After snapping a 12-year playoff drought by qualifying for the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 5 tournament last season, North Hunterdon will aim to make a second straight postseason appearance in 2015. That path may appear a bit easier after the NJSIAA released its 2015 football classifications on Monday, bumping North Hunterdon into North Jersey, Section 2, Group 4.
But with several other big changes around the section, it is clear that North Hunterdon’s potential playoff road won’t be much easier. Several other big additions highlight a completely revamped section that returns just seven teams that belonged to the section in 2014.
In 2014, North Hunterdon was the fourth smallest school in New Jersey to be slotted in Group 5, and now the Lions fall just below the threshold to become one of the state’s largest Group 4 teams. With the divisional slate they play, the Lions would be well-prepared if they reach the postseason.
“With schedule that we play, moving down into Group 4, there’s still a lot of stiff competition in that section,” North Hunterdon coach Jared Mazzetta said. “Last year we were an eighth seed in Group 5, so we’re looking to carry on that and one of our program goals is to get to the playoffs every year.”
Along with North Hunterdon, North 2, Group 4 added several new high-profile programs in the latest classification, giving the section a revamped look and potentially one of the deepest fields in the state.
Middletown South makes the jump from Central Jersey, Group 4, where the Eagles lost a heartbreaker to Jackson Memorial in the 2014 final. Middletown South brings back plenty of talent from that team, and enters this fall with the potential to be one of the state’s top public programs.
Summit, which own nine sectional titles, including the 2012 and 2013 North 2, Group 3 crowns, makes the jump into North 2, Group 4. Four-time state champion Sayreville, the Central Jersey, Group 4 title winners from 2010-2012, was reclassified from Central Jersey, Group 5.
Those additions alone make the section deep, but North 2, Group 4 is still home to the section is still home to the defending champion, Phillipsburg, and runner-up, Colonia.
Here’s a full breakdown of North 2, Group 4, comparing 2014 to 2015. Only seven teams appeared in the section in both seasons.
Newark East Side
West Windsor-Plainsboro North
West Windsor-Plainsboro South