After top-seeded Rutherford was knocked out by Lyndhurst, there was a thought that it may be the Golden Bears' championship to lose.
Then after Weequahic blew by Lyndhurst, 53-14, second-seeded New Providence figured to be the new favorite. That was until the Pioneers were upset by Cedar Grove, 20-14, setting up an improbable and intriguing North 2 Group 1 final between No. 3 Cedar Grove vs. No. 4 Weequahic.
The Indians of Weequahic were in danger of not even making the state playoffs after dropping two of the first three games of the season. Coach Brian Logan did a fantastic job rallying his team though, as Weequahic would go on to win its next eight games including close affairs over Verona and Caldwell.
Now Weequahic will ride a huge wave of momentum into the playoffs and following its blowout of Lyndhurst, confidence has to be high for Logan’s boys.
The team is led by senior quarterback Will Robinson, a dual threat quarterback who has gotten better with each passing game, playing his best football down the stretch. Robinson has limited turnovers in the Indians pass-heavy offense and has made big plays in crunch time all year.
In the win against Lyndhurst, Robinson went for 260 yards through the air, three passing touchdowns and added a fourth on the ground. It capped off an unbelievable stretch for Robinson who passed for 13 touchdowns and ran for five more during the Indians win streak.
Cedar Grove boasts a very potent offense and signal caller as well with very talented, but young quarterback Joe Slattery under center. As only a sophomore Slattery has thrown touchdown passes in every game except one for the Panthers and has found pay dirt five times on the ground.
A bruising offensive line supports the Panthers aerial attack and the three headed rushing attack of Charlie Dorman, Joe Balestrieri and Joe McShane have combined for 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground to balance the offense for Cedar Grove.
Scoring has not been an issue for either team this year as Cedar Grove and Weequahic averaged 31.4 and 38 points per game, respectively, so it may be which defense steps up that determines this game.
During the year both defenses were exploited at times for big point totals, and on a whole Weequahic’s unit was a touchdown better by allowing 12.3 points a game to Cedar Grove’s 18.4. Expect these two teams to light up the MetLife Stadium scoreboard.
THE PICK: Weequahic 41, Cedar Grove 38
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