Monday, September 22, 2014
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Football: New Top 25

Football: New Top 25

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By Phil Anastasia

Here's the new Top 25 in South Jersey football, as of Sunday Nov. 3:

(previous ranking in parentheses)

1. Holy Spirit (1) 7-0

The Spartans could get senior quarterback T.J. Anderson, who has been out for two weeks with a bone bruise in his leg, back for this weekend. Then again, they might decide to rest him for another week to prepare for the playoff push as well as the Thanksgiving clash with rival Atlantic City. Typically sturdy defense and three TDs by Taalig Gerald led the way to a 38-0 win over EHT. Next: Home vs. Oakcrest (1-6) Friday at 7.

2. St. Joseph (2) 6-1

The Wildcats showed their mettle in the second half of a tough game against rival St. Augustine. Trailing 14-12 at halftime, the Wildcats outscored the Hermits 20-0 for a 32-14 victory. Senior Cody Sampson led the way, with more big plays from junior C.J. LaFragola and sophomore twins A'Laam and Salaam Horne. Next: Home vs. Mainland (2-5) Saturday at noon.

3. Cherokee (3) 6-1

Senior Matt Stickney scored three touchdowns in a 48-15 win over Pennsauken on Saturday. It was coach P.J. Mehigan's 100th win in his 12th season at his alma mater. Mehigan is 100-28. "I always tell the kid's not to focus on individual accomplishments," Mehigan said. "It's just a number." Mehigan said it's a "blessing" to be able to coach at Cherokee. "I remember coming to Cherokee football games when I was a little kid with my father," Mehigan said. "I love this place." Next: At CH East (0-7) Saturday at 11.

4. Eastern (4) 7-1

Senior Kingsley Ayeni ran for three touchdowns in a 52-14 win over Winslow Township. It was the fourth time Eastern had scored more than 40 points this season. The Vikings face an interesting situation Friday: They have already played their first eight games for playoff purposes, and so nothing that happens in the game against Lenape will matter in that regard. Lenape will be open for business, too, since the Indians can earn a playoff berth with a win. Do the Vikings rest their starters at any point? Do they limit the risk to star quarterback Tom Flacco? On the other hand, Flacco and Co. surely want to play all four quarters and the Comcast Network, which is televising the game, probably wouldn't be too happy if Flacco sits out. Next: Home vs. Lenape (3-4) Friday at 6.

5. Timber Creek (5) 6-1

The Chargers likely will lock up the No. 1 seed in the SJ 4 tournament with a victory this weekend. Timber Creek has won two sectional titles in a row and is favored to three-peat. The Chargers are coming off a bye week that probably worked wonders for the bumps and bruises that accumulated during the first seven weeks of the season. They are primed for another playoff push. Next: At Seneca (1-6) Friday at 7.

6. West Deptford (6) 7-0

The Eagles have won 28 games in a row. They are averaging 49.8 points this season. The SJ record for scoring average is 51.8 set by Penns Grove last season. Senior Isaiah Worthy led the way in a 49-3 win over Haddon Heights on Friday. Despite their gaudy numbers, the Eagles might be looking at the No. 4 seed in the SJ 2 tournament if Woodstown, Camden and Cinnaminson all win this weekend. Shockingly, they even could end up as a No. 5 if Haddonfield beats Paulsboro and a few other dominoes fall a certain way. That's the result of the bare minimum power points the Eagles earned in wins over Gateway and Lindenwold (winless, Group 1 opponents).They play each other this week, so the Eagles will pick up three residuals. Next: Home vs. Haddon Twp. (2-5) Friday at 7.

7. Williamstown (7) 5-2
The Braves are in the hunt for a top four seed and a home playoff game in the first round of the SJ 5 tournament. The defending SJ 5 champions should be rested after a bye week and will be a tough out in the tournament. They have an interesting game this week against an old Tri-County Royal rival. Next: Home vs. No. 12 Kingsway (5-2) Friday at 7.

8. Milville (8) 5-2

How about senior Ryquell Armstead? In the last two games as a replacement for injured star Rob Ennis, Armstead has run for 579 yards and seven touchdowns. "He's playing great football," Millville coach Jason Durham said. "He's always been a great running back but we moved him to wide receiver to get him and Rob on the field at the same time." Durham said Ennis likely will be cleared to play this weekend after missing two games with a bone bruise. Like Williamstown, Millville is angling for a top four seed and a home game in SJ 5. Next: At No. 10 Hammonton (6-1) Friday at 7.

9. Camden (9) 7-0

The Panthers have not lost since Oct. 26, 2012 -- 374 days ago. They've won 11 in a row. They made a statement with an impressive, 28-7 win over Kingsway on Friday night in Farnham Park. With a win Friday, Camden will assure itself of the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the S.J. 2 tournament. That means two home games before the sectional final and the Panthers will be tough to beat on their new field. Next: At Bishop Eustace (4-3) Friday at 7.

10. Hammonton (11) 6-1

The Blue Devils' powerful offensive line will face a challenge from Penn State recruit Antoine White and the rest of the Millville defensive front this weekend. Senior two-way end Dylan Mento is playing good ball for Hammonton. The Blue Devils would earn a ton of power points and secure a high seed in SJ 4 with a win over Millville, a Group 5 program with five wins. Next: Home vs. No. 8 Millville (5-2) Friday at 7.

11. St. Augustine Prep (12) 6-1

The Hermits showed something in taking a 14-12 halftime lead against St. Joseph on Friday night. This program has made great progress over the last two years and likely will only continue to get better. The Hermits will have an outside shot at a No. 4 seed and a home playoff game in NP 4. Next: At Pleasantville (1-6) Friday at 7.

12. Kingsway (10) 5-2

The Dragons have a chance to give their season a major jolt with a win over Williamstown, an old rival from the Tri-County Royal days. Kingsway gave 12-0 Williamstown a major battle last season. Next: At No. 7 Williamstown (5-2) Friday at 7.

13. Delsea (13) 6-2

Since an Oct. 4 loss to Kingsway, Delsea has won four in a row and outscored opponents, 160-14. Senior FB Rob Hooks has scored eight TDs in those four games. The Crusaders aren't the favorite in SJ 3. But don't count out the defending champions. Next: at Cumberland (1-6) Friday at 7.

14. Paul VI (15) 5-2

The Eagles' offense kicked back into high gear in a 48-6 win over Triton. Senior QB Alec Vignola threw two more TD passes. Next: Home vs. Moorestown (4-4) Friday at 7.

15. Shawnee (17) 4-3

The rested Renegades will be a darkhorse in SJ 4, assuming they take care of business this week and qualify for the tournament. Next: At Pennsauken (2-5) Friday at 7.

16. Sterling (18) 6-1

The Silver Knights got three TDs from Richard Carter in a 36-0 win over Gateway on Friday. They likely are looking at either a No. 6 or No. 8 seed in SJ 2. Next: at Woodbury (5-2) Saturday at 10:30.

17. Woodstown (19) 7-0

The Wolverines are living dangerously. They rallied again for a victory, beating Gloucester 21-14 in overtime on Friday. Jared Carney scored all three TDs. This team could end up as the No. 1 seed in a loaded SJ 2 field. Next: at Schalick (5-2) Friday at 7.

18. Haddonfield (20) 5-2

The Bulldogs scored an impressive win over Collingswood as senior QB Mike McLaughlin threw four TD passes. With a win over Paulsboro (no small task), Haddonfield could earn enough power points to rocket to the No. 5 seed (or even No. 4 if things break a certain way), and could face rival West Deptford in the first round of the SJ 2 tournament. Next: At No. 25 Paulsboro (7-0) Saturday at 11.

19. Cinnaminson (22) 6-1

The Pirates have a balanced running attack as Brad Hawthorne, Nick Thevanayagam and Aaron Ely all have more than 450 yards. They are in position to earn the No. 3 seed and a home game in the SJ 2 tournament. Next: at Bordentown (4-3) Friday at 7.

20. Washington Twp. (NR) 5-2

Senior QB Christian Maiden threw four TD passes in a 33-14 win over Seneca. The Minutemen can punch their ticket to the SJ 5 tournament with a win over Gloucester County rival Clearview. Next: At Clearview (4-3) Friday at 7.

21. Bridgeton (NR) 6-2

Stefon Bowman and Cappadonna Miller are major playmakers for the Bulldogs. Another team to watch in SJ 2. Next: At Vineland (2-5) Friday at 7.

22. Burlington Twp. (16) 5-2

The Falcons are 3-0 against South Jersey opponents. Next: At No. 23 NBC (5-2) Friday at 7.

23. Northern Burlington (21) 5-2

The Greyhounds can secure a high seed and home playoff game in SJ 3 with a victory over their arch-rivals. Next: Home vs. No. 22 Burlington Twp. (5-2) Friday at 7.

24. Penns Grove (24) 6-1

The Red Devils' defensive strength might be enough to carry them to another SJ 1 title. Next: Home vs. Highland (3-5) Saturday at noon.

25. Paulsboro (25) 7-0

The Red Raiders could pick up a lot of power powers by beating a SJ 2 team with five wins. Next: Home vs. No. 18 Haddonfield (5-2) Saturday at 11.

Under Consideration (listed alphabetically): Cedar Creek (6-1), Delsea (6-1), Pennsville (6-1).

-- Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com

-- Follow @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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