Eagles Look to Continue Magic with Regional Championship on Saturday
MARLTON, NJ—On Saturday evening, Big Central Gridiron will be watching our two remaining Big Central Conference schools in action. Edison will be taking on Toms River North in the South Jersey Group 5 Regional Championship at Cherokee. Simultaneously, North Hunterdon will be battling it out with Northern Highlands for the North Jersey Group 4 Regional Championship at Franklin High School in Somerset at 5:30 PM.
Watch and Listen on Stream
Central Jersey Sports Radio at https://cjsportsradio.liberatedstreaming.com/
Edison punched its ticket to Cherokee High School by virtue of its 28-14 victory over top seeded Lenape on the road in the Central Jersey Section Group 5 title game. Meanwhile Toms River North rolled past Kingsway 48-14 in the South Jersey Group 5 final. The Eagles enter the contest at 9-3 while the Mariners come in at 12-0. Take a look below at the BCG Tale of the Tape.
BCG Tale of the Tape—2022 NJSIAA South Jersey Group 5 Regional Championship
|Overall seed in Region||#11||#1|
|Section||Central Jersey||South Jersey|
|Conference||Big Central National Silver||Shore Conference Colonial Division|
|Points Per Game – Season||29.3||49.2|
|Points Allowed Per Game-Season||14.8||7.8|
|Shutouts – Season||1||4|
|Games Where Defense Allowed One Score – Season||4||5|
|Points Per Game – Playoffs||23.7||46.3|
|Points Allowed Per Game – Playoffs||17.3||9.0|
|Shutouts – Playoffs||0||0|
|Games Where Defense Allowed One Score – Playoffs||1||2|
|Yards Rushing Per Game||170.5||304.7|
|Yards Passing Per Game||160.4||105.7|
|Total Yards Per Game||330.9||410.4|
|Run/Pass Ratio||55.4 % to 44.6 % (1.2 or ~ 1 to 1)||79.8 % to 20.2 % (3.95 ~ 4 to 1)|
|# of Playoff Opponents – Season||7 – including North Brunswick twice||9|
|Record vs. Playoff Opponents||5-3 including 1-1 vs. North Brunswick||9-0|
Key Players – Edison
QB/P Matt Yascko – 140 of 234 for 1,736 yards and 14 TDs vs. 2 INTs; Also rushed 97 times for 542 yards and 4 TDs
RB/DB Nykeir Eato – 172 rushes for 1,224 yards or nearly 7.1 yards per carry and 16 TDs; Also caught 10 passes for 86 yards and a TD, and 23 tackles, 3 sacks, and a forced fumble on defense.
WR/DB Malcolm Stansbury – 46 receptions for 586 yards or 12.7 yards per catch and 4 TDs; Also has 42 tackles and 2 INTs on defense.
WR/DB Michael Strachan – 27 receptions for 354 yards or 13.1 yards per catch and a team leading 5 TDs. Also 60 tackles, FF, and INT on defense.
RB/DB Jameel Parrott – 16 rushes for 120 yards and 2 TDs; Also has 26 tackles, 2 INTs, and a fumble recovery on defense.
WR/DB Ricky Harvey – 23 receptions for 373 yards, or 16.2 yards per catch and 4 TDs; Also leads team with 271 kickoff return yards, or an average of 22.6 yards per return including a long of 85 yards.
WR/DB Jonathan Baio – 26 yards for 310 yards and a TD.
OL/DL Adekunle Shittu – 72 tackles including 42 solos, 17 tackles for loss and 4 sacks (leads team).
WR/DB Tori’ahn Rattray – 21 tackles (2nd on team) including 13 solos, and a team leading 3 INTs.
OL/DL Sebastian Vera – 42 tackles including 25 solos, 7 tackles for loss, and 4 sacks (tied for best on team).
LB Ah’mer Gibbs – 43 tackles including 28 solos, 4 tackles for loss, a sack, and 3 fumble recoveries (leads team)
LB/K Selbin Sabio – Leads team in tackles with 112 and 4 sacks. Also made 6 of 8 FGs including a long of 38 yards and 40 of 44 PATs.
Key Players – Toms River North
QB Micah Ford – 49 of 79 for 1,061 yards and 13 TDs vs. 2 INTs; Also rushed 187 times for 1,951 yards and 28 TDs.
RB Josh Moore– 86 carries for 839 yards, or about 9.8 yards per carry, and 11 TDs. Also has 4 catches for 103 yards and a TD.
RB Mordecai Ford – 32 rushes for 350 yards or about 10.9 yards per carry and 6 TDs.
RB Jeremiah Pruitt – 44 rushes for 303 yards or about 6.9 yards per carry and 8 TDs. Also has 12 catches for 257 yards and 2 TDs and leads team with 5 INTs on defense.
WR Tareq Council– 23 receptions for 501 yards or 21.8 yards per catch and 2 TDs (leads team in receptions, yardage, and TD catches).
WR Nasir Jackson– 8 receptions for 218 yards or 27.3 yards per catch and team leading 9 TDs; Also leads team in kickoff return yardage.
WR Camryn Thomas – 7 receptions for 139 yards or 19.9 yards per catch and a TDs
WR Ja’quez Hunter – 2nd on team in kickoff return yardage and rushed for an average of 10 yards per carry and a TD.
OL/LB Anthony Rodriguez – 2nd on team in tackles with 78 including 22 solos, 14.5 for loss, and 1.5 sacks. Also has a forced fumble and recovery as well as an INT.
OL/DL Nicholas Baiocco – 48 total tackles including 13.5 for loss and 3 sacks.
TE/LB Ty Kazanowsky – Leads team with 82 tackles and 6 sacks.
K Yianni Papanikolas – made 57 of 63 PATs.
Additional Facts – Edison
The Edison Eagles opened the season in impressive fashion with a win going away against a playoff bound Cedar Creek team from South Jersey that went 2-0 against BCC schools in 2021. With Yascko out due to injury, the Eagles lost two tough games to National Silver Division rivals North Brunswick (13-10) and Sayreville (14-6).
Since that time though, Yascko has gotten healthy again and is now back on the field, and Edison has won 7 of its last 8. The only loss was on the road to a St. Thomas Aquinas team that had to rally from behind for the win (21-17). Aquinas was ranked No. 1 in Middlesex County a year ago, and was ranked 3rd in the BCG’s 2022 Pre-Season Top 10.
Edison had seven playoff teams on its schedule including North Brunswick twice. The Eagles have gone 5-3 versus those playoff teams including a 1-1 mark against North Brunswick. Edison’s win against North Brunswick came in the Central Jersey Group 5 sectional semifinals in dramatic fashion in what many could argue was the wildest game ever in Middlesex County.
Edison’s division foes of North Brunswick, Sayreville, New Brunswick, and Franklin were only a combined 13-23 with Sayreville getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs and both New Brunswick and Franklin not qualifying.
Additional Facts – Toms River North
The Mariners reached the South Jersey Group 5 sectional final a year ago before losing to Kingsway. This year, Toms River North rolled past the Dragons in a rematch (48-14) to win the section, and punch its ticket for Cherokee High School. The Mariners play in the Colonial Division of the Shore Conference, and 4-0 against Big Central Schools in the playoffs since 2019.
The first two games of the season were perhaps the toughest to date for Toms River North. After defeating Washington Township in its season opener (28-21) at the Battle at the Beach in Ocean City, the Mariners had a tough battle with Central Jersey Group 2 Champion, Rumson Fair-Haven before winning at the Rumble on the Raritan (40-27).
Since then, TRN has outscored its opponents by a total of 525-46, or by an average of about 53-5 per game. Over the last 10 games, Toms River North has limited its opponents to 7 points or less nine times. However, the Colonial Division of the Shore Conference is not that strong. The Mariners division opponents: Long Branch, Middletown North, Lacey, Southern Regional, and Central Regional were a combined 18-28 with three of the teams getting knocked out in the opening round of the playoffs.
This is a rematch of the South Jersey Group 5 sectional semifinal from a year ago that Toms River North won, 48-7. The Mariners have been dominant, but against a schedule that wasn’t really strong. Nevertheless, TRN has plenty of athletes including QB Micah Ford, who accounts for over 3,000 yards of offense and 41 TDs.
Edison’s strength is its offensive balance. The Eagles will need a solid game of running and passing from Matt Yascko Jr., who has accounted for nearly 2,300 yards of offense and 23 TDs. Toms River North and Edison both have stingy defenses, but the Mariners have recorded more shutouts and one score games against its opponents.
For Edison to have a chance in this game, it must try to make TRN as one dimensional as possible by stopping the run, and containing Ford. They must make Ford throw more. The Eagles also can’t afford to fall behind, and most importantly too far behind. Could the Eagles have a reversal of fortune much like the 2007 South Plainfield Tigers against Irvington? It’s possible. Anything can happen in these kinds of games, but TRN looks too hard to beat, especially not having to travel as far to Cherokee HS.
Prediction: Toms River North wins, 31-17.