Archive: October, 2011
Here's a closer look, with predictions, at 10 top games this weekend.
The first eight games are Friday night at 7:
Absegami (2-2) at Millville (4-0): This game will show a lot about the surprising Thunderbolts, because the Braves are a wild loss at Atlantic City away from being 3-1 and in the thick of everything -- the Cape American race and the SJ Group 4 race. They still could be a big factor, especially if they win this game.
Here's an early look at 5 big games this weekend, all on Friday night:
1. Absegami (2-2) at Millville (4-0). This isn't a great Absegami team, by any stretch. But the Braves are every bit a Group 4 team, with those kinds of numbers and that kind of talent. And junior QB Rashad Kinlaw is the real deal. The real question here is Millville. I haven't seen them yet, but everything I'm hearing from the Cape-Atlantic is that the Thunderbolts are legit. They have an explosive back in Alquann Jones, who keeps scoring touchdowns. They have a QB who makes plays in Shaquille Lee, although he tends to be a little inconsistent (what high school QB isn't?). Mostly, they have big, strong front lines, led by four-year starter Nick Tyndal as well as talented junior center Jimmy Cessna. With the way their schedule is set, Millville can get to 7-0 and a showdown with Atlantic City if the Thunderbolts can take care of business in this game.
2. Kingsway (3-2) at Moorestown (3-2). This is one of those games that is a lot more important than it might seem at frist glance. One of these teams will emerge at 4-2 and on the right path to a solid berth in the SJ Group 3 tournament. Kingsway still has to deal with Williamstown, and Moorestown still has a big challenge ahead in Camden Catholic, so the loser of this game could be in deep water. Kingsway's season turned on that opening upset of Delsea. Since then, the Dragons have lost to Triton and Timber Creek and beaten Highland and Cumberland. That's about right, but that Delsea win puts the Dragons in good position. This team will run the ball with a bevy of backs, and QB Tyler Barnholt is coming off a big game against Cumberland. But as an old Tri-County Royal team -- it's still in the Dragons' blood -- can they adjust to the defensive challenges presented by Moorestown's spread, no-huddle passing attack? Moorestown might have been a little overrated early in the year but now I wonder if the Quakers aren't a little underrated. They lost to Williamstown and Timber Creek. Who wouldn't? Those teams are a combined 8-0 and ranked No. 4 and No. 3 in South Jersey. But it was the way the Quakers lost that raised some concerns. They kind of got pushed around a little. Still, this team is dangerous, with QB Andrew Lisa, skill guys such as Delaney Wallace and Zac Frantz and a lot of other talented players. Can their defense get a little healthier and sturdier for the stretch run? Part of the answer will be available this week as they face Kingsway's ground game.
The new Top 10, as of Sunday, October 9, looks a lot like the old Top 10,.
That's because there weren't any changes. Every team in the Top 10 either won, or enjoyed a bye.
I thought seriously about moving up No. 9 Camden Catholic, because the Irish looked great in a 40-0 win over Seneca. But I didn't want to drop Hammonton, Shawnee or Haddonfield after victories -- although I nearly flip-flopped Camden Catholic and Shawnee after the Renegades needed late dramatics (both on offense and on defense) to beat Cherry Hill East.
I saw Shawnee at Cherry Hill East on Thursday afternoon, then ran out to see Camden Catholic at Seneca on Thursday night.
Second game first:
Camden Catholic (4-0) is pretty good. I still don't have a great feel for the Irish because they've beaten teams with a combined record of 2-13.
Here's the forecast for 10 big games this week, including four rare Thursday clashes:
Shawnee (3-1) at Cherry Hill East (3-1), Thursday at 3:45: The Renegades are averaging 291 rushing yards and will try to control the line of scrimmage. They have a top back in junior Robby DiOrio (456 yards, seven TDs) but the real key has been a big, strong offensive line that has been pushing people around.
Cherry Hill East used to get pushed around. A lot. But this team is different, much sturdier up front. The Cougars have a top play-maker in senior running back Brian Regan (9 rushing touchdowns) and a tough quarterback in Jesse Gold. Rob Taylor makes plays on both sides of the football.
This is one of those off-rhythm weeks, with a bunch of games on Thursday night and several teams on their bye.
Here an early look at five important games:
Shawnee (3-1) at Cherry Hill East (3-1), Thursday at 3:45: This is a good test for both teams. No. 7 Shawnee has been pretty solid. The Renegades lost in OT on Pennsauken on opening night and have won three in a row. They've got a big, strong OL and a powerful ground game led by junior Robby DiOrio (456 yards, 7 TDs). The Renegades are averaging 291 yards on the ground. If Cherry Hill East is the real deal, we'll find out on Thursday afternoon. This is a great chance for the Cougars. They battled Pennsauken last week so they're tested. Senior Jesse Gold has played well at QB, and senior Brian Regan has ruashed for 9 TDs. Rob Taylor is a play-maker and the Cougars are a lot stronger up front than they've been in recent seasons. Can they stand up against Shawnee's sledge-hammer ground game and the Renegades' stout defensive front? If so, they can shock the -- well, maybe not the world -- but South Jersey.
The new Top 10 in football, as of Sunday, Oct. 2:
Previous ranking in parentheses
1. St. Joseph (2) 3-0