Football: New Top 10
Football: New Top 10
Well, we know No. 1 (although Williamstown was making an argument both during the game and afterward on Friday night)
And we know No. 2 (the Braves look terrific).
But then . . .
I put Timber Creek at No. 3 this week even though the Chargers are 2-2 and have struggled at times this season. I still think this team will be a major force, especially is DT Greg Webb returns and they can smooth out a few execution issues on offense.
But in all honesty, No. 3 to No. 10 (actually, to around No. 15) is a grab bag. You probably could argue for or against about 12-15 different teams for those eight spots.
I jumped CC over Moorestown because I felt like Motown should drop a spot based on a loss to an 0-3 CHE team. Left Delsea at No. 6. Nudged up Hammonton and Shawnee. Left WD at No. 9. Dropped EHT from No. 7 to No. 10 based on a loss to No. 1 SJ.
Make sense? I'm not sure it does, either. But as tough as the Top 10 can be midway in the season, it almost always works itself out in the end.
Here's the new Top 10, as of Sunday, Sept. 30:
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. St. Joseph (1) 4-0
Senior quarterback Anthony Giagunto was 11-for-14 for 138 yards and two TDs as St. Joseph survived another physical battle in the Cape American in a 24-11 victory over then-No. 7 Egg Harbor Township on Saturday. The Wildcats have won 22 in a row. They get a "break" this week against 0-4 Oakcrest, although only in the Cape American does playing against a team with a Penn State-bound LB (Brandon Bell) qualify as a "break." If these guys run the table this season, watch out. Because I think they could be even better next season. Next: Home vs. Oakcrest (0-4) Saturday at 2.
2. Williamstown (3) 4-0
The Braves' second-half dominance in Friday's 26-18 victory over then-No. 2 Timber Creek is best illustrated this way: Early in the fourth quarter, they had run 25 plays and the Chargers had run three. Senior DB Kali Boyce made two big plays with a pair of INTs in the first half. Junior RB Marques Little, who has a groin injury, looked a little hampered in the first half but found another gear in the second half. His hit that forced a second-half fumble was a huge play and illustrated why he's going to be a playing DB at a high Division I program in a couple of years. Well, that and his speed. Dangerous game this week at Eastern. Braves have to be wary of letdown after such an emotional victory over TC. Next: At Eastern (3-1) Friday at 7.
3. Timber Creek (3) 2-2
Counting Bryce Shade in the Wildcat formation, the Chargers played four quarterbacks Friday against Williamstown. That sequence at the end of the first half Friday night really hurt TC. If they score, they are up 18-6 at the break and Willytown can't play ball-control in the second half. But it was typical of what's hurt TC this season: Offensive execution. I suspect this team will bounce back. That could be a major storm invading Moorestown on Friday night. Next: At No. 5 Moorestown (3-1) Friday at 7.
4. Camden Catholic (5) 3-1
The Irish have been getting great work from senior center/defensive tackle Jeff Miller, who is battling a back injury. CC beat Woodrow Wilson in a game in which the Irish were missing star LB/RB Jarred Alwan (foot) and standout OL/DL John Blake (concussion). The bye comes at the right time for this squad. Junior QB Ryan Ziegler has been sidelined by a concussion, too. Next: At Bishop Eustace (2-1) Oct. 12 at 7.
5. Moorestown (4) 3-1
One week after special teams made the difference in a win over Camden Catholic, the tables were turned on the Quakers in a loss to Cherry Hill East. Moorestown was holding a 25-24 lead when a long snap sailed over the punter's head and the Quakers took a safety with less than two minutes to play. Missed extra-points hurt, too. Tough duty this week against TC. But this Moorestown team has stood up to physical challenges with sturdy defensive play against the run. Temple-bound OT/DE Shane Rafter plays with an edge and LB Shayne Lawless has been tough. Next: Home vs. No. 3 Timber Creek (2-2) Friday at 7.
6. Hammonton (8) 3-1
Pete Lancetta became the eighth coach in South Jersey history with 200 victories as the Blue Devils beat Bridgeton 41-0 on Friday night. It's one score but it might have illustrated the gap between the Cape American and Cape National this season. Big challenge this week at AC. The Vikings were no one-year wonder last season. AC beat a 9-3 Hammonton team last season. Next: At Atlantic City (2-1) Friday at 7.
7. Delsea (6) 3-1
Senior running back Tyrone Saud made plays all over the field in a 21-19 victory over Kingsway on Friday. The Crusaders still haven't hit their stride. They also have lost a top senior linemen to injury for the second year in a row. This year, it's Cody Mayo, a standout two-way player and team leader. Injuries all over the map in SJ football this season. Looking at the schedule, these guys should be favored in their final five regular-season games and maybe in all three SJ 3 games, too. Next: At Woodrow Wilson (0-3) Saturday at 2.
8. Shawnee (10) 3-1
The Renegades' defense led the way in a 13-0 victory over district rival Seneca on Friday. Tough blow for Shawnee as senior QB Andrew Bertolino, who was among SJ's leaders with 552 passing yards, is out for year with torn ACL. Senior Luke Snyder takes his place. The Renegades probably will have to rely a little more on running game and defense, although Snyder can throw it a little bit. Interesting game this week as Clearview has a chance to seize sole possession of first place in the WJFL National. Next: At Clearview (3-1) Friday at 7.
9. West Deptford (9) 4-0
Senior Shai Mumford has been making big plays for the Eagles and junior FB Gerald Owens continues to roll. Bye this week for the entire Colonial Conference. Like Delsea, WD likely will be favored in the rest of their games, for whatever that's worth. Next: At Audubon (3-1) Oct. 13 at 10:30 a.m.
10. Egg Harbor Township (7) 2-2
The Eagles created two turnovers in the third quarter but couldn't capitalize in loss to No. 1 St. Joseph on Saturday. I'm not sure how to separate EHT, AC, Holy Spirit and Absegami in the next tier of Cape American teams behind SJ (for sure) and Hammonton (I think but I'm not sure about that since EHT beat Hammonton). It will all play out through the next few weeks but it looks like a pretty good SJ 5 team (add Millville to the mix) might not make playoffs because of the demands of the American schedule. Next: Home vs. Absegami (3-1) Oct. 12 at 7.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Absegami (3-1): Notre Dame recruit Rashad Kinlaw expected to be cleared to return to action on Tuesday. These guys are getting healthy as senior DT Joe Brennan is back too. Next: Home vs. Holy Spirit (1-2) Friday at 7.
Atlantic City (2-1): Vikings handled Oakcrest by 33-6 score. Senior Dayshawn Reynolds broke a kickoff return for TD in upset win over Hammonton last season. Next: Home vs. No. 6 Hammonton (3-1) Friday at 7.
Burlington Township (3-0): Rested Falcons should get to 4-0 this weekend. Next: Home vs. Pemberton (0-3) Friday at 7.
Paul VI (4-0): Eagles defense has allowed just 28 points -- a TD in each game. Off this week, then dangerous CHE (ask Moorestown) before a showdown with TC. Next: at CH East (1-3) Oct. 13 at 11 a.m.
Holy Spirit (1-2): The Spartans won their first game under new coach John Iannucci, beating Mainland by a 21-6 score. New QB TJ Anderson played well in his debut. Big test this week at Absegami (3-1).
Cedar Creek (4-0): CC won showdown with Buena on Friday night and have a National victory over American with win over Oakcrest. Georgia Tech-bound QB Damon Mitchell putting together big season. CC is off this week.
St. Augustine (4-0): Not sure how to rank Hermits given strength of schedule. RB Calvin Cass on pace to challenge Chris LaPierre's SJ record of 44 TDs. Cass has 18. SAP is off this week.
Millville (2-2): The Thunderbolts have a bye before a pivotal game at Holy Spirit Oct. 12. Don't count out this team. Millville is off this week, then travels to Holy Spirit on Oct. 12.
Washington Twp. (3-1): The Minutemen have won three in a row, which builds a lot of confidence. Big challenge this week against what should be a pretty desperate Cherokee team.
Eastern (3-1): Vikings only loss was to TC in a game that was closer than final score. Junior QB Tom Flacco is starting to put up some big numbers. Big challenge on Friday against No. 1 Williamstown.
-- Phil Anastasia