Football: Early look at SJ1, CJ1 and NP1

Here's an early look at three title games this weekend:


Pennsville (10-1) vs. Glassboro (9-2) in SJ 1 final, 10 a.m. Saturday at Rowan: Pennsville won the regular season meeting between these teams by a 55-35 score. I went down to Pennsville the following Monday to talk with QB Dylan Cummings and WRs Ryan Hawthorne and Colton Newsome because I was so impressed with that score. Especially since Glassboro has a 20-7 lead in the first quarter. But Pennsville coach Ryan Wood swore he was happy at that point because the tempo of the game was to his liking. He said he knew his team would come back. Pennsville wants that fast-paced game again Saturday. Glassboro wants to slow things down, like Penns Grove did in handing Pennsville its only loss on Thanksgiving eve. Cummings has 2,771 passing yards and 34 TD passes -- astounding for a sophomore. He's good but those numbers are a function of the Eagles' no-huddle, spread offense and terrific senior WRs. Hawthorne has 51 catches for 1,010 yards and 12 TDs. Newsome has 50 catches for 922 yards and 14 TDs. Glassboro junior Corey Clement has 2,272 yards. He's going to shattered the SJ mark of 2,286 set by Kingsway's Gary Fauntleroy in 1994. Clement might break it on his first carry. But Glassboro needs him to have a bunch of 5, 7 and 8 yard carries. They need to control the clock and slow down the pace of the game. I'm not sure they can do it on that fast track at Rowan.

Florence (10-1) vs. Asbury Park (9-2) in CJ 1 final, 10 a.m. Saturday at TCNJ: The Flashes have won 10 in a row since losing the opener to Holy Cross. The big win was an upset of No. 1 seed and 9-0 Dunellen in the CJ semis by a 14-7 score. This team has a balanced ground game led by senior RB Jordan Stockton (696 yards, 17 TDs) and soph RB Curtis Thompson (782 yards, 11 TDs). Asbury Park lost to Neptune by a 29-28 score on Thanksgiving Day. That's the same Neptune that beat Northern Burlington in the CJ 3 semifinals by a 60-27 score. But there's another comparative score that favors Florence. The Flashes beat Shore by 23-0 and AP beat Shore by 14-13. So these teams look pretty even. Florence hasn't lost in nearly three months and the Flashes have one of the best coaches in SJ history in Joe Frappolli. I think they bring another trophy home but it looks like a real battle.

St. Joseph (9-0) vs. St. Mary of Rutherford (6-3) in NP 1 state final, 1 p.m. Saturday at TCNJ: Name your score. 40-0 like last year between these two teams? 50-0? 60-0 if the Wildcats and coach Paul Sacco are of a mind to make a statement. These guys are not happy with the NJSIAA and they are not happy that St. Mary played a role in the state's football committee electing to go back to four groups for non-public football after 1-2 were combined last season. That led directly to SJ having a ridiculous 22 days off in November. So there will be some people pushing for SJ to keep the pedal to the metal and roll up a big score. And Sacco really would like for his seniors to play more than a half. But I think the coach calls off the dogs in the middle of the third quarter. He's a class act and what do St. Mary's players have to do with all this? SJ has outscored its opponents by 423-19. I think it's 463-19 or so when the sun sets on another state title on Satursday afternoon. I would have loved to see SJ play Camden Catholic. I'd make the Wildcats the clear favorites but I think it would have a chance to be a great game. CC is big, strong, talented and extremely well coached. The Irish could have challenged the Wildcats. St. Mary will not do that. The Gaels don't play nearly the level of competition. So SJ will roll into TCNJ, score 40 (or maybe 48) and pose for more pictures with another trophy. Hey, not a bad day.

-- Phil Anastasia

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