Twelve county teams vie for supremacy in Week 4 competition

Cranford High School’s No 86, Declan Quigley, lines up on the field during action this past week. Now 2-1, Cranford will host St. Thomas Aquinas High School, which is 3-1 and has won three straight, on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m.

UNION COUNTY, NJ — There are six football games on Friday, Sept. 23 and six more on Saturday, Sept. 24, for Week 4, as 14 Union County schools will complete their fourth games, joining New Providence, Governor Livingston and Scotch Plains–Fanwood, which have already played their fourth games.

There are five common matchups: Arthur L. Johnson High School at Abraham Clark High School and David Brearley High School at Jonathan Dayton High School on Friday, Sept. 23; and Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School at Westfield High School, Rahway High School at Summit High School and New Providence High School at Hillside High School on Saturday, Sept. 24.

There is one sort-of-heavyweight matchup this weekend, scheduled at Cranford High School’s Memorial Field on Friday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. The host Cougars, now 2-1 and on a two-game winning streak, will clash with St. Thomas Aquinas High School, which is 3-1 and has won three straight. Both offenses will be hard-pressed not to light up the scoreboard in this Big Central Conference–United Gold Division clash.

There are four teams still undefeated in Union County, with two of them in action Friday, Sept. 23, and the other two on Saturday, Sept. 24.

David Brearley (3-0) is at Jonathan Dayton on Friday, Sept. 23, with the Bears presently fourth in the North, Group 1 standings. Arthur L. Johnson (3-0) is at Roselle on Friday, Sept. 23, with the Crusaders 13th in South, Group 2.

Hillside (3-0) hosts New Providence on Saturday, Sept. 24, with the Comets third in North, Group 3. Rahway (3-0) is at Summit on Saturday, Sept. 23, with the Indians fourth in North, Group 4.

Friday, Sept. 23:

• Arthur L. Johnson High School (3-0) at Roselle High School (0-3), 6 p.m. Arthur L. Johnson has two shutouts and has outscored the opposition 122-6 for an average of 40 points a game. Sophomore quarterback Robert Gallagher has passed for 289 yards and thrown four touchdown passes, while senior running back Antwone Smikle has rushed for 97 yards and has reached the end zone four times. Sophomore tailback Ryan George leads the Crusaders in rushing yards with 216 and has scored three times. Roselle lost close games at home to Delaware Valley High School, 20-17, and at New Providence High School, 21-20, before being blanked at Hillside High School, 28-0, on Saturday, Sept. 17.

• David Brearley High School (3-0) at Jonathan Dayton High School (2-1), 6 p.m. This is the second year in a row and the third time since 2018 that David Brearley is off to a 3-0 start. The last time the Bears lost to Jonathan Dayton was in 2012 at JDHS by a score of 19-16. David Brearley senior quarterback Matt Sims is off to a good start with 448 yards passing and five touchdown passes thrown. Sims also leads David Brearley in rushing with 472 yards on 55 carries and 10 touchdowns. Jonathan Dayton junior running back Alex Altemus has 263 yards rushing on 41 attempts.

• Highland Park High School (0-4) at Roselle Park High School (0-3), 6 p.m. Highland Park has lost 37 straight. The Owls last won on Nov. 24, 2016 — Thanksgiving that year — by a score of 35-7 against visiting Metuchen High School. Since then, Highland Park went 0-10 in 2017, 0-5 with four forfeits in 2018 and 0-10 in 2019. It did not field a varsity team in 2020, then went 0-8 in 2021 and 0-4 so far in 2022. Roselle Park has lost 12 straight, including finishing last year’s 1-9 record with nine straight losses. The Panthers last won at Dunellen High School, 35-0, on Sept. 3, 2021.

• Union High School (0-3) at Somerville High School (1-3), 7 p.m. Union is 0-3 for the first time since 2007 and Somerville is 1-3 for the first time since 2015, which was its last season less than .500, at 2-8 that year, before its 180-degree renaissance with a 10-1 record in 2016. Union, with close losses to Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Westfield High School and St. Joseph’s High School, Metuchen, will seek to avoid its first 0-4 start also since 2007.

• Perth Amboy High School (2-1) at Linden High School (1-2), 7 p.m. Perth Amboy comes in with consecutive home wins against J.P. Stevens High School, 39-14, and John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin, 10-8. Linden is not far off from being 3-0, with narrow road setbacks at Rahway High School, 21-20, and last weekend at Colonia High School, 28-25. Linden handled Woodbridge High School, 31-0, at home two weeks ago.

• St. Thomas Aquinas High School (3-1) at Cranford High School (2-1), 7 p.m. St. Thomas Aquinas comes in with three straight double-digit triumphs, including a 19-6 home win against Summit on Friday, Sept. 16. Cranford won at Summit High School, 42-23, for its first win two weeks ago and then won for the second straight year at Woodbridge High School, 35-28, last weekend. The Cougars are sparked by the play of seniors Liam Godwin and Shane Kanterman on offense and defense, Godwin at quarterback and cornerback and Kanterman at running back and linebacker.

Saturday, Sept. 24

• Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School (1-3) at Westfield High School (2-1), 1 p.m. Scotch Plains–Fanwood has lost three in a row, all by double digits, after opening with a 38-16 home win against North Plainfield High School. Westfield played its best half of football on Friday, Sept. 16, at Elizabeth High School, scoring five touchdowns and kicking one field goal for a 38-0 lead at the half. Westfield ended up winning 38-20. Westfield blanked Union High School, 14-0, in the second half of its home-opening, come-from-behind 21-14 win against the Farmers two weeks ago. The Blue Devils are lifted by the play of senior quarterback Trey Brown and senior running back Dylan Wragg.

• Elizabeth High School (1-2) at St. Joseph’s High School in Metuchen (3-0), 1 p.m. Elizabeth will have its work cut out for itself this weekend, as St. Joseph’s has produced three double-digit victories. In last weekend’s Big Central Conference–American Gold Division home game against Westfield, Elizabeth trailed 38-0 at the break. The Minutemen, who lost 38-20, will have to cool down another potent offense if they are to have any kind of success. St. Joe’s averages 30 points.

• North Hunterdon Regional High School (3-1) at Plainfield High School (0-3), 1 p.m. North Hunterdon suffered its first loss, following a solid 3-0 start that included two double-digit wins and then a 1-point point triumph. The Lions were defeated at 2-0 Phillipsburg High School, 48-21, on Friday, Sept. 16. Plainfield, which last year rebounded to win five games for the first time since 2005, is off to a second straight 0-3 start. After a 23-22 loss at Elizabeth High School, the Cardinals have lost at home to Montgomery High School, 35-7, and at Carteret High School, 25-11.

• Rahway High School (3-0) at Summit High School (0-3), 1 p.m. After opening with a 21-20 home victory against Linden High School, the Rahway Indians went on to produce double-digit road wins at Lincoln High School, 45-16, and at Scotch Plains–Fanwood High School, 27-7. Rahway is sparked by the impressive play of multiposition senior Kyle Hall. A young Summit team held high-scoring St. Thomas Aquinas High School to only 19 points on the road last weekend.

• New Providence High School (2-2) at Hillside High School (3-0), 1 p.m. The visiting Pioneers will have to game-plan for a ton of speed, including seniors Caleb Salters, the quarterback, and senior running backs Muwaffaq Parkman and Kyon Simonson. A hard-hitting Hillside defense has not yielded a single point the past two weekends, with shutout wins at Metuchen High School, 45-0, and in last weekend’s home opener against Roselle High School, 28-0.

• John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Iselin (0-4) at Governor Livingston High School (2-2), 1:30 p.m. Iselin Kennedy is 0-4 for the third straight year and coming off a 10-8 loss at Perth Amboy High School on Friday, Sept. 16. Governor Livingston has won two straight with double-digit victories at home against North Plainfield High School, 31-14, and at J.P. Stevens High School, 25-6. Beginning with this game, three of GL’s next four contests are at home, as the Highlanders make a bid to qualify in North, Group 3.

Photos by JR Parachini