Another week, another shakeup in the Top 10.
St. Joseph holds strong at No. 1. For the third week in a row, the Wildcats face a tough challenge in the Cape American and answer the bell, this time winning at Millville.
But No. 2 Camden Catholic went down to No. 7 Moorestown. No. 5 Hammonton lost to EHT. No. 6 Triton lost to Shawnee.
No. 9 Holy Spirit dropped out, too, although the Spartans didn't play a game. More on that later.
Moorestown was the big mover, jumping to No. 4. And Delsea's 3-point loss to Moorestown in Week 2 doesn't look that bad anymore, so the Crusaders inched back up.
Timber Creek and Williamstown both advanced a step, setting up a highly anticipated clash between No. 2 and No. 3 this Friday.
Here's the new Top 10, as of Sunday, Sept. 23:
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. St. Joseph (1) 3-0
Two goal-line stands were the difference in a 35-14 victory over Millville in another tough Cape American game for the Wildcats on Friday night. This team continues to respond to the challenge of playing in perhaps the deepest division in SJ, against schools with four, five and six times as many students. Senior DL Charles Cade made two big plays against Millville, and senior QB Anthony Giagunto came through again, too. SJ has won 21 in a row. It doesn't get any easier this weekend, as sky-high EHT comes to Bill Bendig Memorial Field. Next: Home vs. No. 7 Egg Harbor Township on Saturay at noon.
2. Timber Creek (3) 2-1
The Chargers' schedule does not lack for challenges, either. After an Oct. 5 game against Moorestown, TC will have played three of their first five games against teams that have been ranked in the Top 5 in South Jersey. The big question this week is whether North Carolina recruits Dajaun Drennon and Greg Webb will be back to face Williamstown. Drennon likely will be ready as he has been recuperating from an auto accident on the morning of Sept. 13. Coach Rob Hinson said that night that Drennon needed 11 stitches in his scalp but did not suffer a concussion. Webb is another story. Webb and Hinson were saying in August that Webb would miss four games. This is Game No. 4. Looked like the ground game was strong last week against CH West led by Zaire Williams, Next: Home vs. No. 3 Williamstown (3-0) on Friday at 7.
3. Williamstown (4) 3-0
The Braves' recent surge into South Jersey prominence would get a rocket boost with a victory over Timber Creek. This should be a great game, matching two fast, physical teams. Willytown's Wing T will present some challenges for TC's defensive front and LBs. But TC's power running game will present some challenges for Williamstown's LB-led defense. One thing for sure: The hitting will be heavy. Both Ds can lay the wood. Might come down to special teams or turnovers. Games of this magnitude often do. Next: at No. 2 Timber Creek (2-1) Friday at 7.
4. Moorestown (7) 3-0
The Quakers scored two touchdowns on kick returns and another on an interception return in a 30-14 victory over then-No. 2 Camden Catholic on Friday. I actually think the Quakers -- or some folks associated with the program -- are a little surprised by their success. Not that their downplaying their own players, or how hard the kids and the coaches work. But this is a surprise team, with a big-time surprise player in junior QB/DB Tyreek Robinson. He was the best player on the field on Friday night, and that's saying something when CC's Jarred Alwan is playing for the other team. Great work from seniors Sidney Ruffin and Anthony Bonett on special teams, with a pair of long returns for TDs. Lost in the big plays might have been how well Moorestown's D stood up to CC after the first drive. Shane Rafter and Shane Lawless led the way. If they can avoid a letdown against a CHE team that is battled tested and not to be taken lightly despite its 0-3 record, Moorestown will be 4-0 heading into another showdown Oct. 5 against Timber Creek. Next: Home vs. Cherry Hill East (0-3) Friday at 7.
5. Camden Catholic (2) 2-1
Penalties, fumbles and special-teams tackling hurt the Irish in the loss to Moorestown. Alwan played well as usual but no doubt is beating himself up for losing a pair of fumbles. Both fumbles were in the secondary, the result of extra effort on his part. Irish need to develop a little consistency in the passing game but I suspect this team will bounce back in a big way and still be a contender for the division title as well as in the NP 3 playoffs. Next: Home vs. Woodrow Wilson (0-2) Friday at 7.
6. Delsea (10) 2-1
Senior fullback Stephon Lewis scored two touchdowns as trhe Crusaders built a 35-0 halftime lead en route to a 42-0 victory over Deptford. I probably overreacted to Delsea's loss at Moorestown in Week 2, as maybe some other folks did as well. But in light of Moorestown's win at CC, that loss looks a little differently. The big thing for the Crusaders was the way they put it behind them and took care of business against an old rival in Deptford. They face another old rival this weekend in Kingsway. These guys must think they're back in the old Tri-County Royal. Next: Home vs. Kingsway (2-1) Friday at 7.
7. Egg Harbor Township (2-1)
Tim Mason's 40-yard field goal with 0:04 on the clock lifted the Eagles to a thrilling, 31-28 victory over Hammonton on Friday night. EHT was a team to watch in the Cape. That's what I was hearing all summer. Then they labored a bit in the opener against Oakcrest and lost the next week to AC. But I suspect the expectations were well-founded: EHT showed something in rallying from a 14-point deficit to take down then-No. 5 Hammonton. This team has veteran depth. The Eagles are a Group 5 program, with all that implies in terms of numbers and talent. They get their shot at the title this Saturday at that manicured little field off the railroad tracks in Hammonton. Next: At No. 1 St. Joseph (3-0) on Saturday at noon.
8. Hammonton (5) 2-1
Veteran coach Pete Lancetta takes another shot at his 200th career victory in the Blue Devils' cross-over game with a Cape Atlantic League National Division opponent. Don't know too many details of the loss to EHT but something like that can happen any week in the Cape American. Well, to everybody but St. Joe. So far, anyway. Hammonton will bounce back. This team will be in the division title mix and in the SJ 4 title mix, too. Next: At Bridgeton (2-1) Friday at 7.
9. West Deptford (9) 3-0
The Eagles showed some moxie in an 90-yard drive that sealed a 36-28 victory over Colonial Liberty rival Haddon Heights on Saturday. Clyde Folsom continues to downplay a team that's won 12 in a row, is 14-1 since the start of last season and 51-7 in its last 58. Junior FB Gerald Owens is the real deal. But the Eagles' defense apparently scrambled a bit to contain Haddon Heights' no-huddle spread. That wasn't a surprise. HH has players and that scheme is tough to defend. Those teams could meet again in the SJ 2 playoffs. Next: at Sterling (2-1) Friday at 7.
10. Shawnee (NR) 2-1
The Renegades showed some serious resilience in bouncing back from a 39-0 loss to Williamstown to score a 44-6 victory over then-No. 6 Triton on Friday night. I knew Tirton was walking into a hornets' nest after the way Shawnee had been embarrassed by its own play against Williamstown. The Renegades erased a bad loss in the best way: with a good win. It's funny. One week after the program's worst loss sicne 1970, Shawnee is sitting pretty in the WJFL National with a 2-0 mark (tied with Clearview for the top spot) and looking again like a SJ 4 contender. Things change fast. Next: at Seneca (1-2) on Friday at 7.
Under consideration (listed alphabetbally):
Burlington Township (3-0): Sophomore quarterback Khalil Trotman could be an emerging star for the Falcons. Next: Home vs. Pemberton (0-2) Oct. 5.
Paul VI (3-0): The Eagles passed a significant test by going into Seneca and beating the Golden Eagles. Both teams knew that was a pivotal game in their seasons. These guys have a chance to be 5-0 heading into a game with Timber Creek. Next: Home vs. Winslow (0-3) Friday at 7.
Triton (2-1): Pete Goetz probably would have taken 2-1 at the bye if you offered it before the season. Still, that Shawnee loss was a tough one. Mustangs have a week to recuperate, physically and in other ways. Next: At Kingsway (2-1) on Oct. 5.
Holy Spirit (0-2): The Spartans didn't play last week but I dropped them out because of what happened off the field: Starting QB CJ LaFragola, a sophomore, transferred to St. Joe. I don't know the details so maybe this had nothing to do with football. But it has to throw a team that runs the triple option -- which depends so much on the QB -- to have its starter leave the program after two games to transfer to an arch rival. Next: Home vs. Mainland (1-2) Friday at 7.
Washington Township (2-1): The Minutemen defense has been solid all season. The offense woke up in a 32-14 win over Lenape. These guys could be a factor in the WJFL American and in SJ 5, too. Next: Home vs. Pennsauken (1-2) Friday at 7.
St. Augustine (3-0): Not sure what to make of these guys since the water hasn't been too deep in the Cape National. But Calvin Cass has 13 TDs and this program is gaining confidence on a weekly basis. These guys could be 6-0 heading into a showdown with SJ. Next: at Ocean City (0-3) Friday at 7.
-- Phil Anastasia