Just because the playoffs are on hiatus for one week as teams prepare for sectional championship games Dec. 2 and 3 doesn't mean that we're without football this Thanksgiving.
As is the case each season, a few teams are getting set to go head-to-head for some holiday games this week, with just one NJAC matchup actually taking place on turkey day.
Butler Heads Into Would-Be-Final
In a way, the Butler football team will head into its own personal state championship game on Wednesday at 5 p.m.—even if the opposing team isn’t fully aware of it.
The Bulldogs are getting set to face Pompton Lakes in their final home game of the season, just days after falling to Glen Rock in the North 1, Group I semifinals.
Lakes, which stopped Saddle Brook 17-14 in the other semifinal matchup last weekend, will face Glen Rock in the North 1, Group I finals, according to NJ.com.
Head coach Jim Matsakis’ team will look to finish its season on the winning end against the team that it would have faced in the sectional finals–an ironic coincidence set up by the scheduling gods.
In what might be the most competitive matchup of the holiday weekend, Butler will need to do its best to stop the arm of quarterback Rob Meyers and the legs of running back Nieko Torres.
According to NJ.com, Meyers has racked up 938 yards and 13 touchdowns, to go along with just two interceptions this season, while Torres has rushed for over 1,600 yards and 23 TDs.
It will be a true test of character to see how Butler responds in this one, after losing its most important game of the 2011 season in heartbreaking fashion last weekend.
Dodgers Look to Remain Perfect
In a tale of two very different teams, Madison will travel to face Millburn on Thursday at 11 a.m.
While the Dodgers have already sealed their second consecutive trip to the North 2, Group II title game, don’t expect head coach Chris Kubik to give his starters time off—unless of course, the Dodgers rack up a big lead.
“We're not [resting starters]," Kubik said after Madison’s semifinal game on Saturday. "We're going to win the game. We're going to play this game [and] if the game gets out of hand then we'll sit some people. We've been beaten by them before a few years ago and we're playing for 12-0.”
This should come as no surprise, as Kubik’s Dodgers were in the same position last season entering a Thanksgiving Day game against Millburn. Kubik started his regulars for that one as well, who racked up a 62-12 lead, before swapping in some backups.
For Millburn, this annual holiday matchup is a way for the Millers to earn win No. 3 on the season, and end their season with a big-time upset against a very good team.
It’s the same old song and dance for a Dodger opponent, as the Millers will try to stop the rushing attack of Justin Goodwin–he’s 17, everybody relax–and Shone Register.
Delbarton Gets Set for Rescheduled Game
Another team headed for a state sectional final in two weeks, the Delbaton Green Wave, get a chance to move one step closer to a perfect season as well, as they get set for Randolph High in a game that was originally scheduled to take place in Week 8, but was rescheduled to Friday at 7 p.m. in Randolph, due to the pre-Halloween snow storm.
Randolph struggled to a 4-5 mark in 2011, but a win over Delbarton could help take away the pain of missing the playoffs this season–just a little bit.
It's unclear if Delbarton, which will look to earn its first Non-Public Group III title since 1998 on Dec. 3 against St. Joseph (Montvale), will rest its starters for the game or take the “Kubik approach.” But this is an American Division matchup, so it seems doubtful for Delbarton to roll over.
About this column: Each week Patch takes a look ahead at the important football games set to take place in the local NJAC area, and beyond.