BEST OF THE FIRST ROUND
S.J. Group 5
No. 6 Washington Twp. (5-2) at No. 3 Williamstown (7-1): The Courier-Post/S.J. Gridiron Gang Game of the Week. These two will meet again in a WJFL American game on Thanksgiving with title implications.
The Minutemen have won five of their last six and have been led by all-purpose standout Nick Grosso. The senior has 25 catches for a team-leading 491 yards and six TDs, while also registering 39 tackles, two interceptions and a forced fumble.Junior QB Mike Piperno has thrown for 1,329 yards and 15 TDs, while seniors Nick Becht and Matteo Murgia have close to 50 tackles apiece.
The Braves have won three straight and been most productive when running the ball. Senior QB Rich Stanzione, along with RBs Joe Early, Tyrik Glenn and Eriq Mercado have combined for 1,884 yards and 35 TDs. Eric Smith leads the defense with 75 tackles and three sacks, while Bryan King has 50 tackles and three fumble recoveries.
S.J. Group 4
No. 7 Winslow Twp. (5-4) at No. 2 Shawnee (6-2): The Eagles have lost four of their last six and don’t come in riding a wave of momentum. What this team does come in with are talented athletes capable of making big plays. Senior RB Keshawn Branham is a 1,000-yard rusher, while seniors Michael Cubbage and Melvin Reid have combined for over 1,000 receiving yards.
The two-time defending sectional champion Renegades have won five straight behind the play of QB Michael Welsh. The senior has completed 104-of-177 passes for 1,471 yards and 17 TDs, and is second in rushing with 517 yards and eight TDs. Senior David Gajderowicz leads the team with 58 tackles and 8 ½ sacks.
S.J. Group 3
No. 6 Woodrow Wilson (6-2) at No. 3 Camden (6-2): The cross-town rivals will meet again on Thanksgiving in a West Jersey Football League Royal Division game. This will be their first playoff showdown.
The Tigers have won five straight, which includes two shutouts, under first-year coach and alum Preston Brown. QB Aran Lee and RBs Carontae Brickhouse and Jelani McCargo have fueled the offense, with Adrian Clark and Edwin Lopez leading a defense that has pitched three shutouts overall.
The Panthers have won five of their last six and three straight. Demian Thomas leads a balanced offensive attack with 447 rushing yards and five TDs, while Brad Hawkins has 25 catches for 309 yards and four TDs. Ron Johnson, Jamal Holloway and Dymelle Parker are averaging double-digit tackles, while Holloway leads the team with five sacks.
S.J. Group 2
No. 8 Overbrook (4-4) at No. 1 West Deptford (8-0): West Deptford won the regular-season Colonial Liberty matchup 49-12 on Oct. 3.
The Rams have lost two of their last three, including last week’s six-point setback against Haddonfield. They’ve received tremendous production from senior QB Tommy Wyatt, who’s thrown for 1,301 yards and 12 TDs. The West Point recruit has also rushed for 313 yards and six scores. Junior RB Marques DeShields leads the ground attack with 918 yards and 15 TDs.
The Eagles are among the elite rushing teams in South Jersey, averaging 406 yards per game. Junior RB Quran Dozier leads the way with 909 yards and 16 TDs. Senior QB and Colgate recruit Nick Diaco has 691 yards and nine TDs. Junior MLB Mike Oldt leads a rugged defense with 63 tackles. They’ve outscored opponents 381-52.
S.J. Group 1
No. 6 Penns Grove (5-3) at No. 3 Paulsboro (7-1): These teams last met in 2012, with Penns Grove winning 53-6 in the sectional semifinals on its way to a perfect season and first championship in school history. This game is Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Red Devils come in with a two-game losing streak and saw their seeding drop with last week’s loss to Glassboro. Senior WR/DB and Temple recruit Kimere Brown leads the team with over 500 receiving yards and eight TDs. Javar Garrett, Jaron Maldonado and Daequan Robinson are expected to lead the defensive effort.
The defending sectional champion Red Raiders have won five straight and are averaging just over 42 points per game. Senior QB Carlton Aiken has proven to be a major threat running and throwing, with 20 combined TDs. Sophomore RB Dehron Holloway leads the team with 19 TDs. Bryce Holloway, Tyrique King and Dustin Herrera have anchored the defense, each with better than 90 tackles.
No. 8 St. Joseph, Montvale (6-3) at No. 1 St. Augustine (8-0): This is what the Hermits have worked for all season, a home playoff game. Instead of taking the bus north, the Green Knights will travel 2-1/2 hours south.
Senior RB Brian Kearns leads St. Joe with 571 yards and three TDs, while sophomore QB Nick Patti has thrown for 970 yards and seven TDs.
The Hermits had a week off and will be well rested. Sophomore RB Kyle Dobbins is among SJ leaders with 1,295 rushing yards and 20 overall TDs. Senior QB Jose Tabora has thrown for 1,304 yards and 16 TDs, while senior LB Jim Brady anchors a sturdy defense with 98 tackles and seven sacks. They’ve outscored opponents 338-55 and have won their last two by shutout.
No. 7 DePaul (3-6) at No. 2 Camden Catholic (8-0): Camden Catholic is 16-2 under second-year coach Nick Strom.
The Spartans are much better than their record indicates. They feature one of the nation’s top running backs in Kareem Walker, who recently de-committed from Ohio State. He leads the team in rushing with 925 yards and has nine overall TDs.
The Irish have been cruising, winning their last two by shutout and outscoring opponents 289-61. Senior QB Tyree Rodgers has thrown for 1,310 yards and 11 TDs, while junior RB Nazir Streater leads the ground game with 1,016 yards and 16 overall TDs. Streater and Jordan Jefferson have also enjoyed standout defensive seasons, while senior Jamal Parker brings an athletic presence with 10 TDs.
No. 7 Holy Spirit (4-4) at No. 2 St. Joseph (7-2): A matchup of Cape-Atlantic League rivals, this will be played Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Spartans have won two of their last three. They are led offensively by junior RB Reggie-Jean Charles and sophomore QB Mike Costabile. Junior K Cade Antonucci leads South Jersey with eight field goals.
The Wildcats have won four straight since a loss to Mount St. Joseph of Baltimore. They are averaging nearly 320 yards on the ground, led by seniors A’laam Horne (1,029 yards) and Salaam Horne (892 yards). The twins have combined for 28 rushing TDs. Sunny Tapp and Sencere Tapp are two of the team’s top defensive players, with 137 combined tackles.
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
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