Central Jersey Top 10: Mater Dei Prep move stop to No. 1 ranking

STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

Mater Dei Prep has risen to the No 1 ranking in Central Jersey and will now focus on winning a state playoff championship on Dec. 7.

New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association state playoff championship games are set for the next two weekends of Nov. 29-Nov. 30 and Dec. 6-Dec. 7.

Here is a look at the Top 10 rankings in Central Jersey going into the state championship games.

(Ranking. Team, Record)

1. Mater Dei Prep, 8-3: The Seraphs rose up to No. 1 in the rankings this week by getting redemption in the Non-Public, Group 3 semifinals against Red Bank Catholic on Nov. 22. Mater Dei defeated Red Bank Catholic, 10-3, to advance to its fourth straight state championship game. Senior running back Malik Ingram rushed for a game-high 137 yards and the game’s only touchdown in the win for Mater Dei Prep. The Seraphs will play DePaul Catholic o Wayne in the Non-Public, Group 3 championship game on Dec. 7 at Rutgers University.

2. Notre Dame, 10-1: The Irish gave top-seeded St. Peter’s Prep all it could handle in the Non-Public, Group 4 quarterfinals and finishing the season with a 10-1 mark. Senior running back Cortaz Williams had 27 touchdowns rushing touchdowns and two receiving touchdowns on offense this season for Notre Dame. Notre Dame finished with its best record since 2004.

3. Jackson Memorial, 8-3: Jackson Memorial’s run to its first sectional championship since 2015 came to an end in the final of the Central Jersey, Group 4 playoffs on Nov. 22 against top-seeded Hammonton. The Jaguars couldn’t overcome a three-touchdown deficit at the half and lost to Hammonton, 28-12. Senior quarterback Lonnie Cebulski tossed two touchdown passes to wide receiver Zack Novak and threw for 167 yards in the contest for the Jaguars. Jackson Memorial finishes the season with the most victories since 2015.

4. North Brunswick, 9-2: The 2019 season came to a tough end for the Raiders in the semifinals of the Central Jersey, Group 5 playoffs on Nov. 16. North Brunswick was upset by Cherokee, 41-25, ending the Raiders’ eight-game winning streak. Senior running back Myles Bailey rushed for 1,658 yards and 14 touchdowns this season for North Brunswick. The Raiders have finished with a winning record the past three seasons.

5. Red Bank Catholic, 5-4: The Caseys saw their season come to an end on Nov. 22 in the semifinals of the Non-Public, Group 3 playoffs, losing to Mater Dei Prep, 10-3. It’s the first time in three years that Red Bank Catholic is not playing in the state championship game.

6. Rumson-Fair Haven, 6-5: A second-half comeback attempt came up just short for the Bulldogs in their 14-13 loss to Wall Township in the final of the Central Jersey, Group 3 playoffs. Rumson-Fair Haven is 2-2 in sectional championship games the past four seasons.

7. Woodbridge, 10-1: The Barrons cracked the Top 10 last week by advancing to the final of the North Jersey, Section 1, Group 4 bracket. Unfortunately for Woodbridge, the season came to an end in the sectional championship game. Top-seeded Northern Highlands defeated Woodbridge, 37-7. The Barrons finish with their first winning season since 2015.

8. Old Bridge, 8-1: The Knights were upset by Kingsway in the first round of the Central Jersey, Group 5 playoffs on Nov. 8. Old Bridge won its first eight games of the season. Sophomore quarterback Owen Haughney led the team with seven rushing touchdowns on the ground. Haughney also had a solid fall through the air, throwing for 951 yards and nine scores, giving him 16 total touchdowns for the season.

9. Hillsborough, 8-3: The Raiders saw their season come to an end in the semifinals of the South Jersey, Group 4 playoffs on Nov. 22, losing to Lenape, 28-17. Hillsborough finished with its best record since 2014.

10. Middletown South, 4-5: The Eagles gave top-seed Hammonton a battle in the semifinals of the Central Jersey, Group 4 playoffs on Nov. 16, but it was not enough as Middletown South was eliminated from postseason play with a 32-29 defeat by the Blue Devils. Middletown South will now gear up to be the host to rival Middletown North on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28.

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