1 quarterfinals

 

2007: (0-1) – lost at home to Verona 28-12 in N2, G1 quarters

 

2006: (3-0) – defeated Verona 21-20 in N2, G1 final at Giants Stadium

defeated Belvidere 33-14 at home in N2, G1 semifinals

defeated Wood-Bridge 36-0 at home in N2, G1 quarterfinals

 

2005: (2-1) – lost to Florence 19-6 in CJ, G1 final at Rutgers

defeated Burlington City 20-0 at home in Cj, G1 semifinals

defeated Keyport 35-7 at home in CJ, G1 quarterfinals

 

2004: (1-1) – lost at Florence 33-20 in CJ, G1 semifinals

defeated Middlesex 45-26 at home in CJ, G1 quarterfinals

 

2003: (0-1) – lost at New PRovidence 42-20 in CJ, G1 quarters

 

2002: (0-1) – lost to Boonton 14-7 in N2, G1 quarters at Union

 

Brearley was a No. 2 seed in its section in 2002, 2005, 2006

and 2007.

 

Brearley was a top seed in its section in 2008 and 2015.

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