South Jersey football preseason Top 25

St. Joseph begins the 2018 season where it ended the 2017 season: as the No. 1 team in the South Jersey rankings.

With the start of the regular season less than a week away, here is a look at the South Jersey football preseason Top 25:

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St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco is South Jersey’s all-time leader with 317 career wins.

1. St. Joseph (12-0 last season): The Wildcats begin this season where they ended last season, at the top of the rankings. Leading the way is a strong, seasoned, and skilled offensive line featuring seniors Wisdom Quarshie, Brad Lomax, Tucker Monico, Bobby Hyndman, and Sean Morris. All-purpose junior Jada Byers is one of the state’s most dynamic playmakers. The defense took a hit with the loss of standout sophomore linebacker Angelo Vokolos, who will be out for most if not all of the season after suffering a dislocated ankle in a seven-on-seven event this summer.

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Senior linebacker Joe Bonczek, a Princeton recruit, leads the St. Augustine defense.

2. St. Augustine (5-5): The Hermits have settled into a comfortable, confident place under second-year coach Pete Lancetta, who joined the program in the spring of 2017 and spent most of last season trying to get his bearings. Lancetta had proved to be one of the best coaches in South Jersey history during his long tenure at Hammonton, and his experience and know-how will make a big difference for the Hermits. Senior linebacker Joe Bonczek, a Princeton recruit, and junior end Isaiah Raikes lead a sturdy defense, and the offensive playmakers include wideouts Jaylen DeCoteau and Sincere Rhea, running back True Robinson, and quarterback Chris Allen.

>> READ MORE: St. Augustine linebacker Joe Bonczek combines brains and brawn

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Delsea’s Aidan Borguet scores a touchddown in last year’s state playoff game at Timber Creek.

3. Delsea (9-3): The Crusaders won their final eight games last season, capturing their fifth South Jersey Group 3 crown in six years. This team should make another run at bringing more hardware to the crowded trophy case in Franklinville behind senior running back Aidan Borguet. A Harvard recruit, Borguet ran for a school-record 2,208 yards and scored 31 touchdowns last season. Senior Colin Poisker leads the offensive line, and linebackers Jay Wright (junior) and Keison Fowler (senior) anchor the defense.

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Senior wide receiver Jayvin Little is a top returning player for Timber Creek.

4. Timber Creek (10-1): The Chargers will miss star quarterback Devin Leary, who graduated as the state’s all-time leader in career passing yards and career touchdown passes. This team should have a strong defense, led by senior linebaker Clarence Henderson and senior end Stafaun Corley. Sophomore lineman Curtis Miller is a big-time recruit, and wideouts Jayvin Little (senior), a Wagner recruit, and Tarheep Still (junior) are playmakers to watch.

5. Williamstown (5-5): The Braves have a hungry group of seniors who are battled-tested from the last two seasons in the demanding WJFL American Division. Leading the way is senior quarterback/defensive back J.C. Collins, a UMass recruit, and all-purpose senior Wade Inge Jr., a Delaware State recruit. Junior two-way lineman Aaron Lewis and junior tight end/defensive end Brandon Perkins could be poised for big seasons.

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Senior quarterback Jay Foley is a top returning player for Haddonfield.

6. Haddonfield (9-3): The Bulldawgs return several standouts from last season’s South Jersey Group 2 champions, including senior wide receiver/defensive back Davis Smith, and senior tight end/linebacker Gabe Klaus. Senior quarterback Jay Foley is a dynamic dual threat, and his twin, senior wide receiver John Foley, is a top target. Senior running back/safety Chris Brown, who missed last season with an injury, is a player to watch.

>> READ MORE: Haddonfield is loaded with vets | Training camp preview

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Camden senior defensive back Donald Williams is a Rutgers recruit.

7. Camden (8-2): The Panthers should have one of South Jersey’s top defenses. Senior cornerback Donald Williams is a Rutgers recruit. Senior tackle Tidaine Bamba is an interior force. Junior linebacker Tirek Austin-Cave, a transfer from Camden Catholic, has a Rutgers offer. Junior linebacker Emmett Prather and senior safety Ramer Nock also are key defensive players. The quarterback is senior Monte Williams, a transfer from Cherry Hill West who started for the Lions as a sophomore and junior.

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Woodrow Wilson senior wide receiver Stanley King is a Louisville recruit.

8. Woodrow Wilson (9-3): The Tigers will look to build on the momentum from last season’s run to the South Jersey Group 3 title game, which they lost to Delsea, 29-28. Senior wide receiver/defensive back Stanley King is a Louisville recruit. Senior quarterback Nick Kargman threw for 2,200 yards and 28 touchdowns last season, despite missing four games with an injury. Junior defensive end/tight end Fadil Diggs and junior running back/linebacker Muheem McCargo are players to watch.

>> READ MORE: Woodrow Wilson QB Nick Kargman set for senior season

9. Shawnee (8-4): The defending South Jersey Group 4 champions are poised to make a run at another sectional title. Senior Joe Dalsey is one of the area’s most versatile players and could see action at quarterback. The offensive line should be sturdy, featuring seasoned seniors such as J.C. Dobis and Beau Lanzidelle. Senior end Patrick O’Hanlon and senior linebacker Jon Searcy, who has offers from Bucknell, Bryant, and Cornell, lead a strong and experienced defense.

10. Millville (9-2): The Thunderbolts lost some big-time playmakers but loom as strong contenders in South Jersey Group 4 behind senior linebacker Jamar Holbrook, senior two-way lineman Shamiek Sapp, and senior wide receiver/defensive back Cartier Gray. All-purpose sophomore Solomon DeShields, a transfer from Bridgeton, has a Rutgers offer.

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Running back Kenny Lim, a Princeton recruit, is a top returning player for West Deptford.

11. West Deptford (10-2): New coach Jason Morrell has a seasoned squad, led by senior tight end/defensive end Jason Collier, a Pitt recruit, and senior running back/defensive back Kenny Lim, a Princeton recruit. Senior linebacker Jake Paratore anchors the defense. Sophomore quarterback Aaron Graeber is a player to watch.

12. Holy Spirit (8-3): The Spartans have a dynamic playmaker in junior running back Elijah Gray, who ran for 1,624 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. Senior linebacker Azim Baker-Cooley and junior cornerback Ahmad Brown spark the defense. Senior Ryan Yost projects as the new quarterback after the graduation of standout Josh Zamot.

13. Paulsboro (11-1): The Red Raiders will be led by their defense, which features three-year starters including tackle Robert Glocker, end Santino Morina, and linebacker Anthony Morina. Senior linebacker Douglas Blue-Eli and senior cornerback Jacob Perez-Eli also are top defensive players. Sophomore running back Bhayshul Tuten is a young player to watch.

14. Rancocas Valley (10-2): The Red Devils lost all-state standout Iverson Clement, a Florida recruit, but return several veterans from last year’s South Jersey Group 5 finalists. Senior quarterback Bryce Mangene is a three-year starter. Senior wide receiver Danny Kondras is a top target. Senior linemen Drew Bowker and Jesse Eadric spark the defense.

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Burlington Township’s Tyrese Ware (No. 22) was a standout last season for Camden Catholic. He transferred to Burlington Twp. before this season.

15. Burlington Twp. (6-4): The Falcons should be good in September and better in October with the eligibility of several transfers from Camden Catholic, including senior wide receivers/defensive backs Tyrese Ware, Terron Ware, and Eric Rogers, junior running back Rodney Vines, and senior linemen Nick Morcombe and Denard Simmons. Veteran players to watch include senior all-purpose standout Omar Rogers, an Elon recruit; wide receiver Isiah Pae; quarterback Dan Grozozski; and defensive back Justin Johnson.

16. Cedar Creek (8-3): The Pirates lost several standouts from a sturdy defense but return junior playmaker Malachi Melton, who has a Temple offer, and junior dual-threat quarterback Louis Barrios and senior running back/linebacker Kamaal Reed.

17. Moorestown (9-2): The Quakers bring back several key players from their top team in a decade, including senior quarterback Brian McMonagle, a three-year starter, and senior all-purpose standouts Josh Pearcy and Nick Cartwright-Atkins. Senior linebacker Jack Ginley leads the defense.

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Senior all-purpose player John Meekins (left) is a top returning player for Cinnaminson.

18. Cinnaminson (8-3): The Pirates took a big step forward last season with wins over West Deptford and Camden, the latter on the road in the first round of the South Jersey Group 2 tournament. Key returning players include senior running back Rashad Raymond, who gained 1,351 yards; all-purpose senior John Meekins; senior two-way lineman Ahmad Gant; and junior dual-threat quarterback Shawn Ruffin.

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Senior linebackerMohamed Toure is a top returning player for Pleasantville.

19. Pleasantville (7-3): The Greyhounds will look to extend their remarkable resurgence behind all-purpose senior Mohamed Toure; senior quarterback Sahmir Jones, a top track sprinter; and senior wide receivers/defensive backs Elijah Glover and Jabril Shakur.

20. Lenape (11-1): New coach Joe Wojceichowski takes over a team that lost several standouts from last year’s South Jersey Group 5 champions. Senior wide receiver Brandon Marshall is a key veteran, and sophomore running back Xavier Coleman is a young player to watch.

Camera icon Tom Gralish/Staff photographer
Senior Nahzir Russell ran for 1,4,05 yards last season for Pennsauken.

21. Pennsauken (3-7): The Indians could push back into prominence behind senior running back Nahzir Russell, a track star who rushed for 1,405 yards last season, and senior defensive back Donte Jamison.

22. Cherokee (7-3): New coach Brian Glatz has a young team led by juniors including running back E.J. Bard and all-purpose standout Jackson McIntyre.

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Junior Jamar Johnson (left, with ball) and senior Tyreke Brown are top returners for Penns Grove.

23. Penns Grove (10-2): The Red Devils return several standouts from last year’s South Jersey Group 1 finalists, including all-purpose senior Tyreke Brown, a Sacred Heart recruit, and junior quarterback Kavon Lewis, who threw 34 touchdown passes.  Junior Jamar Johnson is another player to watch.

24. Vineland (8-2): The Clan lost some top players, including star quarterback Isaih Pacheco, but should remain competitive behind senior defensive end/tight end Anthony Reyes and junior quarterback Ryan Shelton.

Camera icon Yong Kim/Staff photographer
Highland senior quarterback Brian Cooey, here scoring a touchdown against Woodrow Wilson as a sophomore, is a three-year starter.

25. Highland (5-6): The Tartans have a top young player in sophomore running back Johnny Martin, who has offers from Baylor, Temple, and Rutgers. Senior quarterback Brian Cooey is a three-year starter, and end Dahmir Barefield and linebacker Javon Randall lead the defense.


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