Marc Narducci’s football picks

Cherokee is The Inquirer's No. 1-ranked South Jersey football team, but things aren't going great on the injury front for the Chiefs. Tight end Connor Stahl was lost with a season-ending knee injury in a preseason scrimmage.

During last week's opening 35-21 win over Lenape, wide receiver Drake Rodgers missed the game with a bone bruise. While on the sideline, a player was running off the field and accidentally ran into Rodgers, breaking his fibula. Coach P.J. Mehigan says that Rodgers is out four to six weeks.

"Crazy, isn't it?" Mehigan said.

There are so many factors that go into a successful football season, with injuries among the biggest.

As in every season, injuries will be a major story line.

As for the action on the field, last week, there were some upsets, some interesting scores, and many top performances. All three should continue in Week 2.

Here's a look at some of the big games.

 

Thursday

Eastern (0-1 overall, 0-1 WJFL American) at Cherokee (1-0, 1-0), 7 p.m. Cherokee's Nick Follet rushed for 170 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries in the win over Lenape, and Eastern will have to prove it can stop the run. Pick: Cherokee 28, Eastern 14.

Winslow Township (1-0 overall, 0-0 WJFL National) at Shawnee (1-0, 1-0), 7. Winslow Township won last year, 45-42, and this could be another high-scoring affair. As always, the key is keeping Winslow Township quarterback Bill Belton in check. Last week, he accounted for 238 total yards, threw for two TDs, and ran for another in a 32-13 win over Washington Township. Pick: Shawnee 31, Winslow Township 24.

St. Augustine (0-1) at Mainland (0-1), 7. St. Augustine was upset by Atlantic City, and Mainland lost to Hammonton last week. Both are considered quality teams, but one will be starting out 0-2. Pick: Mainland 16, St. Augustine 14.

 

Friday

No. 2 Holy Spirit (1-0) at No. 8 Absegami (1-0), 7 p.m. Spirit did nothing to downplay its reputation when it beat Oakcrest, 49-0, as Donta Pollock rushed for 222 yards and two touchdowns and defensive back Joe Sarnese recorded 10 tackles. As much talent as Spirit has, the Spartans will likely be only the second-fastest team on the field. Pick: Holy Spirit 24, Absegami 16.

Triton (1-0 overall, 1-0 WJFL Royal) at Kingsway (0-1, 0-1), 7. Triton opened with a 39-6 win over Highland and can match its win total from last year. Kingsway will try to bounce back from an opening loss to Delsea. Pick: Triton 17, Kingsway 16.

Gloucester Catholic (0-1 overall, 0-0 WJFL Independence) at Bishop Eustace (0-1, 0-1), 7. Gloucester Catholic was shut out, 41-0, by Camden Catholic and Eustace suffered a 30-28 triple-overtime defeat against Camden. In Week 2, this is already a likely elimination game for divisional consideration. Pick: Bishop Eustace 14, Gloucester Catholic 13.

 

Saturday

Collingswood (0-0) at Overbrook (0-0), 11 a.m. The Colonial Conference opens this week, and this should be a close game. It also marks the coaching debut of Overbrook's Wade Inge, a former star two-way performer at the school who enjoyed a successful career at the University of Maryland. Both teams should feel that they can contend for a playoff spot, so this will be a good gauge. Pick: Collingswood 21, Overbrook 20.

Pitman (0-1 overall, 0-1 WJFL Classic) at Salem (1-0 overall, 1-0) 11. Pitman opened with a 35-21 loss to Group 1 playoff contender Pennsville, and Salem scored an easy win over Wildwood. Entering the season, Pitman felt it could be a Group 1 playoff team, and this game will go a long way in determining the Panthers' postseason fate. Pick: Pitman 13, Salem 12.

 


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.