TASTY TIDBITS Boys’ soccer finale set: NB vs. Prep Sunday

State grid playoff power points; grid performances; Character No. 4; top fives

The Hudson County boys’ soccer tournament championship game should be a fine one with two evenly matched teams.

Top-seeded North Bergen, with a 12-3-1 record, will face second-seeded St. Peter’s Prep, with a 13-3-1 record, Sunday at Harrison High School at 2 p.m.

The game was originally scheduled for Caven Point Cochrane Stadium, but was moved because it is Prep’s home field.

What makes this game extremely bizarre is that the two teams will play each other again in a regular season game next Friday, Oct. 28, in North Bergen. That will be the Bruins’ final game for the season because they have been disqualified from the NJSIAA playoffs due to excessive red card ejections.

The last time those two teams met in the county title game was a few years ago in a game also played at Harrison, plagued by very blustery conditions, namely cold and wind. It hampered the game. Weekend weather reports are not favorable, but the temperatures should not be sub-freezing, like they were the last time the two programs met in the county title game, a match won by North Bergen…

Bayonne tries to stop Kearny from winning an eighth straight girls’ soccer county title in the first game of the championship doubleheader Sunday at noon in Harrison…

The NJSIAA football playoff picture is getting a little clearer now as we approach the final two weeks before qualifying.

In Non-Public Group 4, St. Peter’s Prep moved all the way up to No. 3 in the power point standings with 94 points, trailing Paramus Catholic and St. Augustine Prep.

In Non-Public Group 2, Hudson Catholic is third with 83.5 points and St. Anthony is looking good for a playoff berth, sitting sixth with a 5-1 record and 55 power points.

In North 1, Group V, Union City is third with 85 points, behind Ridgewood and Passaic County Tech. North Bergen is 3-3 and in eighth place with 58 points. The Bruins need a win in the last two games to sneak in.

In North 2, Group I, defending champ Hoboken is once again in the mix with 50 points and a 3-3 record. They need a win to secure a home game in the playoffs and another Friday Night Lights at JFK Stadium. Secaucus has 24 points with a 2-3 record. The Patriots are still alive in 10th place, but need a lot of help.

In North 2, Group III, it appears as if Snyder is heading to the state playoffs after a 26-year absence. The 4-2 Tigers have 50 points, which is good for fourth place behind Ridgefield Park, West Essex and Morris Hills. Coach Ray Marshall is walking on water with that program.

In North 2, Group V, Bayonne is fourth with 59 points, trailing Bridgewater-Raritan, Westfield and Ridge.

And in Central Jersey Group 2, Lincoln is currently fourth with 67 points, trailing Roselle, Point Pleasant Borough and Bernards. It’s still astounding how a Jersey City school could be considered as Central Jersey in the eyes of the NJSIAA. No one can answer that…

In terms of individual achievement last week, St. Anthony’s Khalil Vance had 221 yards rushing in the Friars’ win over Morris Catholic; Algenis Baret of Bayonne continued his fine season with 255 yards rushing and three TDs; Bryan Padron of Weehawken had 186 yards, Nolan Burns of Snyder had 172 yards and three TDs and Union City’s Harrison Fernandez had 163 yards and five TDs in the Soaring Eagles win over Memorial. Another week and that’s Athlete of the Week material…

It’s time for Character No. 4 in the list of the all-time Sports Characters in Hudson County sports over the last 25 years and it’s none other than the late Phil “Doc” Miller.

Doc Miller was the legendary athletic trainer/equipment guru for several local schools, but most notably with the St. Peter’s Prep football team and the St. Anthony basketball team.

He had a most unconventional way of doing things and treating athletes. When St. Peter’s Prep defeated Seton Hall Prep in the ankle deep mud in Caven Point, before the days of FieldTurf at the facility, players like Prep’s Pedro Cirino were able to run through the muck and goop and the Pony Pirates were sloshing around with no traction.

As it turned out, Doc sprayed the Marauders’ cleats with the cooking aid Pam before they went out on the field and it made the mud run right off. When a player asked him how did he know about that trick, Doc responded, “Hey, I’m Phil Miller.”

Doc also treated St. Anthony star guard Rashon Burno’s heel spur by cutting a tampon in half and putting it in his shoe.

There was no one like Doc and there never will be. He was in a class by himself and could take up this entire column with Doc Miller stories. But for now, he’s No. 4 here. Getting to the real cream of the crop now…

In closing, deepest condolences to the Gaughan family on the passing of former Jersey City Councilman and Hudson County Chief of Staff Bill Gaughan Tuesday. Not only was Bill a great politician for almost 25 years, but he was also an avid sports fan and supporter, especially his beloved sport of boxing. Everyone lost a dear friend but the sport of boxing lost its biggest advocate. Rest in peace…

Hudson Reporter H.S. Football Top Five: 1. St. Peter’s Prep (5-1). 2. Union City (5-1). 3. Hoboken (3-3). 4. Lincoln (4-2). 5. Hudson Catholic (5-1).

Hudson Reporter H.S. Boys’ Soccer Top Five: 1. North Bergen (12-3-1). 2. St. Peter’s Prep (13-3-1). 3. Bayonne (11-3-1). 4. Secaucus (11-5). 5. Union City (8-6). – Jim Hague

Jim Hague can be reached via e-mail at OGSMAR@aol.com

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