Friday, May 22, 2015

Phil Anastasia: Week 1 Football Rewind

Here's some leftovers from the three games I saw on opening weekend:

Phil Anastasia: Week 1 Football Rewind

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Here's some leftovers from the three games I saw on opening weekend:

Glassboro 13, Penns Grove 12: The more I see of Glassboro RB P.J. James, the more I like him. He's got speed, and he's a big back at the Group 1 level: 6 foot, around 185 pounds.

But what I like best is the way he runs. He doesn't look for a soft place to land. He turns it upfield. He runs hard inside. He's not always looking to cut outside.

Glassboro has some good skill-position players such as senior QB Stephen Clement and his sophomore brother, RB Corey Clement. And James' brother Christian, a senior TE-DB, just has a knack for making plays -- like his blocked extra point that turned out to the the difference in the game.

But the Bulldogs will need to develop both lines to win another Group 1 title.

I had to laugh when I read what Penns Grove coach Kemp Carr told the Gloucester County Times' Scott Chaplear after the game. Carr said he expected to play Glassboro again in the playoffs, "unless they falter on their side of the bracket."

That's classic Carr. It's also one of the reasons the guy has rejuvenated the football and basketball programs down there.

Penns Grove will be in the mix again this November. Seniors Jay Brown and Malcolm Chase are play-makers, and sophomore QB Nick Elmer has a surprisingly strong arm.

Shawnee 30, Pennsauken 20: Shawnee has a chance to be really good. The Renegades have a huge offensive line, but four of those guys are juniors starting varsity for the first time. They could get better and better as the season moves along.

Shawnee senior RB Ed Royds had a big game with 213 yards. His nullified punt return for TD was big time. Best thing about the Renegades probably is their defense, although Pennsauken busted a couple big plays.

Pennsauken is going to win some games this season. Senior WR Marcus Jones and junior WR Amar Williams are play-makers. Jones had a 46-yard TD reception and Williams took a kickoff back 99 yards -- although I swear it was 100 because his back foot was on the goal line when he caught the football.

Watch out for sophomore RB Marlon Finley. He ran pretty hard against a big, physical defense.

Williamstown 34, Eastern 16: The Braves made quite an impression in their first game in the West Jersey Football League's American Division.

I know, I know. This isn't a vintage Eastern team. The Vikings could struggle to win games with that schedule.

But Williamstown looked good. Senior RB Karl Johnson looked like Marcus Hampton, and the Braves' defense was really solid. They even covered kicks with speedy, physical play.

One key is going to be the development of junior QB Dan Collins. He showed some signs on Saturday night, but the Braves are going to need to pass the football, and they have a top receiver in senior Cody Miller.

The kicker(s): Saw three really good kickers on Saturday. These guys are going to be factors this season.

Shawnee senior Austin O'Brien has a big-time leg. He looks like a lineman -- he's listed at 260 pounds in the program -- but he was booming extra points and kickoffs. A transfer from Emmaus (Pa.), O'Brien is a major weapon for a team that loves to run the football and play defense.

Eastern's Billy Long booted a 26-yard that would have been good from 46. He'll be a factor for the Vikings.

Williamstown's Mike Burke made two field goals, including a 38-yarder. His kickoffs are deep, too. He's another guy who could really make an impact this season, especially when the Braves start getting locked up in some tight games against quality opponents.

-- Phil Anastasia

 

 

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