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Central Jersey Top 10: Second round of state playoffs next on tap

The first round of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s sectional playoffs are in the books and the second round will begin this weekend, Nov. 15-16.

Here is a look at the top 10 ranked teams in Central Jersey going into the second round of the state sectional playoffs.

(Ranking, Team, Record)

1. Notre Dame, 10-0: The Irish picked up its first playoff victory since 2004 to stay on top of the rankings for this week with a 34-31 upset victory over the Delbarton School in the first round of the Non-Public, Group 4 playoffs. Senior running back Cortez Williams led the way for the Irish, rushing for 210 yards and four touchdowns in the victory in Morris Township. Notre Dame will travel to play top-seeded St. Peter’s Prep in the second round of the tournament on Nov. 16 in Jersey City.

2. North Brunswick, 9-1: North Brunswick extended its winning streak to eight straight games with a 32-20 victory over Eastern Regional in the first round of the Central Jersey, Group 5 playoffs. The top-seeded Raiders will gear up to face fifth-seeded Cherokee in the sectional semifinals on Nov. 15 in North Brunswick.

3. Mater Dei Prep, 6-3: The Seraphs jump up to the No. 3 spot in the rankings this week. Mater Dei Prep will be the host to Pope John XXIII of Sparta in the quarterfinals of the Non-Public, Group 3 playoffs on Nov. 16. The winner will play Red Bank Catholic, which earned a first-round bye, on Nov. 22 in Red Bank.

4. Jackson Memorial, 7-2: Jackson Memorial jumped up to No. 4 in the rankings this week. Stellar defense led the Jaguars to their sixth straight victory, a 20-0 victory over Moorestown in the first round of Central Jersey, Group 4. Jackson Memorial will be the host to Toms River East in an old school Shore Conference A South Division clash on No. 15 in the sectional semifinals.

5. Red Bank Catholic, 5-3: The Caseys sit at No. 5 this week. Getting the No. 2 seed in the Non-Public, Group 3 bracket, Red Bank Catholic will have another week to prepare for its first playoff game. The Caseys will be the host to either Mater Dei Prep or Pope John XXIII in the sectional semifinals on Nov. 22.

6. Saint Joseph Regional, 8-2: The Metuchen school fell to Bergen County powerhouse Paramus Catholic in the first round of Non-Public, Group 4, 42-7. St. Joseph finished the season with a record of 8-2.

7. Hillsborough, 8-2: Hillsborough moved up to the No. 7 slot with an impressive 28-7 victory over Washington Township in the first round of the South Jersey, Group 5 playoffs. Winner of four in a row, the No. 3 seeded Raiders will clash with No. 2 Lenape in the sectional semifinals on Nov. 15 in Medford.

8. Old Bridge, 8-1: Old Bridge’s season came to an end in the first round of the Central Jersey, Group 5 playoffs when the third-seeded Knights were upset by No. 6 Kingsway Regional, 42-7.

9. Rumson-Fair Haven, 5-4: The Bulldogs rebounded from their regular season finale loss to Jackson Memorial with a 27-6 victory over Delsea Regional in the first round of the Central Jersey, Group 3 playoffs. Back on their home turf to play Timber Creek on Nov. 15 in the sectional semifinals, the defending Group 3 state champion will look to clinch a third straight trip to the sectional finals.

10. Middletown South, 4-4: There is no hotter team in the playoffs right now then Middletown South. The Eagles have won three straight games, which includes their 24-7 victory over Hamilton West in the first round of Central Jersey, Group 4.  Middletown South on Nov. 15 will travel down to Atlantic County to play top-seeded Hammonton.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports

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