Wednesday, August 27, 2014
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Football: 5 games to watch this weekend

Here's an early look at five big games this weekend:

Football: 5 games to watch this weekend

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Here's an early look at five big games this weekend:

1. No. 10 Haddonfield (2-0) at West Deptford (2-0), Friday at 7: These teams have played six times in the last three seasons. In each of the last two seasons, West Deptford has won in the regular season, and Haddonfield has won in the SJ Group 2 tournament. This likely is the Game of the Year in the Colonial Liberty, although Haddon Heights is looking like a potential surprise team in the division. West Deptford has won eight division titles in a row. The Eagles were supposed to come back to the pack a little this year -- at least, that's how coach Clyde Folsom was talking this summer -- but have looked like the same old powerhouse through two weeks. Junior Josh Cornelius is a threat at RB, and senior Tom Jakubowski is a play-maker on both sides of the football. Jamil Pollard leads a sturdy front line. Haddonfield has lots of guys back from last year's 11-1 team. The Bulldogs have rolled through two weeks, also, and senior RB Chris Dengler has been playing at a high level. I was leaning toward Haddonfield all summer. Now I'm not so sure. I need a couple more days to make a pick.

2. No. 9 Moorestown (2-1) at No. 5 Williamstown (3-0), Friday at 7: Williamstown dominated this game last year behind its offensive line and powerful ground game. Moorestown's defense could not stand up to the Braves' Wing-T attack. Will this game be any different? Probably not. The Quakers' big chance is that their passing attack can put the Braves on their heels (although good luck blocking those outside linebackers). It's also possible that Williamstown will suffer a bit of a letdown after that emotional victory over Cherokee last week. This is a good spot for Moorestown, though. The Quakers are trying to bounce back from last week's loss to No. 4 Timber Creek, and they get an immediate opportunity to show they belong with the elite teams in South Jersey. Can they do it? Sure. That's a big-time offense when it's clicking, with terrific playmakers in QB Andrew Lisa and RB Delaney Wallace, among others. But the Braves have a look about them. They'll be home, too, and that helps. This game could be a shootout, especially since the weather is supposed to be perfect. But Williamstown might have too many bullets.

3. Bishop Eustace (2-1) at Paul VI (1-2), Friday at 7: It's desperation time for the Eagles. They aren't used to being in this position. But they have to win this game or this season could get away from them. The Crusaders feel like they let one get away last week in the rain at Woodrow Wilson. They've got an extremely sturdy defense with 9 starters back from last year, led by LB Nick Batistini. Motivation is never a problem when these two teams get together. Thinking this might be a really good year for the Crusaders, and not so hot for the Eagles. But this game will go a long way toward deciding that.

4. Seneca (2-1) at No. 7 Shawnee (2-1), Saturday at 2: The Golden Eagles have changed roles from last year. They didn't handle high expectations so well in 2010 but they're flourishing as underdogs this season. This team will run the ball behind a young but big offensive line and a good trio of backs led by FB Sean Gray. Shawnee got another blow this week when senior RB Kyle Wigley went down with a knee injury. The Renegades already lost top lineman Tom Smith. This game could take 90 minutes with all the running both teams will do. I like the Renegades, being home and rallying around the loss of two key seniors. Sometimes, that galvanizes a team. Still, the Golden Eagles will be right there.

5. No. 1 Holy Spirit (2-1) at No. 2 St. Joseph (2-0), Saturday at 2: If you're going, get there early. It's going to be crazy in Hammonton on Saturday. Holy Spirit coach Chalie Roman calls this his team's "Super Bowl" and says the Spartans "have to win this game." That's a lot of pressure on a team but maybe Roman knows how his guys will respond. St. Joseph is feeling the same urgency and is looking for revenge from last year's 35-0 loss to Holy Spirit. Key matchup: Spirit's massive OL, led by Villanova recruit Nico D'Angelo, vs. St. Joseph's defensive front, led by Virginia recruit Max Valles and South Carolina recruit Kaiwan Lewis. I like the Spartans on the road, but not by a lot. This game could turn on a big play -- a fumble, a blocked punt, a penalty even -- in the fourth quarter.

-- Phil Anastasia

   

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About this blog
Born and raised in South Jersey, Phil Anastasia prefers standing on the sidelines at high school football games on Friday nights to sitting in the press box at Eagles games on Sunday afternoons. He’s a graduate of Rowan University with a degree in English. Reach Phil at panastasia@phillynews.com.

Phil Anastasia Inquirer Columnist
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