Squads Look to Make Playoff Push in Week 8
Teams fight for positioning heading into the sectional playoffs.
This weekend features a few pretty interesting matchups with teams vying for position heading into the state sectional playoffs. For some teams, winning in Week 8 is a necessity if they want a chance at the tournament. For others, a win will help improve their chances of earning a top seed.
Must-Win Game for Morristown
The Morristown football team hasn’t missed the playoffs since 2005, according to NJ.com, but that streak could be in jeopardy if the Colonials don’t come out of their Week 8 game against West Morris with a win.
It’s a tall order for a Morristown team that has struggled to stay consistent this season, as the Colonials have lost four of five games heading into their must win game at home. That recent slide includes a heartbreaking 31-30 overtime loss to Roxbury last week, which was sealed by a blocked extra point following a Zac Carter touchdown, according to NJ.com.
With West Morris boasting a 6-1 record–and the Wolfack’s lone loss coming to undefeated Delbarton, ranked No. 8 in both the Star-Ledger and Gridiron New Jersey top 20 teams in New Jersey–nothing short of a season-saving effort from Zac Carter & Co. will do if Morristown wants a chance to defend its North 2, Group III title.
As West Morris aims to continue compiling wins on its way to a No. 1 seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and the Colonials fight to stay relevant in the playoff picture, running back Carter is approaching a few individual milestones of his own as he approaches 1,000 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns this season.
Through seven weeks, Carter has carried the ball for 962 yards and 17 TDs, according to NJ.com.
Butler Looks to Improve Playoff Standing
These two cross-town rivals meet up in a Week 8 matchup with spots in the North 1, Group I playoffs at risk.
While a playoff appearance for 5-2 Kinnelon–who currently sits in 12th place in the section according to NJ.com–isn’t likely, Butler looks to improve its current ninth-place position with a win Saturday at home.
After last week's 35-7 loss to division leading Mendham, Butler is saddled with the task of stopping Kinnelon, Hopatcong and Pompton Lakes, three teams that have a combined record of 15-5. While the Bulldogs final game against Pompton Lakes won’t influence its playoff position (only the first eight games get awarded power points), closing the season with wins against quality opponents would certainly help Butler heading into the tournament.
And considering that the Bulldogs' first four wins of the season came against teams with a combined record of 10-25, and a Week 3 59-26 win over Pequannock (5-2) is the Bulldogs' only win against a team with a winning record this season, wins in the final three weeks of the season could play a big role in the Bulldogs' chances this postseason.
Pequannock Faces a 'Must Win' of Its Own
Another big game that will help shape the playoff picture is when division-leading Mountain Lakes hosts Pequannock on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Mountain Lakes recently deposed of Butler, 35-7, in Week 7, staking its claim as the strongest team in the division, and one of the strongest in the Morris County. The Herd currently sit in third place overall in the North 1, Group I playoff picture, according to NJ.com.
And while Pequannock sits in eighth place in the section and comes in as a five-win team, losses to Butler and Kinnelon make this game bigger than ever for the Golden Panthers, which realistically must win if a playoff appearance is to be in their future. Butler is lurking right beneath Pequannock in the standings, and still has an extra game to play.
- Delbarton (7-0) at Randolph (3-4), 7 p.m.
- Boonton (1-6) at Hopatcong (5-2), 7 p.m.
- Chatham (5-2) at Hanover Park (4-3), 7 p.m.
- High Point (2-5) at Mount Olive (2-5), 7 p.m.
- Vernon (4-3) at Jefferson (4-3), 7 p.m.
- Pope John (4-3) at Montville (0-7), 7 p.m.
- Parsippany (0-7) at Lenape Valley (6-1), 7 p.m.
- Morristown-Beard (2-5) at Whippany Park (1-6), 1:30 p.m.
- Wallkill Valley (2-5) at Lawrenceville (3-3), 2 p.m.
- Roxbury (3-4) at Par Hills (5-2), 1 p.m.
- Madison (6-0) at Newton (1-6), 1 p.m.
- Hackettstown (4-3) at Kittatinny (3-4), 1 p.m.