By Phil Anastasia
Collingswood's visit to rival Haddonfield on Friday probably will mark the Panthers' biggest football game in eight years.
Collingswood is 5-1 but still on the outside, looking in, in regard to power points and qualifying for a South Jersey Group 2 playoff berth.
But that would change in a hurry with a win over 4-2 Haddonfield.
After seven weeks, 6-0 teams Woodstown (92 power points), West Deptford (87) and Camden (83) look in great shape as far as qualifying for the SJ 2 tournament, as does 5-1 Cinnaminson (89).
Bridgeton (5-2) has 80 power points but will play just one more game before the cutoff. Cedar Creek (5-1) is sixth with 70 points.
Then it gets interesting. Haddonfield and Sterling (5-1) are tied with 61 points and tied for the last two spots -- if the eight-team field was set today.
Buena (3-4) is next with 54 but the Chiefs also have just one more game before the cutoff.
Collingswood stands 10th with 47 points. But the Panthers will pick up a lot of power points with a win over Haddonfield. It might be enough to get them in the playoffs -- and eliminate the Bulldogs.
Of course, the same is true for Haddonfield. A Bulldogs win would all but assure them of a berth, and likely eliminate the Panthers.
So this game is, in effect, a playoff game to determine which team will make the playoffs.
Big games in November are nothing new for Haddonfield, which has been a serious Colonial Liberty and SJ 2 contender for the last several seasons.
But this probably is Collingswood's biggest game since the Panthers lost to Camden in the SJ 2 semifinals in 2005.
Collingswood is 5-1 for the first time since 1994.
"You couldn't ask for anything more," Collingswood senior FB/LB John Deaner said of the stakes for Friday's game on Haddonfield's new turf field.
-- Phil Anastasia