Park Ridge will play for the NJIC Patriot Division B title Friday night at Emerson, but the big picture is more intriguing for a team that was 2-8 last season.

The Owls (3-1) still are on the outside in a deep North 1, Group 1 playoff race, but a win against the unbeaten Cavos will go a long way toward shuffling the deck. Twelve teams are .500 or better, including five unbeaten teams, with four weeks until the cutoff, so the Owls have a great chance to determine their future.

“We�ve come a long way, but we still have a long road ahead,” said Park Ridge coach Gary Mioli. “We just keep telling them, �Guys, you just have to win to have a shot,� but we can�t afford to look far ahead.”

Park Ridge plays a much-improved Waldwick/Midland Park (Group 2 team) next week, then faces Cresskill, one of the favorites in the section, on the road Oct. 22. What happens Friday will determine just how big that matchup can be with the Cougars.