HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ - A Friday night without football in October. How can this be?
Due to a unique set of circumstances, both Hasbrouck Heights (bye week) and Wood-Ridge (game rescheduled for Saturday) high school team are off this Friday. But it does not mean it is not a big weekend for both teams, nor the rest of the NJIC football league.
Let’s start with Wood-Ridge. Saturday afternoon the Blue Devils travel to Wallington in a game that has huge implications for both team’s potential state playoff chances. The winner of the game will finish third in the Patriot Division, the loser fourth during the regular season. Both teams will advance to the League Crossover Bowl games the following week. But the opponents will be very different.
The winner will play the third, then second, place team in the Meadowlands Division. The loser will play the fourth, then fifth place team. The difference in how power points, and opponent strength index measures those two scenarios is huge. Most likely, a team losing to a second place team will do better in the rankings than beating a fifth place team.
While the second place team in the Meadowlands has been set (Hasbrouck Heights) the rest of the spots will be determined this weekend. Third and fourth place will be set on Friday night, when Becton travels to Butler. The winner gets third, the loser gets fourth. Fifth and sixth will be determined when Saddle Brook goes to North Arlington.
The last cross-over game for Meadowlands Division teams occurs on Friday evening as well, as Cresskill travels to Emerson. A win for Cresskill will be a big step retaining the North Group 1 ranking. A win for Emerson, currently sixth, could propel them over Hasbrouck Heights (fifth) into the top five.
Hasbrouck Heights will be travelling up to Emerson a week from Friday in the first week of the crossover games. The Aviators will host the winner of the Saturday’s Wood-Ridge/Wallington game.
In other divisions, Garfield travels to Waldwick to determine the Colonial Division champion in a battle of 5-0 teams. The winner will join Cresskill, Lyndhurst and Park Ridge in the championship round next Friday, with Cresskill travelling to Park Ridge and Lyndhurst playing host to Garfield/Waldwick winner.
High school football has become a three-part season in NJIC. The regular season, the cross-over season, and the state playoffs. Each one determines who you will play next. Starting Friday night, every game you play, is the most important one you will play all season. Until the next one.
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