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Central Jersey Top 10: Mater Dei holds on at No. 1, Red Bank continues to rise

The Mater Dei Prep defense waits for a play to start during a football game in Middletown on Sept. 14.

At every level, football is crazy. That’s the only rule that really applies.

It’s any given Sunday at the pro level, any given Saturday at the collegiate level and any given Friday night/Saturday afternoon at the high school level.

It has really been any given Friday night/Saturday afternoon in the New Jersey scholastic football season this fall.

Before the season, no one would have guessed that Red Bank Regional High School would be the best Red Bank team, over Red Bank Catholic High School.

Before the season, no one would have predicted that Metuchen High School would start 2-0 after going 0-9 and actually forfeiting a game last fall. The Bulldogs lost this week, 35-7 to Middlesex High School, but a 2-1 record is still a pleasant shock.

Before the season, no one would have forecasted that Colts Neck High School would be undefeated deep into September. The Cougars improved to 3-0 with a 33-23 victory at Matawan Regional High School on Sept. 20.

Not surprisingly, the Central Jersey Top 10 has seen chaos at the top on a weekly basis. Last week, the top two teams from week one, North Brunswick Township High School and Rumson-Fair Haven High School, both lost. This week, Manalapan High School, the No. 2 ranked team from last week, dropped to 2-1 with a 42-40 loss to Toms River High School North.

Chaos is a regular theme of the 2019 season, as it is every season at every level of football.

But among the chaos, order does eventually emerge, and it’s starting to. Nine of this week’s top 10 teams are the same as last week.

But there is a new No. 2, and that’s pretty wild.

The week three edition of the Central Jersey Top 10 is below.

(Ranking. Team, Record.)

1. Mater Dei Prep, 2-0: The Seraphs had a bye this week after two convincing victories in the first two weeks.

2. Red Bank Regional, 3-0: The Buccaneers’ defense is allowing 8.6 points per game.

3. Saint John Vianney, 2-0: After a 5-5 season in Joe Martucci’s first year as coach, the Lancers look great on both sides of the ball in year two under the former Matawan boss.

4. Notre Dame, 3-0: Notre Dame is dominating the Mercer County area, with three victories by a combined score of 144-18.

5. North Brunswick, 2-1: The Raiders bounced back from their first loss to beat Sayreville War Memorial High School, 22-7, at Sayreville on Sept. 20.

6. Rumson-Fair Haven, 2-1: The Bulldogs also bounced back from their first loss this week, handling Long Branch High School, 49-20, on Sept. 20 at home.

7. Manalapan, 2-1: The Braves lost and fell to 2-1 this week, but quarterback Sean Kehley had one of the best games of his career, throwing for 232 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

8. Saint Joseph Regional, 2-1: The Metuchen school has won two straight games since dropping its season opener.

9. South Brunswick, 2-1: South Brunswick has also won two straight, by 37 and 38, respectively, since losing its season opener.

10. Hillsborough, 3-0: Hillsborough running back Sean Levonaitis has 470 rushing yards and six touchdowns in three games.

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