Hasbrouck Heights (10-0) at Shabazz (9-1)
Shabazz has allowed only 62 points this year, while scoring 353. The Bulldogs came up with big plays in all three phases of the game. Their defense had two touchdowns and a safety, while the special teams also had a touchdown. Aziz Wilson has averaged over 10 yards a carry on the season and must be held in check.
Hasbrouck Heights has allowed 99, while scoring 364. Jasiah Purdie is their star, but Michael Robertson has run for 888 yards in eight games. The lines need to be at their best against a team that is bigger and quicker than them. The Aviators just finished playing four straight undefeated teams, but this will be their toughest challenge of the year.
Lyndhurst (9-1) at Rutherford (9-1)
RB Abellany Mendez is the catalyst for Rutherford and has rushed for 1,400, while the Bulldogs have scored 356 points. WR/LB Regan Landrigan is top two-way player and DE Lawson Fisher has 7.5 sacks on the year. The defense will have to find a way to limit the effectiveness of RB Piotr Partyla.
Piotr Partyla was the story for Lyndhurst last week, rushing for 300 yards and five touchdowns and he is also a force on defense. Quarterback Brian Podolski needs to step up and keep the Rutherford defense from ganging up on Partyla. The defense needs to limit Mendez and get the pass rush going to force mistakes.
Rahway (9-1) at Summit (9-1)
Summit’s Max Jackson has almost 1,500 yards rushing, including 214 last week, but it was Joe Lusardi who had the big day, scoring five touchdowns and rushing for 162. The running game is just under 3,000 yards rushing, but Skyler Shluter will have to be effective throwing the ball when called upon. The Summit defense did a good job last week, stifling the effectiveness of the Montville passing game.
Rahway was without 1,100 yard rusher Zi’on Pendleton, but Dashon Moore rushed for 100 to pick up the slack. The Indians were opportunistic last week forcing turnovers and recovering a kickoff on the 30, leading to touchdowns. Brayden Pierre-Louis is a receiving threat and linebacker Shimei Paige leads the defense.
Irvington (8-3) at Phillipsburg (9-1)
Phillipsburg’s Jack Stagaard set a single-season record for touchdown passes last week and he has a big-play target in Sterling Walker-Sutton to go with 1,000 yards rusher, Joe Green. They Stateliners can be counted on to bring their physical brand of football, but the team was not sharp and they will have to be this week against a determined Irvington squad.
Irvington has been very resilient, coming from behind in each of the last two weeks. They also avenged a one-point loss two years ago to Randolph and have the chance to avenge a one-point loss to Phillipsburg in last year’s semi-finals. Zakee Swann is at 1,100 yards rushing, but the passing game will have to click, as Irvington has good targets in Zahir Swann and Mohamed Toure.
Union City (9-1) at Piscataway (10-0)
Piscataway is the prohibitive favorite in this group, allowing only 60 points, including five shutouts and scoring 400. The Chiefs look stacked all over with a good, experienced line and Juwon Jackson and others running for 362 yards last week. The defense is also outstanding, with end Marcel Walker getting 4.5 sacks last week.
Alain Diaz needs to be sharp throwing the ball for Union City or else Piscataway will stack the box against the running game. Jean Alvarez ran for 195 yards last week and Joel Jimenez for 153, as the Soaring Eagles rushed for 459 yards against Union. Charles Gaston has 97 tackles on the year, including 12 in each of the last five games.