By Phil Anastasia
Absegami made its move this week, putting 47 on the board against Hammonton (when's the last time that happened?) as Notre Dame recruit Rashad Kinlaw made his season debut.
The Braves jumped from No. 8 to No. 5. AC dropped a notch to No. 6 but that battle will sort out as those teams play this Friday (or more likely Saturday, since many games, especially those involving shore teams, are expected to be pushed back a day).
Absegami's rise also pushed West Deptford down to No. 7. As is so often the case, it's tough to get a good read on the Eagles because of the level of competition.
Camden Catholic dropped from No. 7 to No. 10, mainly because Eastern and Washington Township both continue to win and deserve to move up a spot.
Here's the Top 10, as of Sunday oct. 28, with previous ranking in parentheses:
1. St. Joseph (1) 7-0
Senior Kevin Goldsmith had a fumble recovery and an interception in a 42-14 victory over previously undefeated St. Augustine Prep on Saturday. It says something for the Wildcats that they can play a sloppy game (by their standards, anyway) and still beat an undefeated opponent by four TDs. SJ has won 25 in a row. Coach Paul Sacco was hoping to play 12 games this season but I wouldn't be surprised if the projected No. 8 seed in the NP 1 tournament opts not to join the field. That would give SJ a bye before a second-round game, followed by that Thanksgiving Eve clash with rival Hammonton. Next: at Mainland (2-5) Friday at 7.
2. Williamstown (2) 7-0
The bye came at a good time for junior running back/defensive back Marques Little, who has been nursing a groin injury. The Braves go back to the future with a battle with old Tri Co Royal rival Kingsway on Friday. Then comes the pivotal test for this squad: The SJ Group 5 tournament. Williamstown will be the No. 1 seed if they handle Kingsway. But no game will be easy in that field. Next: at Kingsway (5-2) Friday at 7.
3. Timber Creek (3) 5-2
Senior running back Zaire Williams and senior defensive end Myles Nash will play in Chesapeake Bowl Dec. 29. The Chargers could get North Carolina recruit Greg Webb back for this weekend's game vs. Seneca. The DT has been practicing all week and moving pretty well, according to coach Rob Hinson. Despite scuffling start and Lacey's 7-0 record (thanks to last-play victory on Friday), these guys are still the team to beat in SJ 4. Next: Home vs. Seneca (3-4) Friday at 7.
4. Delsea (4) 7-1
Senior quarterback Josh Awotunde, senior running back Tyrone Saud and junior running back Rob Hooks each have more than 500 rushing yards. The Crusaders look to be hitting their stride at a good time. They will be No. 1 seed and clear favorite in SJ 3. Next: Home vs. Cumberland (3-4) Friday at 7.
5. Absegami (8) 5-2
The Braves' offense found another gear with the return of Notre Dame recruit Rashad Kinlaw. Kinlaw, senior RB Tyler Bing and junior RB David Hood might form the most explosive backfield in SJ. Big test this week vs. AC and those rivals could meet again the next weekend in the first round of the SJ 5 tourney. Next: Home vs. No. 6 Atlantic City (5-2) Friday at 7.
6. Atlantic City (5) 5-2
Senior quarterback Jarren McBryde and senior wide receiver Dayshawn Reynolds might be the most dangerous pass-catch combination in South Jersey. AC has a big challenge this week at Absegami. But these guys have shown a knack for playing well in big games. With the way this football program has played the last two seasons and the way the basketball team captured the state Group 4 title last season (and will be a faborite again next season), these are high times for the AC athletic program. Next: At No. 5 Absegami (5-2) Friday at 7.
7. West Deptford (6) 7-0
The Eagles have scored 116 points (55.3 average) in their last three games. No disrepect to the Colonial but it's tough to get a good read on WD as compared to say, Absegami or AC or Eastern or Washington Twp. or a lot of other schools. WD can only play its schedule. They've excelled all season. The Eagles have won 16 in a row and 29 of 31. Should get a stern test this weekend from rival Haddonfield. Next: At Haddonfield (5-2) Friday at 7.
8. Eastern (9) 6-2
Junior quarterback Tom Flacco threw six touchdown passes in the first three quarters of a 55-38 victory over Winslow Township on Friday. Flacco has SJ-best 2,003 yards. Four different receivers -- Keyshawn Seegers, Eli Woodard, Devin Nicholas and Ryan Delaney -- have more than 300 yards. These guys are in SJ 5 tournament and will get a home game. That offense will be a tough matchup for any defense. Next: at Lenape (1-6) Friday at 7.
9. Washington Township (10) 6-1
Junior Andrew O'Neill's three-yard touchdown run was the difference in a 35-28 overtime victory over Seneca Friday night. That's six in a row for the Minutemen, who also will be in the SJ 5 field. A win over Clearview should get the Minutemen a home game. WT could see Williamstown twice in November for the second year in a row. 10.
Camden Catholic (7) 5-2
Senior linebacker Sean Collins leads the team in tackles. Irish took care of business in 35-6 victory over struggling Gloucester Catholic on Friday. CC will make NP 3 tourney but will be on the road in the first round. Tough duty in that tournament. Next: Home vs. Cherry Hill West (4-3) Friday at 7.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically):
Holy Spirit (4-3): The Spartans defense is serious. And almost all those guys are juniors. Next: Home vs. Oakcrest (0-7) Friday at 7.
Millville (4-3): Sophomore Rob Ennis ran for school-record 302 yards Friday night. Huge game vs. Hammonton this week. Basically, a playoff game for both teams. Next: Home vs. Hammonton (4-3) Friday at 7.
Penns Grove (7-0): Red Devils have won games by 60-0, 60-0 and 68-0 this season. They are averaging 50.2 and have outscored last four opponents by 210-0. Same deal as with WD: Hard to get accurate read given level of comp. Next: at Highland (4-4) Friday at 7.
Also in the mix:
Hammonton (4-3): Blue Devils need win at Millville or could miss SJ 4 tournament.
EHT (3-4): Up and down Eagles are still alive in SJ 5 race but need win vs. OC and lots of help.
Cedar Creek (7-0): First playoff berth in school history in the bag. CC vs. Haddon Heights could be a great second-round shootout in SJ 2. Next: Home vs. LCM (1-6) Saturday at 4.
St. Augustine (6-1): Hermits will get to 7-1, then travel to Don Bosco, Bergen Catholic or Paramus Catholic in NP 4 first round play. Next: Home vs. Pleasantville (0-7) Friday at 7.
Woodbury (6-1): Alabama recruit Anthony Averett is quietly putting together monster season. Next: Home vs. Haddon Twp. (4-3 Saturday at 1030.
Delran (7-0): The Bears are looking at 8-0 and No. 1 seed in CJ 2. Wish they were in SJ 2. Next: home vs. Ewing (1-7) Friday at 7.
Burlington Twp. (6-1): Soph QB Khalil Trotman continues to make plays for Falcons. Big test this week against rival NBC and their top RB, Kenyatta Greene. Next: Home vs. NBC (4-3) Saturday at 2.
Paul VI (5-2): Junior QB Alec Vignola passed for 236 yards in 35-6 win over Triton. Next: at Moorestown (5-3) Saturday at 3.
Clearview (5-2): Pioneers get a chance to make another statement against Gloucester County rival WT. Next: at Washington Twp. (6-1) Friday at 7.
Kingsway (5-2): Junior RB Ray Lawry was invited to US Army All American combine January in San Antonio. Next: Home vs. No. 2 Williamstown (7-0) Friday at 7.
Shawnee (4-3): Coach Tim Gushue goes for 200th win this weekend. Next: Home vs. Pennsauken (2-5) Friday at 7.
Glassboro (6-1): Senior Corey Clement is climbing toward 6,000 career yards. Next: At Gloucester Catholic (1-6) Saturday at 2:30.
Moorestown (5-3): Mercurial Quakers will be dangerous in SJ 4 because of playmakers such as Sidney Ruffin and Anthony Bonett. Next: Home vs. PVI (5-2) Saturday at 3.
Contact Phil Anastasia at email@example.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.