BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. -- When the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association ((NJSIAA) realigned the football conferences coming into the 2016 season, it created several new alignments, and some odd geographic match-ups.
At the halfway point of the high school football season, it is time to a look at how Bergen County schools are impacting the division races in the 2016 North Jersey Super Conference.
Freedom Blue -- Fair Lawn’s (2-1, 4-1) feel good start under new coach Rob Gentile came to a crashing halt last week when they traveled to conference rival Old Tappan (1-0, 3-2) and got handled 48-14. The Cuttters still have a game with highly-respected conference favorite Northern Highlands (2-0, 4-1) November 5 in Fair Lawn. Old Tappan has Teaneck (0-2, 1-3) this week before their showdown with Northern Highlands, who is coming off a 22-14 home loss to Wayne Valley. Old Tappan’s two losses on the season, were to Wayne Hills and Ridgewood, and if such a thing existed, could be considered good losses.
Patriot Blue -- Demarest (2-0, 4-1) and Paramus (2-0, 3-2) sit atop this division. The Norsemen crushed Indian Hills (0-5) in a non-divisional game a week ago, and get winless Pascack Valley (0-5) this week. Paramus awaits in two weeks in a game that most likely will determine the division champ. Winners of their last three games, the Paladins face off against Ramapo (2-1, 3-2) who has also won three straight games. Another loss would eliminate Ramapo from the division champion picture. In between their rival atop the standings, a game with Snyder (1-2, 3-2) sits in the middle. You would have to ask the NJSIAA what a Jersey City school is doing in with these teams. Englewood (1-2,1-4) and Tenafly (0-3,0-4) pull up the rear.
Patriot Gold -- River Dell (3-0, 4-1), always a contender for the state title, sits atop this grouping, and can effectively clinch the title with a win over Ridgefield Park (2-0, 5-1) this week. Then again, the Scarlets are trying to bounce back from a thrashing from Westwood (42-0) a week ago, and might have other ideas. A win would put them in strong position, with games against Pascack Valley (0-1,0-5) and Bergenfield (1-1, 2-3) coming up on the schedule.
American Gold -- Mahwah (3-0,4-1) sits in the driver’s seat in this race due to the season-opening win over Westwood (2-1, 3-2). Ramsey (1-0, 3-3) , due to a scheduling quirk, has three straight conference games to finish the up year, facing Pascack Hills (0-2, 1-4) before travelling to Westwood and hosting Mahwah. A three game win streak would give them the title.
United Red -- The province of the Parochial powers, Don Bosco (3-3, 1-0) , sits atop the conference with a .500 record overall, despite having not lost a game in NJ. They will have to run the gauntlet of Paramus Catholic (1-1, 5-1), Bergen Catholic (1-1, 4-1) and St. Peter’s Prep (0-2,4-1) to end the season. Anyone overlooking St. Joseph’s Montvale (1-1, 3-2) will be sadly mistaken. If you think this sounds like the Non-Public Group 4 playoffs, you would not be wrong, as these teams are all atop the rankings, and there will surely be rematches somewhere down the line.