Here's a fearless, likely feckless forecast for 10 big football games this weekend in South Jersey:
Bishop Eustace (2-1) at Paul VI (1-2), Friday at 7: Motivation is never a problem when these two get together. In any sport.
The Crusaders are smarting from a 6-2 loss to Woodrow Wilson in a quagmire. The Eagles have been staggered a bit by losses to Moorestown and Seneca.
Good matchup of Bishop Eustace run defense, led by linebacker Nick Batistini, and Paul VI run offense, led by halfback Johnell Anderson (239 yards, three TDs). Paul VI fullback Matt Barnett and those Eustace linebackers will collide a few times, too.
This game could be tied with four minutes to play. I'm thinking this is the Crusaders' year, more than the Eagles' year. But this game will go a long way toward determining that. The pick: Bishop Eustace, 17-14.
Penns Grove (2-0) at Woodstown (2-1), Friday at 7: Now that the Red Devils have beaten Glassboro, Woodstown might be the biggest hurdle to the WJFL Diamond Division title.
Penns Grove has won 10 in a row since last year’s opener. They've outscored opponents 1,247-19. OK, not quite. But it sure seems that way.
Junior quarterback Nick Elmer has thrown four touchdown passes and rushed for 159 yards. Corey Mills is an explosive back and TayShon Hayward is Ironhead Hayward's cousin. OK, not really. But he plays that way. Junior WR Jabrail Murray might be a D-1 player.
Woodstown has a top lineman in Villanova recruit Jake Prus. and three guys with more than 200 rushing yards.
Penns Grove isn’t deep. Just fast, athletic and relentless. The pick: Penns Grove, 35-13.
Moorestown (2-1) at No. 5 Williamstown (3-0), Friday at 7: The Braves are riding high after last Friday’s victory over Cherokee. That was impressive.
Williamstown’s Wing-T is tough to stop, and quarterback Dan Collins is an underrated passer. He was cool and very accurate against Cherokee (6-for-8, 143 yards).
Moorestown can move the football behind quarterback Andrew Lisa (580 yards, four TDs) and running back Delaney Wallace (200 yards, four TDs). When the Quakers' offense is in rhythm, it's tough to stop.
If Williamstown suffers a letdown, Moorestown can spring the upset. That might be the Quakers' best chance, or maybe an early offensive explosion that forces the Braves to play catch-up. The Quakers have players. I just wonder if they have enough of them against a legitimate Group 4 power such as Williamstown.
The Braves are home, and that helps. Plus, they have the kind of physical ground game that could be difficult for the Quakers to contain. I think Williamstown is rolling right now. The pick: Williamstown, 30-20.
Holy Cross (1-2) at Delran (2-1), Friday at 7: These cross-town rivals always push each other to the limit.
Delran is led by Jordan Allie and T.J. Boyd. Holy Cross needs to bounce back from last week’s stunning loss, 36-33, to Burlington Township on a return of a free kick on the last play of the game. How's that for a way to lose a game to a team that's favored to win the division?
The Lancers offense is starting to find its stride. QB Conor Dempster and WR Lloyd Smith keep making plays. The pick: Holy Cross, 27-20.
No. 4 Timber Creek (3-0) at Kingsway (2-1), Friday at 7: The Dragons bounced back from a tough loss to Triton in fine fashion. But they are in deep water against the Chargers.
Timber Creek is living large after consecutive wins over Delsea and Moorestown, each of which was ranked No. 4 at the time. The Chargers' defensive front seven might be the best in South Jersey, with Greg Webb creating havoc upfront and Quanzell Lambert "cleaning up," according to coach Rob Hinson.
Kingsway upset Delsea earlier this year. But the Chargers have it going, big time. This is one of those games when the Timber Creek offense finds its footing. The pick: Timber Creek, 29-14.
Willingboro (2-0) at Burlington Township (3-0), Saturday at noon: Falcons coach Tom Maderia said he couldn’t sleep after that remarkable 36-33 victory over Holy Cross.
Willingboro will wake up the coach and his players. The Chimeras have a big-time threat in wide receiver Malcolm Culmer, who has committed to Maryland, and other weapons as well.
Burlington Township quarterback Brian Verbitski has 342 rushing yards and five TD passes and Mike Thomas is a dangerous back. The Falcons dodged a bullet last week at Holy Cross. The pick: Burlington Township, 24-21.
Collingswood (1-1) at Haddon Heights (2-0), Saturday at 2: The Panthers broke into the win column under new coach Jack McConnell last week against Lindenwold.
The Garnets flashed their credentials in an impressive victory over Woodbury. Quarterback Nick Lundholm (17-for-24, 247 yards) leads a potent offense that features running back Brandon Joyner (197 rushing yards). This team really showed something against Woodbury, dominating up front and displaying surprising depth and versatility.
It’s a bit of a trap game for the Garnets, one week after a big win and one week before a trip to West Deptford. Dealing with that is part of being a good team. The pick: Haddon Heights, 27-13.
No. 3 Pennsauken (3-0) at Cherry Hill East (3-0), Saturday at 2:30: Indians quarterback Manny Cortez has thrown 10 TD passes in his last two games, and has a top receiver in Amar Williams. Tyrik Thomas is a top receiver out of the backfield but I'd like to see the Indians run the football a little more consistently, They're going to need a ground game in bad weather.
The Cougars have a threat in running back Brian Regan, who has nine touchdowns. Senior Jesse Gold has made an impact in his first season as starting quarterback and Rob Taylor is a playmaker. These guys are playing with confidence, too.
But to beat the Indians, I think the Cougars need to create three turnovers, and commit zero. That’s tough duty. The pick: Pennsauken, 28-20.
Seneca (2-1) at No. 7 Shawnee (2-1), Saturday at 3: The Golden Eagles are showing some spark with a sturdy offensive line and a ground game led by senior fullback Sean Gray as well as junior halfbacks Joey Pawlowski and Alec Flexon.
The Renegades took another blow on the chin last week when senior running back Kyle Wigley went down with a knee injury. That follows the loss of senior lineman Tom Smith with a back injury.
Wigley was playing great. I think the Renegades rally around those missing seniors. Ultimately, they will feel their absence. But in the short term, sometimes adversity can galvanize a team. The pick: Shawnee, 19-14.
No. 8 Cherokee (2-1) at Washington Township (2-1), Saturday at 4: This is a great chance for the Minutemen to show this season is a big-time, bounce back from 2010.
Washington Township has been playing with a lot of energy, making big plays in all three games. Junior quarterback Tom Hildebrand has run for four touchdowns. The Minutemen just look like a different team than last season. But physically, they might be a year away from division and sectional contention.
Cherokee faces a test after last week’s loss to Williamstown. Can they bounce back? I think there's good leadership in that program with the likes of Nick Follet and Tyler Hartman, plus outstanding coaching. The Chiefs usually answer the call. The pick: Cherokee, 23-20.
-- Phil Anastasia