Tuesday, October 21, 2014
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Football: Picks for all 15 playoff games

Football: Picks for all 15 playoff games

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By Phil Anastasia

Here's a closer look, with predictions, at the 15 playoff games involving South Jersey football teams this weekend:

Friday at 7
South Jersey Group 5
No. 6 seed Southern (8-2) at No. 2 Eastern (7-3): This could be a track meet on Eastern's artificial surface. Southern can score. So can Eastern. Weather should be good. The Vikings' potent passing game, sparked by junior QB Tom Flacco (2,609 yards), has been gaining traction since the middle of the season. Pick: Eastern, 40-34.

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No. 4 Atlantic City (8-2) at No. 1 Williamstown (10-0): Braves pass defense faces big challenge from Jarren McBryde, Dayshawn Reynolds and Co. Williamstown will try to control the clock and field position with its Wing T ground game. FB John Chamberlin and HBs Marques Little and Kali Boyce have not been stopped all season. The Vikings will make a big play or two. If they make four or five, the Braves could be in hot water. But Williamstown's defense has a lot of speed. Pick: Williamstown, 27-20.

South Jersey Group 4
No. 5 Shawnee (6-4) at No. 1 Timber Creek (8-2): This could be last game together for Shawnee's standout DiOrio brothers, senior Rob and junior Anthony. Never count out a well- coached team with tough kids and excellent special teams -- and that defines Shawnee. But Timber Creek's speed and explosiveness creates major matchup problems for the Renegades. TC defensive ends Myles Nash and Dajaun Drennon are disruptive. Plus, TC has won six in a row and is gaining momentum. Pick: Timber Creek, 20-10.

South Jersey Group 3
No. 6 Bridgeton (6-4) at No. 2 Delsea (9-1): Crusaders have played just two games since Oct. 26. Offense is clicking behind run-pass threat Josh Awotunde. Delsea is well rested and healthy and riding an eight-game winning streak. That's a tough combination to beat. Pick: Delsea, 27-13.

South Jersey Group 2
No. 5 Woodstown (7-3) at No. 1 West Deptford (10-0): Eagles could be at less than full strength because of injuries. But WD is a deep and resilient team with a lot of options. HBs Connor Smith and Josh Cornelius could have big games. Woodstown is playing its best football but the Woodies have been hit by injuries, too. Pick: West Deptford, 34-19.

Central Jersey Group 2
No. 6 Weequahic (8-2) at No. 2 Delran (9-1): Bears have to bounce back from Thanksgiving loss to rival Cinnaminson. Delran coach Pete Miles thinks Weequahic might be the best team in the section. Home field should help Delran. Pick: Delran, 17-13.

Central Jersey Group 1
No. 3 Florence (9-1) at No. 2 Point Pleasant Beach (10-0): Gulls have won every game by double digits. PPB is one of those shore-area teams with a lot of players who have been severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Florence's only loss was 7-0 to Delran. Pick: Florence, 15-14.

Non-Public Group 2
No. 6 Pingry (4-6) at No. 2 Holy Spirit (6-4): Junior linebacker Jeff Steeb leads a sturdy Spartans defense. HS has played a serious schedule. These guys are battled tested. HS likely heading to state finals for the third year in a row. Pick: Holy Spirit, 27-7.

Saturday at 1
South Jersey Group 4
No. 6 Kingsway (7-3) at No. 2 Lacey (10-0): The Lions have a win over S.J. 5 semifinalist Southern. Dragons are legit upset threat in this game. They are 7-2 since opening night with losses to No. 1 Williamstown and No. 4 Delsea by a combined 6 points, and junior RB Ray Lawry might be playing as well as anybody in SJ right now. Pick: Lacey, 20-13.

South Jersey Group 3
No. 4 Northern Burlington (6-4) at No. 1 Burlington Township (8-2): Mike Thomas scored five touchdowns in a 39-13 win for Burlington Township over Northern Burlington on Nov. 3. There's a little bit of bad blood in this game, based on the way NBC reacted to the end of the last game. Should be a spirited battle. Pick: Burlington Township, 27-19.

South Jersey Group 2
No. 3 Willingboro (6-4) at No. 2 Cedar Creek (9-1): Pirates senior quarterback Damon Mitchell, a Georgia Tech recruit, has thrown for 19 touchdowns and run for 17 touchdowns. Senior RB Gary Melton is a major playmaker, too. Boro hopes to control clock behind senior RB Rob Cleveland (1,500 yards). Pick: Cedar Creek, 26-20.

South Jersey Group 1
No. 3 Glsssboro (9-1) at No. 2 Woodbury (9-1): Thundering Herd has pitched four straight shutouts, outscoring opponents by combined 187-0. This game marks a clash of best friends in Woodbury's Anthony Averett and Glassboro's Corey Clement. Should be big crowd for Group 1 semi. The Herd is tough on its homefield. Pick: Woodbury, 19-13.

No. 5 Paulsboro (7-3) at No. 1 Penns Grove (10-0): Junior running back Anthony Robertson has 24 touchdowns for Red Devils. PG defense has pitched 7 straight shutouts. Red Devils are putting up historical numbers. Paulsboro defense is tough but Red Raiders could struggle to move football and change field possession against PG defense. Paulsboro has the kicker (Mike Maccarone) to snap the shutout streak if the Red Raiders get to red zone. Pick: Penns Grove, 23-6.

Non-Public Group 1
No. 5 Hudson Catholic (5-4-1) at No. 1 St. Joseph (8-1): In their last five playoff games dating to 2009, the Wildcats have outscored opponents, 210-14. SJ likely smarting from that loss to Hammonton on Thanksgiving eve. But Wildcats know how to bounce back. Ironically, Hudson Catholic is last team to beat SJ in playoffs, with 3-0 win in 2008. That won't happen again Saturday. Pick: St. Joseph, 41-6.

Non-Public Group 3
Camden Catholic (7-3) at Delbarton (9-1): The Green Wave has won nine in a row and has scored 107 points in its last two games. This is tough duty for Irish, a long ride to Morristown to face an opponent that is operating at a high level. But that's the name of the game in NP 3 and NP 4. CC has a puncher's chance. Pick: Delbarton, 27-14.

Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter.

 

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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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