Sometimes the seeds are misleading in the South Jersey high school football playoffs and that has been the case this year for Shawnee.
The Renegades entered the NSIAA South Jersey Group 4 tournament considered a highly dangerous No. 4 seed and they have certainly lived up to that billing.
Getting three touchdowns from senior Jake Schillinger, the visiting Renegades defeated No. 1 Moorestown, 40-7 in Friday’s South Jersey Group 4 semifinal.
Shawnee (7-3) now advances to the sectional final against Hammonton in the South Jersey Group 4 championship, 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Rowan University. Shawnee beat fellow WJFL American Division foe Hammonton, 38-6 on Nov. 3.
The Renegades have outscored their two playoff foes, 81-7 after an opening 41-0 win over Absegami.
A closer look at the Renegades schedules shows that not a lot separates being 10-0 from 7-3.
“That is an accurate statement,” Shawnee coach Tim Gushue said.
All three losses were tight affairs against playoff teams by a total of 10 points.
The Renegades lost their opener 42-41 in double overtime to Cherokee. They lost to Camden Catholic 25-21 in a game the Irish scored 22 unanswered points at the end. And Shawnee lost. 27-22 to Williamstown.
“We had a point loss to Cherokee, in double overtime, lost by four to Camden Catholic and had a shot to win at the end and lost to Williamstown and had a shot at the end,” Gushue said.
Staying on the tough schedule theme, Shawnee must play South Jersey Group 5 finalist Lenape on Thanksgiving before competing in the sectional final.
The Renegades, like most teams, have had to deal with injuries and that didn’t change on Friday. Senior running back-linebacker Ryan Parris was lost for the game after suffering an injury late in the first quarter. Gushue said he went for x-rays on his foot.
Schillinger, who began the game at receiver, opened the scoring with a five-yard scoring pass from Colin Wetterau and when he moved to running back added scoring runs of three and one yard. He also had an interception in the second half.
“Jake Schillinger is a beast,” said Wetterau, who could also fit that description.
Wetterau scored Shawnee’s second touchdown on a 10-yard run. He also completed 10 of 14 passes for 131 yards and one touchdown, while also making an impact at safety.
“Right from that point after the Williamstown loss, we have been clicking, coming together and it has been showing,” said Wetterau, who will play baseball next season at St. John’s.
Since that Williamstown loss, the Renegades have gone 4-0, outscoring opponents 153-34.
“I always believe if you want to be really good, you have to play good people,” Gushue said. “You might not get the record you want but the players will be battle tested.”
That has been the case this season and many years for Shawnee, which is why the Renegades find themselves in the sectional final for the fourth time in the last five years.