In sports, there's nothing worse than losing, but few things are better than a rematch — in the playoffs, at that. Several teams have this opportunity for revenge as we enter the second round of the New Jersey football postseason, so let's get to it:
St. Peter's Prep at Bergen Catholic
The last time Bergen Catholic took the field, it defeated St. Peter's Prep, 28-17. After the Crusaders had a first-round bye, St. Peter's Prep will once again occupy the opposite sideline with a trip to the Non-Public Group 4 championship (likely to face national No. 1 Don Bosco Prep) on the line. St. Peter's Prep has made great strides since 0-2 start, but the Marauders had trouble slowing BC in critical moments. The Crusaders used big plays (93-yard TD on opening kickoff, two forced fumbles, fourth-quarter scoring drive to create cushion) to control their last contest. If the Marauders can't seize control of the game early, the result will remain the same.
My pick: Bergen Catholic 27, St. Peter's Prep 20
Old Tappan at Pascack Valley
Old Tappan pulled off the upset last week by beating higher-seeded Sparta, 40-14. But few were surprised, what with the Golden Knights boasting do-everything QB Devin Fuller. Now they have a chance to avenge a season-opening, 30-28 loss to Pascack Valley. The Golden Knights are a much different team now. They're healthier (Fuller has recovered from turf toe and WR John Trainor is back from a collarbone injury) and more confident (five straight wins after a 1-3 start). Still, the Indians have their share of weapons in RB Jordan Roses (909 rushing yards) and have been consistent all year. Should be a good one.
My pick: Old Tappan 31, Pascack Valley 27
Sayreville at South Brunswick
South Brunswick helped establish itself as a legitimate contender by knocking off Sayreville, 14-7, to open the season. Eight straight wins later, the Vikings face Sayreville again under much bigger circumstances. Delon Stephenson has helped Sayreville right the ship after an 0-2 start, but South Brunswick still boasts a strong playmaker in RB Jevon Tyree. Whichever team can eliminate the other from making big plays will be the key to this one.
My pick: South Brunswick 17, Sayreville 14
Red Bank Catholic at Delbarton
After beginning the season 9-0, one of these teams will go with its first loss and nothing to show for a solid year. That's the tragic beauty of the playoffs. Red Bank Catholic is looking to continue its resurgence after winning its first playoff game since 1998. The Delbarton offense is explosive — witnessed by its five occasions of putting up 40-plus points this year — and defense is stingy – evidenced by the 8.7 points per game it's allowed. But the Red Bank Catholic offensive line is imposing, opening holes for talented tailback John DiStefano, who has racked up 1,517 yards and 23 scores this year. Which team will bend and which team will break?
My pick: Delbarton 35, Red Bank Catholic 28
Brandon Parker covers New Jersey for ESPNHS magazine and ESPNHIGHSCHOOL.com. Follow him on Twitter @brandoncparker or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.