By Phil Anastasia
It was not a good week for teams ranked from No. 5 to No. 8 -- three of the four went down, creating more upheaval in what has been a steadily shifting Top 10 this season.
First, some stability. The first four teams stayed the same, with No. 1 St. Joe, No. 2 Williamstown and No. 3 Timber Creek winning in impressive fashion while No. 4 Camden Catholic had a bye.
But No. 5 Moorestown went down. No. 6 Hammonton went down. No. 8 Shawnee went down.
So it's Week 6, and the Top 10 has three teams that were NR (not ranked) the previous week -- a sure sign of the unsetttled nature of this thing when so many teams seem to rise and fall on a weekly basis.
Remember, it will all play out in the end. But it's likely to be an increasingly wild ride on the way there.
Here's the latest Top 10 in South Jersey football, as of Sunday Oct. 7:
(Previous ranking in parentheses)
1. St. Joseph (1) 5-0
Senior RB Miles Pease's 74-yard touchdown burst on the first play sparked a 39-0 victory over Oakcrest on Saturday. The Wildcats have taken care of business through the first five weeks of the Cape Atlantic American schedule. They probably could use the bye. Transfers Chris Gabor (from Ocean City) and CJ LaFragola (from Holy Spirit) will be eligible soon, and some of those players in that loaded sophomore class are starting to make more and more of an impact, so this team's depth might be less of a factor in the second half of the season. Next: At No. 6 Atlantic City (3-1) Oct. 19 at 7.
2. Williamstown (2) 5-0
The Braves have won 14 of 16. They are 20-3 in West Jersey Football League games since the formation of the super-conference in 2010. Williamstown took care of business in what I thought might be a dangerous game against Eastern, breaking to a 20-0 lead after one quarter. Junior FB John Chamberlin added two TDs in the second half of a 34-17 win. Junior HB/DB Marques Little (groin injury) needs to get healthy. Next: Home vs. Triton (2-2) Friday at 7.
3. Timber Creek (3) 3-2
Senior Bryce Shade continues to make plays for the Chargers. He scored two touchdowns in a 34-6 win over then-No. 5 Moorestown on Friday. Junior Jagger Green threw a TD pass to Adonis Jennings to get the Chargers on the board against the Quakers. Hard running by Khalil Pierce closed out the win in the fourth quarter. Coach Rob Hinson wouldn't mind if his team flew under the radar until the SJ 4 tournament but that Oct. 19 game against Paul VI could be pretty interesting. Next: Home vs. Lenape (0-4) Friday at 7.
4. Camden Catholic (4) 3-1
The Irish hope to have star running back/linebacker Jarred Alwan, a Temple recruit who is battling a foot injury, back for Friday's clash with rival Bishop Eustace. The bye came at a good time for CC, which was battling a series of nagging injuries and lacks the depth of some other elite teams. The Irish aren't scheduled to play a team with a winning record until Thanksgiving Eve against rival Paul Vi but that will likely change in the first or second round of the NP 3 tournament. Next: At Bishop Eustace (2-2) Friday at 7.
5. Delsea (7) 4-1
The Crusaders are averaging 35.2 points behind quarterback Josh Awotunde. Delsea suffered a blow with the loss for the season of two-way lineman Cody Mayo. He was their third senior captain in a row to be lost for the season with an injury. Next summer, some key senior is going to stand up and say, "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve" -- just to be safe. Next: at Winslow Township (0-5) Saturday at noon.
6. Atlantic City (NR) 3-1
Senior wide receiver Dayshawn Reynolds, a key player for last winter's Group 4 state championship basketball team, caught seven passes for 169 yards in a 19-7 victory over then-No. 6 Hammonton on Friday. If this team gets past Buena on the road on Friday night, the Vikings will be 4-1 with four wins in a row when they host No. 1 St. Joe Oct. 19. Next: At Buena (3-2) Friday at 7.
7. Holy Spirit (NR) 2-2
Juniors Jeff Stebb and A.J. Dawson returned interceptions for touchdowns in a 18-0 victory over Absegami on Friday. Very impressive win over Gami team that was playing pretty well. HS defense has allowed 13 points in its last three games including 7-0 loss to No. 1 St. Joe. Having a hard time getting a good read on this team. Next: Home vs. Millville (2-2) Friday at 7.
8. West Deptford (9) 4-0
Junior quarterback Mike Daws was 7-for-10 passing for 89 yards and a touchdown in his first varsity action in a 35-20 victory over Sterling on Sept. 28. Junior FB Gerald Owens is battling nagging injuries so the bye came at the right time for him. Next: At Audubon (3-1) Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
9. Paul VI (NR) 4-0
The Eagles' 35-6 win over Clearview in Week Two is looking more impressive given the Pioneers' 4-1 record and recent victory over then-No. 8 Shawnee. QB Alec Vignola has been making a lot of plays for PVI. Dangerous game this weekend against resurgent and battled-tested CHE. Next: At Cherry Hill East (2-3) Saturday at 11.
10. Moorestown (5) 3-2
The Quakers' next three opponents have a combined record of 2-10. Next: At Camden (1-3) Saturday at 11. This team has a great chance to be 6-2 and get a home game in the SJ 4 tournament. There's an outside chance QB/DB/P Drew Pederson (broken ankle) could be back by then.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Egg Harbor Township (2-2): Key game for the Eagles this weekend at home vs. Absegami (3-2). One of those teams will be in good shape, and one will be in deep water as far as qualifying for SJ 5 tourney.
Hammonton (3-2): Tough losses to EHT and AC means the Blue Devils will need to regroup during bye week. They'll come back strong in second half of season. Next: Home Oct. 19 vs. Mainland (1-3).
Penns Grove (4-0): Don't call the Red Devils the team to beat in SJ 1. OK, call them that. Just don't let Kemp Carr hear you. Next: at Pitman (0-4) Friday at 7.
Washington Township (4-1): Minutemen are riding high heading into their bye week with four wins in a row. This team is a long way from that 2-0 win over Winslow Twp. Junior Andrew O'Neill has been making plays on offense, defense and special teams for WT and senior QB Tom Hildebrand has recovered his 2011 mojo. Next: home vs. CH East (2-3) Oct. 20 at 4.
Clearview (4-1): That was a signature win Friday against Shawnee. But now the Pioneers have to handle not being the underdogs anymore. Next: Home vs. Eastern (3-2) Friday at 7.
Kingsway (3-2): The Dragons' 24-13 win over Triton was impressive. LBs Myles Matthews are Brian Morrow are leading tough D. Next: At Pennsauken (2-3) Oct. 20 at noon.
Burlington Twp. (4-0): Big test this weekend against Mercer County power WWPs (4-1), which has knocked off RV.
Florence (4-0): Clash of unbeatens this Friday vs. Delran (5-0).
Shawnee (3-2): The Renegades get a chance to get right back in the saddle with a clash with rival Cherokee (1-3) on Friday.
Millville (2-2): In madcap second tier of Cape American, Thunderbolts get a chance to make their mark this Friday vs. red-hot Holy Spirit (2-2).
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter