Central Jersey Top 10: State Championship Weekend

Mater Dei Prep kick returner Isaiah Noguera catches the kickoff during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public, Group 3 playoffs. Mater Dei will play DePaul Catholic in the state championship game on Dec. 7 at Rutgers University.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
×
Mater Dei Prep kick returner Isaiah Noguera catches the kickoff during the quarterfinals of the NJSIAA Non-Public, Group 3 playoffs. Mater Dei will play DePaul Catholic in the state championship game on Dec. 7 at Rutgers University.STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

The final week of the 2019 scholastic football season is upon us.

The lone representative from the Central Jersey region, Mater Dei Prep, will bid to win the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Non-Public, Group 3 playoff championship on Dec 7.

Mater Dei will square off with DePaul Catholic High School of Wayne in the Non-Public, Group 3 state title game at Rutgers University’s SHI Stadium in Piscataway. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Here is a look at the Top 10 rankings in Central Jersey going into the state championship this weekend of Dec. 6-7.

(Ranking. Team, Record)

1. Mater Dei Prep, 8-3: The Seraphs will play in their fourth straight state championship game on Dec. 7 when they play DePaul Catholic in final of the Non-Public, Group 3 playoffs. Losing the last two championship games, Mater Dei is focused on getting the job done this season. Mater Dei last won a state playoff title in 2016 when it captured the Non-Public, Group 2 crown. Senior running back Malik Ingram leads the way for the Serpahs with 21 touchdowns this fall.

2. Notre Dame, 10-1: The Irish gave top-seeded powerful 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. 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. The Bulldogs have made it to nine sectional championship games in the past 10 years.

6. 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.

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. Middletown South, 5-5: The Eagles ended the season of a high note against rival Middletown North in their 45th Thanksgiving Day game. Senior Chris Lotito scored two touchdowns and had two interceptions on defense to lead Middletown South to a 21-7 victory over the Lions. The Eagles now lead the all-time series, 32-12-1. Middletown South finished the season winning four of its last five games.

9. 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.

10. 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.

Follow Steven Bassin on Twitter @SBassin_Sports