Football: Pennsauken back in SJ 4

 

Pennsauken coach Clint Tabb said Thursday night his team would move back to South Jersey 4 after originally being re-classified in Central Jersey 4 when the NJSIAA created a fifth group for football.

Pennsauken was the SJ 4 champion last season.

In SJ 4, Pennsauken would be part of a powerful group that includes Timber Creek, last year's SJ Group 3 champion, as well as Hammonton, Shawnee, Moorestown, Lacey Twp., Triton and Seneca among others.

Ironically, Pennsauken is scheduled to scrimmage Timber Creek on Friday. The teams have faced each other in a scrimmage in each of the last few years.

But this scrimmage could be a playoff preview, since the teams could meet again in the SJ 4 playoffs.

In another change from the originally alignments, Haddon Heights has been moved up from SJ 1 to SJ 2 and Haddon Twp. has been shifted from CJ 1 to SJ 1.

Haddon Heights will be a darkhorse contender in SJ 2, where the Garnets' Colonial Liberty rival, West Deptford, will be the favorite. Willingboro, Cedar Creek and perhaps rebuilding Haddonfield also could contenders in SJ 2.

 Pennsauken went 11-1 last season. The Indians lost QB Manny Cortez and WR Amar Williams and others in a loaded senior class, but return several top linemen such as DEs Isaiah Ingram and Korey Mitchell as well as OL/DT Hassan McDonald and shoud get a boost from the return of RB Marlin Finley, an all-conference player as a sophomore who sat out last season.

Timber Creek still would rank as the favorite in SJ 4, as the Chargers have five players who have committed to D-1 programs and several other top players as well.

Hammonton and Shawnee also projected as preseason Top 10 teams. In fact, it's possible that four of the top eight teams in The Inquirer preason Top 10 will be SJ 4 teams.

-- Phil Anastasia

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