By Phil Anastasia
Here's a new South Jersey football Top 25 rankings, as of Sunday Oct. 13.
Previous rankings in parentheses:
1. Holy Spirit (1) 4-0
Senior Taalib Gerald has seven touchdowns for the Spartans. Holy Spirit beat Absegami 33-6 in a game played at Absegami on Friday, switched from Holy Spirit because of the poor condition of the Spartans' field after heavy rain. HS has allowed a touchown or less in 12 of its last 15 games. Big challenge this weekend against a talented Millville team that is coming off a bye. Should be a great atmosphere at historic Wheaton Field. Next: At No. 8 Millville (3-1) Frisay at 7.
2. Eastern (2) 5-0
The Vikings are 5-0 for the first time since 1999, Adam Taliaferro's senior year. They showed something on Friday, winning a field-position game in the rain in poor conditions at Williamstown, scoring twice in the fourth quarter to take a 14-0 victory. It was a sloppy, grind-it-out game and Eastern found a way to win. Next: Home vs. No. 15 Clearview (4-1) Friday at 7.
3. Timber Creek (3) 4-1
The Chargers have won 26 of their last 29 games. Like Eastern, Timber Creek found a way to win in difficult circumstances. They survived a tight battle with Moorestown by a 7-6 score in the rain and mud on Friday night. Not every game is going to be a walk in the park for the Chargers' high powered offense. A team needs to win in a lot of different ways in the course of the long season. Next: At Lenape (2-2) Friday at 7.
4. St. Joseph (5) 4-1
Sophomore twins Salaam and A'laam Horne have combined for 12 touchdowns for the Wildcats. St. Joe has scored 125 points in its last two games. They move up a spot after Williamstown lost its second game in a row. St. Joe gets a bye this week. Next: Home vs. Atlantic City (2-2) Oct. 26 at noon.
5. Williamstown (4) 3-2
The Braves have been getting some strong work from senior guard Austin Odd. Williamstown drops a spot after a 14-0 loss to Eastern. It was the Braves' second loss in a row after 16 straight wins. They came out of a treacherous four-game schedule stretch with a 2-2 record -- not great but not bad, either. This is still a team to watch in SJ 5. Next: At Triton (1-3) Friday at 7.
6. Cherokee (6) 3-1
The Chiefs scored two TDs on interception returns in a 65-second span late in the second quarter of a 45-0 win over Washington Twp. on Saturday. The Chiefs' offensive line got a big boost from the return of junior tackle Dan Iannone, the team's strongest player. He had been out with an ankle injury. Cherokee's OL and power running game was in top form against a young, undersized WT defense. Big game this weekend against a fierce school-district rival. Next: Home vs. No. 14 Shawnee (3-2) Friday at 7.
7. West Deptford (7) 4-0
The Eagles' last loss was September 30, 2011 -- 744 days ago. They've won a state-best 25 games in a row. Senior Joe Diaco scored four TDs in a 34-7 win over previously undefeated Collingswood. WD faces another unbeaten team this week as Sterling comes to town in a game that will be televised on The Comast Network. Next: Home vs. No. 15 Sterling (4-0) Friday at 7.
8. Millville (8) 3-1
The Thunderbolts were off last week so they will have had 14 days to prepare for South Jersey's top-ranked team. One battle within the battle will be Millville's high-powered offense, which features junior RB Rob Ennis and senior all-purpose Ryquell Armstead, against Holy Spirit's dominant defense. Next: Home vs. No. 1 Holy Spirit (4-0) Friday at 7.
9. Rancocas Valley (10) 3-1
Junior quarterback Jordan Sadusky has thrown nine touchdown passes for a team that is averaging 44.25 points. The Red Devils visit NBC this week and have to be careful not to get caught looking ahead to a matchup the next weekend at 5-0 Trenton that likely will decide the West Jersey Colonial title. Next: At NBC (3-1) Saturday at 2.
10. Camden (12) 4-0
The Panthers busted loose in the second half of a 33-10 win over Cumberland Friday night in their first game on their new field at Farnham Park. Camden will be very tough to beat at home in the playoffs, given how the fast track on the new field really plays into the Panthers' strength -- speed at the skill positions. Sophomore WR Brad Hawkins has five touchdown catches for Camden. Next: At Moorestown (2-3) Friday at 7.
11. Kingsway (13) 4-1
The Dragons have won four in a row since dropping the opener to Shawnee. Justin Morrison and Ray Lawry combined for five TDs in a 37-13 win over Triton. This team is playing with a lot of confidence right now. The Dragons get a bye week to re-charge their batteries before beginning the crucial stetch of the season. Next: Home vs. Pennsauken (2-3) Oct. 25 at 7.
12. Hammonton (15) 4-1
The Blue Devils also have won four in a row since dropping the opener. They scored an impressive 21-0 win over then-No. 14 Atlantic City on Friday. Senior Dylan Rosu carried the football 29 times on 146 yards and a TD on a rainy, muddy field. Hammonton also is entering its bye week. The Blue Devils are moving into good position to get a high seed in SJ 4. Next: at Mainland (1-3) Oct. 25 at 7.
13. Clearview (NR) 4-1
The Pioneers enter the Top 25 at No. 13 courtesy of their dramatic 15-14 victory over then-No. 9 Shawnee on Friday. Senior quarterback Brendan Lee threw a 26-yard TD pass to Sterling Sheffield and a two-point conversion pass to Mike Williamson with 0:45 on the clock to cap a comeback from a 14-0 halftime deficit. Coach Mark Deal said he had no intention to trying to tie the score at 14-14 with a conversion kick and opted to go for two and the win. "We went there to win," Deal said. Next: At No. 2 Eastern (5-0) Friday at 7.
14. Shawnee (9) 3-2
The loss to Clearview was Shawnee's second of the season -- and the Renegades had a 14-0 lead in both. The other was a 17-14 loss to Williamstown in Week Two. There's no time for the Renegades to feel sorry for themselves as the visit their fiercest rival this weekend with a chance to turn their season right back around with a win. Next: At No. 6 Cherokee (3-1) Friday at 7.
15. Sterling (NR) 4-0
The Silver Knights jump into the Top 25 thanks to a 13-0 win over then-No. 11 Haddonfield on Friday night. Junior Davon Tucker ran for both TDs on a rainy night when both teams played conservative offense and tough defense. It was a statement win for Sterling, which has been pushing into Colonial Liberty and SJ 2 prominence over the last two seasons. The Silver Knights get their shot at the title this weekend. Next: At No. 7 West Deptford (4-0) Friday at 7.
16. St. Augustine (16) 4-0
The Hermits come off a bye and enter the meat of their schedule. Next: At No. 22 Bridgeton (4-1) Friday at 7.
17. Delsea (17) 3-2
The Crusaders bounced back from a tough loss to Kingsway with a 41-0 win over Woodrow Wilson. Next: Home vs. Winslow (0-5) Friday at 7.
18. Cherry Hill West (19) 3-1
Senior Rodney Williams threw a 10-yard TD pass to senior Dwuane Allen with 51 seconds left to rally the Lions to a 21-14 win over Seneca. CHW coach Brian Wright almost called for the FG unit with his team looking at a 4th-and-7 from the 10. But Williams wanted the football. "I said, 'Coach, we're going to win this game,'" Williams said. Next: At Woodrow Wilson (1-3) Saturday at noon.
19. Haddonfield (11) 3-1
The Bulldogs couldn't generate much offense on a muddy field against an active Sterling defense. Next: Home vs. Overbrook (2-2) Friday at 7.
20. Paul VI (20) 3-1
The Eagles come off a bye week and could have a chance to fatten their statistics against a young CH East team that has been struggling on defense. Next: Home vs. CH East (0-5) Friday at 7.
21. Woodstown (24) 4-0
The Wolverines made a statement with a 9-0 win over Penns Grove, which had won 16 in a row. Woodstown has allowed just 16 points all season. It will make for an interesting match this Friday: Their D against Pennsville's potent O. Next: Home vs. No. 25 Pennsville (4-0) Friday at 7.
22. Bridgeton (23) 4-1
The Bulldogs bounced back from a loss to Hammonton with an impressive win over Buena. This week is their chance to seize command of the Cape National race. Next: Home vs. No. 16 St. Augustine (4-0).
23. Burlington Twp. (21) 3-1
The Falcons rallied from a 13-0 deficit in a 14-13 win over Pemberton. Big game for senior all-purpose Jahseim Rover. Next: at WWPS (1-4) Friday at 7.
24. Cinnaminson (25) 4-1
Junior QB Nick Thevanayagan led the way in 37-6 win over Holy Cross. Next: at Palmyra (2-3) Friday at 7.
25. Pennsville (NR) 4-0
Senior QB Dylan Cummings made history for the second week in a row, throwing six TD passes in 44-7 win over Pitman. Cummings now is SJ's all-time leader in both career yardage and TD passes (71). Big challenge this weekend against Woodstown defense. Next: at No. 21 Woodstown (4-0) Friday at 7.
Under consideration: Woodbury (2-1)
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