The NJSIAA state football sectional playoffs have entered its semifinal stage. And while it is still the semifinals, there are some matchups that could rival championship showdowns.
Here is a look where area teams will be in action this upcoming weekend as they seek berths into the championship round that will be held in two weeks.
Residents in Middletown are dreaming of back-to-back matchups between their two public high schools.
Both Middletown High School South and Middletown High School North are in semifinals games in North Jersey, Section II, Group III Nov. 18 in Middletown.
Middletown South will serve as the host to Sayreville War Memorial High School, while across the town, Middletown North will serve as the host to Summit High School. Both games will kick off at 7 p.m.
Then both Middletown schools will prepare for their annual Thanksgiving Day rivalry game Nov. 24.
If both win their state semifinal matchups, the two schools could meet again a week after Thanksgiving to settle the state sectional playoff title.
Some local rivalries will be featured during the state semifinals.
In Central Jersey, Group V, two heavyweights from the Greater Middlesex Conference, Old Bridge High School and Piscataway Township High School, will duke it out again Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in Piscataway.
This game is a rematch from earlier this season when Old Bridge defeated Piscataway in a regular-season game, 24-20, Oct. 14 in Old Bridge.
In the other half of Central Jersey, Group V, Manalapan High School, which is the top seed and coasting with a 10-0 record, is zeroing in on knocking out the defending champion, South Brunswick High School. These two go at it Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
Jackson Memorial High School will make the drive to Allentown High School to square off in Central Jersey, Group IV.
The other half in this section’s group will have Freehold High School taking a trip to clash with Brick Township High School Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
Keyport High School and Shore Regional High School are a victory away from banging helmets for a second time this season.
In this Central Jersey, Group I field, Shore Regional is home to Asbury Park High School, while Keyport travels to Point Pleasant Beach High School. Both games will be played Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
Keyport was the winner when it edged Shore Regional, 21-20, Nov. 4 in West Long Branch.
In Central Jersey, Group III, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School must take the ride to Somerset County in order to upset Somerville High School Nov. 18 at 7 p.m.
Another upset-minded team is Howell High School, which must find a solution to beating one of the state’s top teams this fall, Toms River High School North. These teams play in South Jersey, Group V action Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in Toms River.
Two non-public schools will be on the fields this coming weekend.
Speaking of upsets and making a long journey, St. John Vianney High School must travel north all the way up the Garden State Parkway to Montvale, where another state power awaits: Saint Joseph Regional High School. This Non-Public, Group III semifinal is Nov. 19 at 1 p.m.
Mater Dei Prep will be home in Middletown in its Non-Public, Group II encounter with Saint Joseph High School of Hammonton. Kickoff is 1 p.m.
Football is not the only game in town this weekend.
Holmdel Park in Holmdel will serve as the site Nov. 19 for the NJSIAA Meet of Champions cross-country race.
The boys will go off first at 11 a.m., while the girls’ race will start at 11:45 a.m.
The girls’ soccer state group championships will be decided this Saturday, Nov. 13, at Kean University in Union.
Shore Regional will aim to repeat as the Group I state champion when it plays Glen Ridge in the title game at 5:30 p.m.