Saturday, April 25, 2015

Football: New Top 10

Big changes this week as Shawnee stunned then-No. 3 Williamstown and Atlantic City beat then-No. 6 Hammonton.

Football: New Top 10

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Big changes this week as Shawnee stunned then-No. 3 Williamstown and Atlantic City beat then-No. 6 Hammonton.

This Top 10 was tough. What to do with the Williamstown-Cherokee-Shawnee triangle?

Williamstown beat Cherokee. Cherokee beat Shawnee. Shawnee beat Williamstown.

That happens a lot and it makes for tough calls in rankings. I dropped Williamstown a few spots but kept them ahead of Shawnee and Cherokee based on body of work, plus a better record (6-1 to 5-2).

I kept Hammonton the Top 10 but had to move AC ahead because they have the same record playing in the same conference and won the head-to-head battle.

Huge game this week as AC visits unbeaten Millville, plus Shawnee at Washington Twp. and Cherokee at CHE have major SJ Group 4 implications. It looks like a 6-2 team could miss the tournament.

In fact, I think Triton would miss out at 7-1 if a lot of things happen ahead of the Mustangs, which would be a real shame.

Here's a look at the Top 10 as of Sunday, Oct. 30:

Previous ranking in parentheses


1. St. Joseph (1) 7-0
The Wildcats took a 41-0 halftime lead in a 48-0 victory over Bridgeton. This team just rolls and rolls. Bridgeton is not a bad Group 2 team and St. Joseph just dominated the game. Lots of balance on that offense as Eli Pogue, Kaheem Reynolds and Anthony Giagunto are running for scores. That's also a refelction on the work of the OL. And how about a defense that has allowed 16 points all season? You would think EHT, a four-win Group 4 team, can present a challenge this week. You would think that. Next: At Egg Harbor Township (4-3) Friday at 7.

2. Timber Creek (2) 7-0
The Chargers scored in every quarter in a 28-7 win over Seneca. Just a solid, workman-like performance. The Chargers fell behind but never blinked. This team seems to be gaining a lot of confidence at the right time. And the coaches likely will be able to rest some guys in the second half of a likely lopsided matchup with struggling Highland. With Hammonton losing, this team is a lock for the No. 1 seed in SJ 3 tourney. Next: At Highland (0-7) Friday at 7.

3. Camden Catholic (4) 7-0
Inside linebacker Sean Collins makes a ton of tackles. This team showed a lot with a strong performance in miserable weather Saturday at Moorestown. I mean it was miserable out there. Nothing worst than cold rain and this was cold, cold rain -- sleet at times. The field was a mess. But the Irish really battled (in fairness, so did Moorestown, a so-called finesse team that rolled up its sleeves and fought for four quarters in terrible weather against one of the best teams in SJ). Irish QB Pete Galiano continued to impress. He's not a college QB. He's just a great high school QB. Interesting matchup this week with BE, if only because Irish coach Gil Brooks and Crusaders coach Rob Cormier used to work together at St. Joe Prep. Next: Home vs. Bishop Eustace (4-3) Friday at 7.

4. Pennsauken (5) 6-1
Senior Marques Thornton ran for two touchdowns in 40-8 win over Washington Township. This team showed some resiliency this week. That was a tough, tough loss to Camden Catholic. A leser team might have shrunk from the disappointment. Instead, the Indians might have played their best game, dominating a 5-1 WT team. Manny Cortez ran for 174 yards and passed for 166 IN THE FIRST HALF. Cortez has 25 TD passes. He might have five games left to play. Could he challenge the all-time SJ mark of 40 TD passes set by Holy Cross' Jason Amer in 1999? That's a lot to ask. But the No. 2 spot is 32 by Cross' Brian Obuchowski in 1998. I think Cortez passes that. Next: At Eastern (2-5) Friday at 7.

5. Millville (8) 7-0
Senior Shaquille Lee made plays on both sides of football in 26-3 win over St. Augustine Prep. He took an interception back for a TD and also threw for a pair of TDs. This team is riding high. Big game this Friday in Millville as AC comes to town with a 6-1 mark. The Cape American title is on the line. So is a likely home game in the first round of the SJ 4 tournament. Next: Home vs. Atlantic City (6-1) Friday at 7.

6. Haddonfield (7) 7-0
The Bulldogs got an unexpected bye after Overbrook forfeited Friday's game. I understand what Overbrook did and why it was done and don't disagree. But it's still a shame for Haddonfield. FB players get a limited amount of games. And the Bulldogs have missed two games because of forfeits the last two years. Plus, those seniors only get a limited amount of Friday night home football games. Those memories are priceless. Those Friday night home games are precious for a top program that's drawing big crowds and galvanizing a small town. It's just a shame that Haddonfield has to take a forfeit two years in a row. Of course, last year's bye came in Week 8 (this was Week 7) and the Bulldogs used the time off to re-charge, get back to basics and won the program's first sectional title since the playoffs started in 1974. So maybe there's a silver lining. Next: Home vs. Woodbury (3-3) Friday at 7.

7. Williamstown (3) 6-1
Junior Kali Boyce played well Friday night in place of injured star Chris Inge. This team wasn't right at kickoff, for whatever reason. Maybe they missed Inge. Maybe they underrated Shawnee. But it's always tough to go into Medford and win. Williamstown woke up in the second half, thanks to some good line play and hard running by FB John Chamberlin. But the damage was done. Shawnee made a big stop, and QB Jamie Jackopin led a late drive. Williamstown still is a major contender in SJ 4. This team should be OK. But the Braves have to be at the top of their game. Next: Home vs. Winslow Township (2-5) Friday at 7.

8. Atlantic City (NR) 6-1
Senior Radi Tolbert is versatile as a Swiss Army Knife for the Vikings. He plays QB, HB, even some slotback. Big, big win for this program over Hammonton on Friday. Now they have a big, big chance against Millville. With a win, AC moves smack dab into the middle of the mix in SJ 4. What a terrific job coach Thomas Kelly has done at his alma mater. Next: At No. 5 Millville (7-0) Friday at 7.

9. Hammonton (7) 6-1
The Blue Devils are Group 3 team with a Group 4 schedule. This team just gets challenged every week. I think this team has enough depth to handle the demands, but it's still tough duty. This team will be a factor in SJ 3, for sure. But long term, watch out for these guys next year. A lot -- I mean a lot -- of underclassmen are getting big-time experience. These guys look like a Top 3 team in 2012. Not that 2011 doesn't still have a chance to be a banner year in Hammonton. Another tough game against another good Group 4 team this week. Next: Home vs. Absegami (4-3) Friday at 7.

10. Triton (10) 6-1
Senior James Burns stepped up in absence of star running back Josh Woods in 35-6 win over Paul VI. The Mustangs have really taken care of business this season. No slip-ups, with their only loss at Pennsauken. They really handled struggling PVI on Friday. They'll need Woods, though, so that MRI on his injured knee Monday will be huge for this team. WW is a big challenge Saturday, too. The Tigers have dropped a little below the radar in recent weeks but they are a tough team, especially at home. Triton better bring its A game to Federal Street. Next: At Woodrow Wilson (4-2) Satursday at 2.

Under Consideration (listed alphabetically):

Cherokee (5-2): Reports of the Chiefs' demise were exagerrated. They are back in the mix, with a huge game Saturday at Cherry Hill East

Shawnee (5-2): Great win for the Renegades on Friday. Now all they have to do is do it again Friday at Washington Twp.

-- 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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