As it stands now, six Hudson County football teams seem to be headed toward clinching berths in the NJSIAA football playoffs, which will be secured after action this weekend.
Some teams appear to be locked into berths already, while others are clawing for every last power point in order to secure a spot in next weekend's first-round state playoff action.
Let's take a closer look.
In North Jersey Section 1, Group IV, both North Bergen and Memorial have berths in the section locked up, regardless of what happens this weekend. Both the Bruins and Tigers have tough opponents this week, with the Bruins facing undefeated local rival St. Peter's Prep and Memorial traveling west to face Hunterdon Central.
Before action this weekend, Memorial and North Bergen are tied for the top power point spot in the Group IV section with 66 points, followed by two-time defending champion Hackensack and pre-season favorite Teaneck.
The Bulldogs of Emerson are seventh with 36 power points and will once again need a victory this weekend against Bayonne to get into the state playoffs. The same scenario was played out a year ago, with Emerson needing a win over Bayonne to get in. The Bulldogs beat Bayonne, but then had the tables turned on them a week later, when the Bees upended Emerson in the first round of the sectional playoffs.
Union Hill has a 4-3 record, but won't get enough points to qualify for the playoffs, even with a win against Snyder.
So in the Group IV sectional, North Bergen and Memorial are locks to get in, with either clinching home field throughout the playoffs with a win this weekend. Emerson is close, but will need the win over Bayonne.
In Group II, Hoboken has a commanding 15-point lead over Hopatcong, which has already played its eight allotted games. So despite what happens with the Red Wings this weekend against winless Marist, the Red Wings will have the top seed and home field advantage throughout the sectional.
In Group I, Secaucus sits seventh with 24 power points, nine behind sixth-place Westwood. The Patriots are in a battle with three other teams for the seventh and eighth playoff berths in Group I (Midland Park, Hasbrouck Heights and Emerson Borough still have hopes), so the Patriots desperately need a win against a 3-4 Wallington team this weekend to get in.
In the Parochial Group IV bracket, undefeated St. Peter's Prep currently sits second behind Notre Dame of Trenton, but ND has played its allotted eight games, so the Marauders will secure the top seed in perhaps the toughest bracket in the state with a win over North Bergen.
Also in the same bracket are such powerhouse teams as Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco Prep, Holy Cross of Delran, Delbarton and Seton Hall Prep. That is clearly the most talented sectional in New Jersey.
So the Marauders can make their lives a little easier by nailing down the top seed and making the route to the Parochial Group IV title go through Jersey City.
All in all, six Hudson County teams appear playoff-bound. Four are already in, with Emerson and Secaucus controlling their own fate. Makes for an interesting final week of the football regular season.
We'll have the playoff matchups and previews in next week's editions...
Tyrell Dortch's lost sophomore season at Michigan State came to a stunning end last weekend, when the former Hoboken High School All-American suffered a broken tibia and fibula in his lower right leg, albeit playing defensive back against Wisconsin.
With the shorthanded Spartans already down two starting cornerbacks due to broken ankles, Dortch, who was a fine defender in high school, was inserted into the lineup at cornerback for last weekend's game.
After ending the first half with a spectacular interception, Dortch tried to break up a pass in the end zone, but landed awkwardly on his right leg. He was immediately in pain and motioned to the sideline that he was in trouble.
Dortch was taken away in an ambulance and remained hospitalized in a Madison, Wis. hospital after extensive surgery to repair the break. Dortch's family flew to Wisconsin soon after the game to be with him. He will begin rehabilitation in a few months, but will miss the remainder of the season.
Dortch was seeing very little time at running back for the Spartans, playing behind pro prospect T.J. Duckett and talented reserve Littlejohn Flowers. He had 57 yards on nine carries in six games before the injury...
Congrats to the Secaucus volleyball team for winning yet another Hudson County Invitational tournament last weekend, defeating Memorial in the finale. It marked the 10th straight year that Maria Nolan's team won the Hudson County title...
The Final Four of the HCIAA boys' soccer tournament should be a good one, with St. Peter's Prep, Hudson Catholic, Emerson and North Bergen all advancing to Sunday's semifinals. It still looks like the Marauders and their tag-team tandem of Brett Prime and Tom Schmitt in goal appear to be the favorites to win the title...
SPC's Katie Kopacz continues to amaze as one of the best collegiate long distance runners around. Kopacz won her second straight MAAC championship last weekend at Van Cortland Park in New York, finishing the 3.1 miles in 18:07.4. Kopacz, who never ran competitively before college, was named the race's Most Valuable Female Runner...
Jersey City's Rodrick Rhodes was the final cut by the Cleveland Cavaliers in an attempt to make it back to the NBA. Former St. Anthony teammate Roshown McLeod was placed on the injured list by the Boston Celtics...
Congrats to Jersey Journal sportswriter Mike Rowan on his induction into the St. Peter's College Hall of Fame this weekend. It's a long-overdue honor.
Now, do you think the powers-that-be at SPC will do the right thing and induct former basketball coach Ted Fiore and show everyone that we can all get along?...