UNION COUNTY, NJ — Although some Union County football teams did not have great performances last weekend, which was the final regular season weekend, they now have a chance to make up for that in the state playoffs.
Union, Governor Livingston, Summit, Rahway, Cranford and New Providence high schools lost and Linden High School tied last weekend, but all still qualified for the playoffs.
In all, 11 of the 17 Union County football playing schools made it. Three of the six that didn’t will be moving on to Regional Invitational Tournament competition. Last year, in the first season that RIT games took place, four Union County teams won titles, including Plainfield High School winning North, Group 5; Linden High School winning North, Group 4; Summit High School winning North, Group 3; and Abraham Clark High School, Roselle winning South, Group 2.
Plainfield, Linden and Summit high schools are back in the playoffs, while Abraham Clark High School, Roselle has an excellent chance of winning a second straight South, Group 2 RIT crown. In an outcome similar to last year, Abraham Clark High School, Roselle has rebounded from an 0-4 start to win its last four and even its record at 4-4.
Six Union County schools are in playoff action on Friday, Oct. 27, and the other five on Saturday, Oct. 28. The only Union County common playoff game is top-seeded Summit High School hosting eighth-seeded Governor Livingston High School in a first-round North 2, Group 3 encounter on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Summit’s Tatlock Field.
Summit High School, 6-2 overall and 6-0 against public schools, has an excellent chance of capturing North 2, Group 3 for the first time since 2018. The Hilltoppers will be home for all three rounds should they advance.
Arthur L. Johnson High School finished 6-2, as it did last year and also, the same as last year, will be playing at Pleasantville (7-1) in the playoffs. Arthur L. Johnson lost at Pleasantville High School, 25-7, a year ago.
Linden and Montgomery high schools battled to a 42-42 tie on Friday night, Oct. 20, at Linden’s Cooper Field. It was the only tie involving a Union County team. Montgomery came to Linden with an 8-0 record. Both teams qualified out of North, Group 4.
Union High School, 4-5, has lost its last four and will seek to snap that losing streak at Ridgewood High School in a North 1, Group 5 clash in Bergen County on Friday night, Oct. 27.
Sectional semifinals are scheduled for the weekend of Friday, Nov. 3, and Saturday, Nov. 4, and sectional finals for Friday, Nov. 10, and Saturday, Nov. 11.
The only two Union County schools to reach sectional championship games last year were Hillside High School in North 1, Group 3 and David Brearley High School in North 1, Group 1. Both lost, with Hillside falling at Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan and David Brearley at Mountain Lakes High School.
In North 1, Group 3, Hillside High School and defending champion Northern Valley Regional High School at Old Tappan are both back in the same section, with Hillside the second seed and Old Tappan the top seed. If both Hillside and Old Tappan win their first two playoff games, which will both be played at home, they will meet once again in the final at Old Tappan.
Plainfield High School, 6-2, clinched its first winning season since finishing 6-4 in 2005 and is in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, when it made it in North 2, Group 3. The Cardinals are hosting its first playoff game since 2002 and it will be against defending champion West Orange High School on Saturday, Oct. 28, in a North 2, Group 5 first-round battle. West Orange captured its first sectional state title in the playoff era a year ago.
Union County teams in NJSIAA playoffs
First round of sectionals
Friday, Oct. 27
Central Jersey, Group 2
• 6-Johnson at 3-Pleasantville, 7 p.m.
• 5-Cinnaminson at 4-New Providence, 7 p.m.
North 2, Group 3
• 5-Cranford at 2-West Essex, 7 p.m.
North 1, Group 4
• 8-Rahway at 1-Ramapo, 7 p.m.
• 5-Linden at 4-Morris Knolls, 7 p.m.
North 1, Group 5
5-Union at 4-Ridgewood, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 28
North 1, Group 3
• 7-Sparta at 2-Hillside, 1 p.m.
North 2, Group 3
• 8-Gov. Livingston at 1-Summit, 1 p.m.
North 2, Group 5
• 5-Clifton at 4-Westfield, 1 p.m.
• 6-West Orange at 3-Plainfield, 1 p.m.
Public regional consolations
Regional invitational tournaments
for teams that did not make the playoffs
Thursday, Oct. 26
North, Group 1
• 4-Brearley at 1-Boonton, 7 p.m.
North, Group 5
• 3-Elizabeth at 2-Piscataway, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 28
South, Group 2
• 3-Lower Cape May at 2-Roselle, 1 p.m.
As of Sunday, Oct. 22, Roselle Park High School in Group 1, Jonathan Dayton High School in Group 2 and Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Group 4 were not included in consolation games.