Sunday, November 23, 2014
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Football: New Top 10

Football: New Top 10

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As expected, Week Two provided a couple of major jolts to the Top 10 rankings.

That's what happens when unranked Moorestown takes down then-No. 6 Delsea and No. 4 Williamstown overwhelms then-No. 7 Shawnee.

No. 1 St. Joe dodged a bullet for the second week in a row in the revamped Cape American. If the Wildcats run the table in that division, they'll be deserving of that top spot.

I didn't move Williamstown up even though I was totally impressed with their play Friday night. I couldn't see dropping any of the Top 3, and besides, Williamstown visits Timber Creek Sept. 28 in a game that will have a major impact on rankings.

Moorestown enters the Top 10 at No. 7, and I kept Delsea in at 10 despite their loss to the Quakers.

Shawnee dropped out based on that 39-0 loss to Williamstown.

Here's the latest Top 10, as of Sunday, Sept. 16:

(Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. St. Joseph (1) 2-0
Senior running back Mile Pease caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Anthony Giagunto with just 15 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter for a 7-0 victory over No. 8 Holy Spirit on Saturday. This team is living dangerously. Give the Wildcats credit for finding a way to win two weeks in a row. Interesting that the opener against Absegami was a shootout and Week 2 against HS was a defensive struggle. Another tough game this week as SJ has to go on the road to face dangerous Millville. Next: At Millville (2-0) Friday night at 7.

2. Camden Catholic (2) 2-0
The Irish won a slugfest with WJFL Constitution Division rival Moorestown in a rare October snowstorm last season. I'm not sure I ever was more miserable covering a game than I was that day -- cold, wind, rain, sleet, snow, it was really bad, and it was two days before Halloween. If the weather's good, and it's supposed to be, I expect to see a bunch of big plays when these teams get together this Friday on the Irish's fast track. Moorestown's no-huddle spread and playmakers in space will provide a big challenge for CC's veteran LBs and young secondary. Next: Home vs. No. 7 Moorestown (2-0) Friday at 7.

3. Timber Creek (1) 1-1
The Chargers likely will be without North Carolina recruits Greg Webb and Dajaun Drennon this weekend but could get a lift from the debut of senior defensive tackle Dyaire Hicks, a highly touted transfer from Baltimore. Webb still is recovering from Feb. knee surgery. It will be interesting to see if he's ready to go Sept. 28 against Williamstown. Drennon took 11 stitches in the head after an auto accident on his way to school Thursday. Coach Rob Hinson said he thinks Drennon will be fine to play Sept. 28 since he didn't have a concussion. That big game by senior Bryce Shade -- four TDs in four ways against Eastern -- underscored the wide range of playmakers on this team. It's not just those five guys who have committed to D-1 colleges. Next: At Cherry Hill West (1-0) Friday at 7.
 
4. Williamstown (4) 2-0
The Braves' team speed was on full display in Friday's 39-0 victory over then-No. 7 Shawnee. It was a near-perfect performance -- dominant defense led by a tenacious LB corps featuring MLB Derek Lauria and outside LBs Buddy Brown and Marcus Riley and textbook Wing T offense led by junior FB John Chamberlin and junior HB Marques Little. The Braves have to be careful not to get caught looking past Cherokee (and how odd is it to wonder about a team looking past such a great program as Cherokee?) to that showdown with Timber Creek. It's a long season. As good as the Braves look now -- and they look great -- the key is to maintain that level of play and even increase it over the next 10 weeks. Nobody wins anything in September. Next: at Cherokee (1-1) Friday at 7.

5. Hammonton (5) 2-0
Veteran coach Pete Lancetta can win his 200th game on Friday, one week after one of his closest friends, West Deptford coach Clyde Folsom, won his 200th. Twin senor RBs David and Dom Williams played strong games in a 41-10 victory over an Oakcrest team that was missing Penn State recruit Brandon Bell (dehydration issues). The Blue Devils face a big challenge in a talented EHT team that likely is smarting from an upset loss to AC. Next: at Egg Harbor Township (1-1) Friday at 7.

6. Triton (8) 2-0
Led by linebackers Chance Negri and Artie Flemming and end Isaiah Baylor, the Mustangs defense has not allowed a point in the second half of victories over Pennsauken and Cherokee. It's a measure of the growth of this program that the Mustangs seem to play an important game every week. That's certainly true this week. Shawnee will be totally jacked to bounce back from that game against Williamstown. The Mustangs will really show something if they can get out of Medford with their second win in a row over an Lenape school district power. Next: at Shawnee (1-1) Friday at 7.

7. Moorestown (NR) 2-0
The Quakers' senior speedster Anthony Bonett made the play of the game with an 88-yard touchdown run in a 31-28 victory over then-No. 6 Delsea on Friday night. You have to tip your hat to Moorestown. That was a great win over a Delsea team that some folks -- cough, cough -- thought was capable of going 12-0 this season. Junior QB/DB Tyreek Robinson has been a revelation. It doesn't get any easier for the Quakers. They have No. 2 CC this week and No. 3 TC on Oct. 5. If Moorestown can get into the SJ 4 tournament -- and that Delsea win will go a long way toward that -- they will be a tough out. Next: At No. 2 Camden Catholic (2-0) Friday at 7.

8. Holy Spirit (9) 0-2
The Spartans have lost to No. 5 Hammonton in overtime and to No. 1 St. Joseph in a game that was tied until the final 15 seconds of the fourth quarter. They'll sit home this week as the best 0-2 team in South Jersey. Coach John Iannucci said his young team just needs to "grow up." They surely had some growing pains the first two weeks. Watch out for this team down the stretch and in the NP 2 state playoffs. Next: Home vs. Mainland (1-1) on Sept. 28 at 7.

9. West Deptford (10) 2-0
The Eagles have a top 1-2 punch at running back in junior fullback Gerald Owens and senior halfback Josh Cornelius. WD keeps rolling but faces a challenge this week at Haddon Heights. The Garnets have scored 94 points in two games and have weapons both at WR and at RB and a dangeous QB in Dante Pinckney. Could be a shootout because it's tough to see HH shutting down WD's Wing T. Next: at Haddon Heights (2-0) Saturday at 1.

10. Delsea (6) 1-1
Quarterback Josh Awotunde led a furious fourth-quarter rally that fell just short in a 31-28 loss at Moorestown on Friday night. Delsea still is the team to beat in SJ 3 as well as the WJFL Royal. I suspect this team will bounce back in a big way, with a schedule that will provide some opportunities. Next: Home vs. Deptford (1-1) Friday at 7.

Under consideration (listed alphabetically):

Burlington Township (2-0): Senior Mike Thomas came through again, scoring on a 25-yard reception in OT of a 26-20 victory over Holy Cross. Next: at Lawrence (1-1) Saturday at 1.

Millville (2-0): The Thunderbolts have a couple of serious playmakers in senior QB Rashon Sorrell and sophomore RB Rob Ennis and a major defensive force in junior DT Antoine White. Next: Home vs. No. 1 St. Joe (2-0) Friday at 7.

Almost:

Absegami (1-1): The pending return of Notre Dame recruit Rashad Kinlaw will make this team one of the most explosive in SJ. Next: Home vs. Mainland (1-1) Friday at 7.

Shawnee (1-1): The Renegades have traditionally been the kind of program that bounces back from a loss like Friday night's struggle against Williamstown. The Triton game is a great opportunity. Next: Home vs. No. 6 Triton (2-0) Friday at 7.

Rancocas Valley (1-0): Back in action this week after an early bye. Next: Home vs. Notre Dame (1-0) Saturday at 1.

Paul VI (2-0): Eagles have a major playmaker in Temple-bound Zach Grant and a chip on their shoulder after last year. Next: at Seneca (1-1) Friday at 7.


 -- 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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