By Phil Anastasia
In a bow to the significance of nearly every game on Thanksgiving weekend – and a nod to the bygone days of Want Ad Willie (ask your dad) – here are picks for all the games in SJ football this weekend:
Absegami (5-4) at Oakcrest (1-8): The Braves have a lot of firepower, with senior RB Tyler Bing coming off big game in playoff loss to AC. Pick: Gami, 31-19.
Atlantic City (7-2) at Holy Spirit (6-3): One of the best games of the day. Top teams, old rivals. AC's high-powered O led by QB Jarren McBryde and WR Dayshawn Reynolds, against HS's tough D led by LB Jeff Steeb and DB AJ Dawson. Pick: HS, 20-19.
Audubon (4-5) at Haddon Twp. (5-4): Led by QB Jake Campbell, the Hawks have really put together a nice season. Not a bad loss all year. They would cap it with a win over the Green Wave, which is smarting from 64-0 loss to Penns Grove in SJ 1 playoffs. Pick: HT, 27-21.
Bishop Eustace (2-7) at Pennsauken (2-6): Crusaders hope to have QB/DB Connor Bor back. He missed last week with leg injury. Indians RB Marlin Finley needs 74 yards for 1,000. Pick: Pennsauken, 18-14.
Bordentown (4-5) at New Egypt (5-4): As Willie used to say: Flipped a coin. Pick: Bordentown, 20-13.
Burlington City (4-5) at Palmyra (1-8): Blue Devils can get to .500 in first season under coach Tony Sacca. They have a top kicker in Nick Ford (7 FGs, including a 48-yarder). Pick: City, 27-13.
Burlington Twp. (8-1) at Rancocas Valley (5-4): The Falcons face a tough challenge from a Red Devils team that has come on in second half of season. BT’s Mike Thomas does a lot of everything. Pick: BT, 28-20.
Camden (4-5) at Wilson (0-9): The Panthers can finish .500 overall and 4-1 in the Royal Division. Not bad for a young team with a soph QB in Khalil Williams and a new coaching staff under Dwayne Savage. Pick: Camden, 33-18.
Camden Catholic (7-2) at Paul VI (5-4): A Wednesday night showdown between non-public rivals. This will be intense with a big crowd on both sides. CC has been playing more consistently of late. Pick: CC, 24-20.
St. Augustine (7-2) at Cedar Creek (9-0): One of the best games of the day. The Cape National title on the line. SAP’s Calvin Cass has 34 TDs. CC’s Damon Mitchell is one of SJ’s top playmakers. Pick: SA, 28-21.
Cherokee (5-4) at Seneca (4-5): There's a lot on the line for both teams as the difference between a win and a loss is huge for these proud programs. Seneca seniors have been through a lot and are determined to finish strong. Pick: Seneca, 21-20.
Cherry Hill East (3-6) at Cherry Hill West (4-5): Battle for the Boot on Wednesday night. The Lions are looking to finish .500, which would be a big boost to new coach Brian Wright's program. Cougars won big last season. Pick: CHE, 21-20.
Delran (9-0) at Cinnaminson (5-4): Bears looking for 10-0 behind QB Justin McFadden, WR Zane Campbell and RB Mark Jukic. Pirates coming off tough loss to Cedar Creek in SJ 2. Pick: Delran, 28-13.
Clayton (4-5) at Pitman (3-6): No disrespect -- it's a good year when these teams get together and they have a combined seven wins. Should make for a good game. Lots of history in this one. Clippers eyeing .500 mark. Pick: Clayton, 19-13.
Kingsway (6-3) at Clearview (5-4): Pioneers can win WJFL National Division outright. If Dragons win, it's a three-way tie with these two and Shawnee. Kingsway is on a roll, thanks ti junior RB Ray Lawry and senior LB Myles Matthews, so I'm thinking splitsville. Pick: Kingsway, 22-19.
Sterling (4-5) at Collingswood (2-7): Silver Knights have a chance to finish .500. RB/LB Khalil Howard leads the way. Pick: Sterling, 27-13.
Cumberland (4-5) at Schalick (3-6): It's interesting how many teams enter this weekend with a chance to finish .500. That's a lot better than 4-6. Cumberland has top young RB in De’Han Milledge. Pick: Cumberland, 28-20.
Deptford (4-5) at Glassboro (8-1): Spartans would love to get to .500 but face tough duty stopping Corey Clement and Co. Pick: Glassboro, 34-20.
Egg Harbor (4-5) at Mainland (3-6): Mustangs coming off big win, Eagles off big loss. Willie sometimes made the counter intituitive choice. Pick: EHT, 24-17.
Florence (8-1) at Riverside (0-9): Flashes have sights set on CJ 1 title. Pick: Florence, 35-12.
Gateway (0-9) at Woodbury (8-1): Thundering Herd doesn't run up the score under Zach Valentine. Pick: Woodbury, 34-6.
Gloucester (7-2) at Gloucester Catholic (1-8): Lions have chance to finish best season since 2005 team went 8-3 and won a playoff game. Pick: Gloucester, 34-13.
Haddon Heights (6-3) at Haddonfield (6-3): Big game for both teams. Haddonfield has won nine in a row in the series that began in 1902. HH hopes to bounce back from disappointing playoff loss. This should be a good one. Pick: HH, 27-24.
St. Joseph (8-0) at Hammonton (4-6): For second season in a row, Hammonton will finish season with games against Timber Creek and SJ, Top 3 teams both seasons. That's tough duty. SJ has won 26 in a row. Given strength of the NP 1 field, this likely is the Wildcats' last hurdles before a second straight undefeated season. Pick: SJ, 35-14.
Willingboro (6-3) at Holy Cross (4-5): Chimeras have won five in a row and are playing with great confidence behind RB Robert Cleveland. Lancers will be fired up to get to .500. Pick: Boro, 19-13.
Lenape (3-6) at Shawnee (6-3): Lenape is way better than its record and has won three in a row. This could be a big-time battle. Shawnee has a visit to Timber Creek in SJ 4 semis on the horizon but can’t look past this one. Pick: Shawnee, 21-19.
Lindenwold (1-8) at Overbrook (2-7): Sophomore QB Malik Muldrow is a playmaker for Lindenwold. Willie often would flip more than one coin. Pick: Lindenwold, 20-18.
Lower Cape May (1-8) at Middle Twp. (5-4): Middle gave Willingboro all it could handle in SJ 2 tourney and has a top RB in Nigel Case (816 yards). Pick: MT, 29-13.
Millville (5-4) at Vineland (2-7): The Granddaddy of them all. A rivalry that began in ‘93 -- that's 1893 -- renews with the Thunderbolts in the driver's seat. Wow. 1893. Think about that. The kids on that first game might have been the sons of Civil War veterans. Pick: Millville, 34-13.
Northern Burlington (5-4) at Pemberton (2-7): The Greyhounds are looking forward to a rematch with Burlington Twp. but won't peek past chance to get 6th win. Pick: NBC, 22-7.
Ocean City (2-7) at Pleasantville (0-9): Red Raiders have a chance to finish three wins in final five games. Not bad. Pick: OC, 20-6.
Paulsboro (7-2) at West Deptford (9-0): Only game in SJ on Friday night. Only game in SJ played after Thanksgiving. The Eagles won big last year and have Wing T operating at a high level. Paulsboro can play some D but O has been inconsistent. Pick: WD, 28-10.
Pennsville (4-5) at Penns Grove (9-0): The Red Devils are averaging better than 50 points per game and have six straight shutouts. They've outscored their last six opponents, 326-0. They are coming off a 64-0 win. This is a tough spot for the Eagles, who are a year away from big thunder in Group 1. Pick: PG, 35-7.
Woodstown (6-3) at Salem (0-9): How about that WJFL Diamond, with three teams into the sectional semifinals? That's Penns Grove, Glassboro and Woodstown. Woodies riding high after big win over Haddon Heights in SJ 2. Pick: Woodstown, 27-6.
Timber Creek (7-2) at Triton (3-6): Mustangs have given Chargers fits in recent years. But Triton has struggled of late and TC is a team on a mission right now. Pick: TC, 32-13.
Williamstown (9-0) at Washington Twp. (7-2): Maybe the best game of the day. Braves can clinch WJFL American title outright, Minutemen can ruin Braves' perfect season and take a share of the crown. Both teams coming off emotional playoff games. Big rivals, big crowd. Pick: Williamstown, 28-21.
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.