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HS football’s Players of the Week: Our picks in every N.J. conference for Week 8 logo 10/27/2021 Andrew Koob,

The 2021 N.J. football postseason is looming and both players and programs need to step their games up.

The players listed below did just that and so much more.

Scroll through below to see the Week 8 Players of the Week in each of the state’s five conferences and check out who shined under the brightest of spotlights.

Big Central Conference

Quasim Ashford, Franklin, RB/LB, Jr.

After his squad was held to three touchdowns combined over the previous two games, Ashford scored three himself to steer the Warriors to their first victory this season, 34-27, over Plainfield on Friday. Ashford rushed 34 times for 212 yards and scored on carries of 8, 14 and 51 yards. He also caught two passes from Samuel Mattia for 18 yards. Ashford has scored eight of Franklin’s 15 TDs this season.

Zaon Laney, Rahway, RB/LB, Sr.

Laney tied his career high with his third touchdown of the game late in the third quarter Friday against South Plainfield, then established a new personal mark with a 13-yard run late in the fourth to rally the Indians, 35-28. Laney carried 32 times for 287 yards, caught two passes from Amir Robinson for 67 yards and also had four tackles as Rahway (3-4) won for the third time in four games.when he snapped a tie game with a 13-yard run late in the fourth

Anthony Robinson, Scotch Plains-Fanwood, RB/LB, Sr.

One week after his team fell surprisingly to Montgomery, Robinson was the chain mover Scotch Plains desperately need against favored Woodbridge on Friday. He carried 21 times for 212 yards and matched his season best with three touchdowns in a 34-33 upset. Robinson scored two fourth-quarter TDs in that game, the second with just over one minute left for a 34-27 lead. He also caught two passes for 40 yards and recorded seven tackles on defense.

Matt Yascko, Edison, QB, Jr.

Yascko was close to perfect Friday night at the controls of the offense, completing 20 of 23 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-7 win over Hunterdon Central. With that bounty, the junior surpassed 1,000 yards passing for this season while leading the Eagles (5-3) to their third victory in four games. Yascko hit Malcolm Stansbury twice for scores and Jaden Peart and Kevin Smith once each.

Stephen Young, Middlesex, QB/DB, Sr.

One week after a shutout loss to St. Thomas Aquinas, Young navigated the Blue Jays back to .500 at 4-4 by flashing his speed and hitting several timely passes in a 28-20 victory over Metuchen. Young ran the ball 10 times for 115 yards and two touchdowns completed 3 of 5 passes for 76 yards with a TD pass to Chris Hopf. Young, who helped the Blue Jays win the Group 1 baseball title last June and also plays basketball, has steered the team to three wins in the last four outings.

North Jersey Interscholastic League

Jesus Aponte, Pompton Lakes, WR/DB, Sr.

”I’ve never seen a player have a game like that” is what coach Scott Mahoney said Saturday after Aponte intercepted five passes and starred on both sides of the ball in a 35-21 win over Garfield. Aponte returned one of the five for a touchdown and also finished with 10 tackles. Offensively, Aponte caught five passes for 101 yards and another TD.

Bobby Battipede, Butler, QB, So.

Battipede accounted for all four of Butler’s touchdowns in a 31-20 victory over North Arlington on Saturday. The sophomore passer threw three touchdowns and ran for 119 yards and a touchdown. The win pulled Butler back to .500 and in position to qualify for the playoffs as the No. 13 team out of 16 qualifiers in North, Group 1

Shore Conference

Matt Dollive, Wall, RB, Sr.

The 6-foot-1, 193-pounder rushed for 140 yards on 11 carries leading Wall (4-3) to a 42-14 win over Middletown North — its fourth win in its last five games. Dollive scored two TDS and led a Wall attack that ran for 200 or more yards for the fifth time this season. Dollive also caught a pass for 12 yards.

Kamore Gill, Freehold Borough QB/WR/DB, Sr.

Video: James Franklin needs a win more than any coach in the nation this weekend | College Football Enquirer (Yahoo! Sports)

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Gill showed off his spectacular versatility in a 34-21 road victory at Holmdel (3-4) last Friday. Gill, who was the starting quarterback for Freehold, moved back to wide receiver for much of the game and toasted the Hornets. He caught 11 passes for 129 yards and a TD. He ran twice for 68 yards on seven carried with two more TDs. He also went 2 for 2 passing for 38 yards. Gill also chipped in with 11 tackles on defense for Freehold Borough (4-4).

Tai Mann, Jackson Memorial, QB/DB, Jr.

Mann’s exceptional performance on both sides of the ball powered the Jaguars (2-6) to a 14-8 upset of Brick Township and their second-straight victory. Mann passed for 56 yards and one touchdown. He gained 47 yards on the ground, scored the game-tying, two-point conversion then provided the game-winning TD in overtime. On the defensive side, he made 11 tackles.

Brett Patten, Manasquan, QB, Jr.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder ran for two TDs — including what proved to be the game winner — and passed for two others helping Manasquan (5-2) stave off cross-river-rival Point Pleasant Boro, 35-30, last Friday night. His two TD passes — one each to Cole Kozlowski and Robert Pendergist covered 27 and 31 yards. He connected with Kozlowski on another screen pass that went for 82 yards. Patten scored on a 1-yard run and then an 8-yard run that provided the decisive points.

John Runfolo, Colts Neck, DB, Sr.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder raced in and blocked a potential game-tying field goal with only seconds remaining helping preserve Colts Neck’s 24-21 win over intradistrict rival Howell. Howell regained possession with 1:29 left and marched into field goal position where Runfolo made his decisive play.

Super Football Conference

Jordan Augustin, Weequahic, OL/DL, Sr.

The 6-3, 270-pound Augustin led the push for an offense that rolled up almost 500 yards and anchored the defense with 11 tackles Saturday in the Indians’ 14-13 upset over Summit. Weequahic(4-3) , a team heavily populated by sophomore and juniors, have relied upon Agustin’s force and leadership to win three of its last four games and two straight. In those four games, Augustin compiled 37 tackles, nine of them for losses. He had two tackles for losses against Summit.

Ryan Butler, Bergen Catholic, RB, Sr.

Butler’s torrid pace through the 2021 season—and nearly every defense he and the Bergen Catholic offense has come up against—continued on the biggest of stages yet in the Crusaders’ 38-28 win over Seton Hall Prep. Butler punished the Prep’s defense with a season-high 232 rushing yards and a trio of touchdowns to keep thoughts of an unbeaten season on Oradell Ave. alive with just one more regular-season game left on its schedule for the trek through the Non-Public A postseason.

Robbie Carcich, Westwood, QB, So.

Carcich racked up nearly 400 yards of offense to lead Westwood to its fifth straight win Friday when the Cardinals defeated Demarest, 49-28. Carcich carried 20 times for 211 yards and two touchdowns while passing for 186 more and two more scores. He completed 17 of his 20 attempts, a week after going a perfect 10-for-10 passing in a win against West Milford. With a 6-2 record, Westwood ranks sixth in the North, Group 2 playoff standings with another big test coming Friday against 7-1 Lincoln. Carcich, in his first year starting, has accounted for 1,915 yards of offense and 23 touchdowns.

Luke Szabo, Sparta, WR, Sr.

After a 2-game losing streak to open the season, Sparta has been on a roll and the aerial attack, led by Szabo in the receiving corps, has been a major reason why the Spartans are back to looking like a major contender in Group 3. This past week, a 41-17 win over Morris Hills, was another example with Szabo catching just 6 receptions but making the most of those to the tune of 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. After entering last week’s game against Mendham with just 2 career touchdowns, Szabo has now posted multiple receiving TDs in consecutive weeks.

Dom Verducci, Parsippany Hills, QB/LB, Sr.

Verducci has held many titles throughout his tenure in Morris County but you can add ‘jack of all trades’ if that wasn’t already on there. Verducci, the RB-turned-QB for the Vikings did a bit of everything in a 42-14 womping of Chatham where the senior signal caller collected 243 yards of total offense with 4 total touchdowns. He even was a major presence on the other side of the ball, intercepting a pass and recording a sack to go along with 3 tackles.

West Jersey Football League

Tommy Arcaroli, Cherry Hill West, TE/LB, Jr.

Arcaroli, a junior linebacker, delivered a career performance as Cherry Hill West won its first game of the season, 17-8, over Atlantic City. Arcaroli finished with 17 tackles, including 12 solo and three for loss. He also contributed a sack and fumble recovery to the dominating defensive performance.

Turner Inge, Williamstown, RB/LB, Sr.

A Villanova commit, Inge got it done on both sides of the ball in a 28-6 Williamstown win over Vineland that stopped a three-game losing streak. Inge ran 24 times for 216 yards and a pair of touchdowns and on defense led the way with 14 tackles, including seven solo.

Amare Smith, Salem, WR/LB, Jr.

Salem rolled to a 48-13 win over rival Penns Grove, and Smith led the way on offense and defense. The linebacker contributed 10 tackles, forced two fumbles, recovered a fumble and added a pair of sacks. On offense, Smith caught two passes for 75 yards.

Tyree Thomas, Paulsboro, Sr., QB

Woodstown had allowed just 14 points all season until arriving in Paulsboro where Thomas had one of the biggest days of his career. The senior was 15-of-23 for 243 yards and four touchdowns, including a back-breaker on the final play of the first half. He added a touchdown run to account for five touchdowns overall as the Red Raiders rolled to a 35-8 victory and outright West Jersey Football League Diamond Division title.

Danny Wershing, Hightstown, Sr., QB

Wershing helped Hightstown keep its Group 4 playoff hopes alive by producing seven touchdowns in a 62-22 victory over West Windsor-Plainsboro. Wershing was 11-of-14 for 292 yards with over half his throws – six – going for touchdowns. He also ran for a score in the dominating victory.

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The following football writers contributed to this report: Joe Zedalis ( Andrew Koob (; Bill Evans (; Pat Lanni (; Kevin Minnick ( and Mike Kinney (


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