Hoboken is a lock in the North Jersey Section 2, Group I bracket, having won four games and having a commanding lead in power points, 34-18 over closest competitor Cedar Grove. Surprising Secaucus, off to the best start in Charlie Voorhees' coaching career, is third in the same section with 15 points.
But the Red Wings have already secured a playoff berth, and if things continue to progress the way they have, they should be the top seed in the section, which means home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The North Bergen Bruins, who are also enjoying their best season in recent years, are sitting in good position in a highly competitive North Jersey Section 1, Group IV bracket. The undefeated Bruins, who have been receiving great play from quarterback William Macias over the last two weeks, throwing for five touchdown passes, sit in sixth position with 35 points, but trail the sectional leader, Morristown, by only seven points. It's that close.
A win here and there against a quality opponent and the Bruins could also have a chance to earning a top-seed in the playoffs. Getting a home game in the first round is always a goal to shoot for and almost a must in that brutally competitive section that includes state-ranked powers Ridgewood and Hackensack.
The other local team in fine shape is St. Peter's Prep, which sits atop the Parochial Group 4 bracket right now with a state-best 49 points. The 5-0 Marauders, who more than likely have already clinched a berth in the playoffs, but haven't done so officially, have to continue to win to maintain the home field advantage and the top seed. The Marauders can take a huge step this weekend with a victory over a tough Bayonne squad.
The last two seasons, the high-powered Marauders had to go on the road for the sectional semifinals to face Don Bosco Prep. Considering that Don Bosco and Bergen Catholic have already suffered setbacks this season, it would be very prudent for the Marauders to maintain their winning ways to secure home field this time around.
Hudson Catholic is in strong shape in Parochial Group 4, sitting sixth with 32 points, although the Hawks will have a tough game with undefeated Hoboken this weekend. Hudson Catholic will need at least two more wins to get into the state playoff picture.
The other local school in good position for the state playoffs is Marist. Although 3-2, the Royal Knights apparently need only one more win to qualify for the Parochial Group 2 group, a bracket that will apparently fall way short in getting teams to reach the .500 mark.
So one more win for the Knights and their standout running back Shariff Harris and they're in as well.
Three other local schools are still in contention, but will need help. Crosstown rivals Emerson and Union Hill are both 2-2 and have 15 points in the North Jersey Section 2, Group III bracket. Emerson took a drop down to Group III this year.
Both are currently in eighth place in that bracket and will need considerable help in terms of their own wins and wins of other teams in order to qualify.
The other team in need of help is Bayonne, which sits in seventh place at 3-2 with 21 points, but has some tough games upcoming and will need to pull an upset or two to get into the North Jersey Section 2, Group IV playoff mix.
The Emerson High School soccer team continues its ascent toward the HCIAA Coviello playoffs with a big win over rival Union Hill last Monday. In that game, converted midfielder Daniel Mezzina continued his brilliant play at forward, scoring four goals. Mezzina now has 16 goals for the season.
Former St. Dominic Academy track standout Liane Sullivan Rae was the winner of the recent Portland (Ore.) Marathon, completing the race in 2:48.50. Sullivan, a member of the SDA Class of 1990, was the top female finisher in the race in Portland, where she now resides with her husband and family.
The third annual Stephen P. Gaffney Memorial 5K Run/Walk will be held on Saturday in Verona on the Memorial Green at 8:30 a.m.
The USATF sanctioned run/walk begins with registration at 7:30 a.m. with T-shirts given to the first 300 participants. Water and energy snacks will be offered before the run and promptly after the race/walk, prizes will be given out for the best time achieved for the top three males and females. The 5K route highlights prominent places in Stephen P. Gaffney's youth and is USATF approved this year.
Corporal Stephen P. Gaffney, a native of Jersey City who served in the United States Marine Corps, died in a car accident on October 16, 2001, while on active duty stationed in North Carolina.
In memory, the Gaffney family and friends created the SPG Memorial Scholarship Fund, to benefit a graduating senior at Verona High School, his alma mater.
For more information about the run/walk, log on to http://www.geocities.com/spgmemorial or via email at email@example.com. --Jim Hague