There are a handful of players in South Jersey enjoying tremendous seasons.
Included on that list has to be Cedar Creek High School junior Bo Melton.
Every week, the talented slot back/defensive back is producing at a high level on both sides of the ball for the No. 13 Pirates.
“He’s the man. His play is phenomenal,” coach Tim Watson said. “In the first game he made a couple of plays that were almost at another level and he hasn’t slowed down since. It looks like he’s toying with people, even with his blocking and hesitation moves.”
Melton has 22 catches for 626 yards and nine touchdowns, an average of 28.5 yards per catch. He’s also rushed for 411 yards and five TDs on 62 carries.
“We even have some packages with him at quarterback,” Watson added.
In last week’s win over Middle Township, Melton scored on a 26-yard run as well as catches of 8, 40 and 56 yards.
On his 56-yard reception, the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder dragged a defender the final 10 yards. Video of the play went viral. It was seen on SportsCenter and can be found on a host of web sites.
“We sent it out and kids have been tweeting about it. It’s blown up,” Watson said.
Melton has an offer from Old Dominion but will likely receive a lot more in the coming weeks.
“I think he’s going to blow up and get some bigger offers,” Watson said. “He could project as a big-time corner with his size.
“He’s becoming a smarter football player and his confidence is at an all-time high.”
Solid impression: A 5-7, 170-pound running back/linebacker, Nicholas Bard has made quite an impact for Pennsville.
Offensively, the sophomore leads the Eagles in rushing with 411 yards and has scored seven touchdowns. He posted career-highs in carries (27) and yards (122), and scored both TDs in last week’s 14-13 victory over Highland.
Bard also leads the team in tackles with 68 (32 solos).
Special class: Antonio Parnell of Willingboro joined a select class when he returned an interception 101 yards for a touchdown last week against Woodrow Wilson.
According to sports historian Chuck Langerman, the last time any player returned a pick for over 100 yards was in 2010. That season, Eddie Davis of Camden and Woodbury’s Dwaun Martin each had returns of 101 yards.
The South Jersey record of 105 yards is shared by Steve Burkhardt of Gloucester (1996) and Justin Lazzery of Haddon Township (1997).
Only 12 times has anyone had an interception return of at least 101 yards.
Big kicks: Larry Eimer of Clearview still has the region’s longest field goal this season at 48 yards. Cooper Bentz of Washington Township is right behind with kicks of 47 and 46 yards.
Cade Antonucci of Holy Spirit leads South Jersey with eight field goals.
Tackling machines: Seneca looks like it could be as high as the No. 5 seed in the South Jersey Group 3 playoffs. The Golden Eagles have been getting it done on defense.
Frankie Caterina (94) and Sam Pawlikowski (93) are among region leaders in tackles. They have helped spearhead a first-team defense that’s allowed just seven points in its last four games.
The two led Seneca in tackles as sophomores and juniors.
“Sam has been outstanding. He’s our running linebacker and tracks down everything,” coach Bill Fisher said. “Frank is our inside guy who takes everything on inside the tackles.
“They are two of our toughest kids by far. We changed up our D from last year and made it more so these guys can just run and make plays. It’s a confident defense but I believe they all play better because they see how Sam and Frank play. It inspires this group.”
Within range: Max Smyth is in position to complete back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons throwing the football.
A senior, Smyth set the Palmyra single-season record last year with 2,263 yards. He also set the record for touchdown passes with 32.
Smyth leads South Jersey this season with 1,728 yards and is second with 17 TD passes.
The Panthers travel to New Egypt on Friday and play at Burlington City on Thanksgiving. Throw in at least one Central Jersey Group 1 playoff game and Smyth has a great chance to finish his career with some staggering numbers.
Golden celebration: As part of the NFL’s 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, the league has asked all participants to go back to their high schools and present it with a commemorative golden football.
Dave Rowe, who played for the world champion Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XI, will return to Deptford on Friday to present his alma mater with the special honor.
A 1963 graduate, Rowe will make the presentation just before kick off between Woodstown and the Spartans.
Rowe would go on to attend Penn State. He was a second-round draft pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1967 and had a 13-year NFL career.
David Griggs, who starred at Pennsauken, was also recognized. He played in Super Bowl XXIX with the San Diego Chargers. Griggs died in 1995 as a result of a car accident in Florida.
The NFL is sending a gold ball to every high school in the world that’s produced a player or coach who’s appeared in the Super Bowl. It estimates that over 3,000 players and 52 coaches have participated.
In addition, the NFL Foundation will present each school with an NFL Character Education Curriculum. High schools will be able to apply for grants up to $5,000 from the foundation to help support and grow their programs.
Extra points: The official announcement of playoff qualifiers will be made Sunday. Each sectional is made up of the top eight teams based on power points. … Michigan State recruit and Timber Creek senior Cameron Chambers will receive his jersey for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl at a ceremony Nov. 16 at the high school.
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
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