Phil's Picks

The playoffs officially start next weekend.

But there are several games this week that are playoff games in regular-season clothing.

The envelope, please:

 

Friday

Willingboro (4-3) at Northern Burlington (6-1), 6 p.m. The Greyhounds have played well all season behind running back Tosin Adeyemo and quarterback Colin Fitzpatrick. They can hold on to the No. 1 seed in Central 3 with a win.

Willingboro likely has clinched a South 2 berth, bit the Chimeras would take a huge step up with a victory based on all those power points. Wide receiver Malcolm Culmer is Willingboro's top big-play man.

Pick: NBC, 27-20.

Shawnee (5-2) at Washington Township (5-2), 7. This is a huge game for both programs. The loser likely won't make the South 4 tournament. The winner likely will be in.

Shawnee is riding high after a victory over previously unbeaten Williamstown. Linebacker Wes Hoffner leads a sturdy defense. Washington Township needs to bounce back from a tough loss to Pennsauken.

Pick: Shawnee, 21-14.

St. Joseph (7-0) at Egg Harbor Township (4-3), 7. The No. 1 Wildcats have outscored opponents by a combined 364-16. Ends Kaiwan Lewis and Max Valles lead a terrific defense, and there's balance on offense led by running backs Eli Pogue and Kaheem Reynolds, plus a solid line.

EHT could jump into the South 4 field with a win. But that might be too much to ask against a St. Joseph team that seems bent on finishing 11-0 and establishing itself as one of the best in the rich program's history.

Pick: St. Joseph, 27-7.

Bridgeton (4-3) at Mainland (3-4), 7. The Bulldogs hope to jump into the South 2 field with a win. They also are trying to recover from last week's 48-0 loss to St. Joseph.

Mainland lost a 3-0 heartbreaker to Absegami last week. The Mustangs can still get in the South 3 field with a win if a lot of things fall the Mustangs' way.

Pick: Mainland, 17-13.

Woodbury (4-3) at Haddonfield (7-0), 7. This is tough duty for the Thundering Herd. The Bulldogs have been rolling over Group 1 competition.

Haddonfield is looking to seal up the No. 1 seed in South 2. The only question for the Bulldogs is how they play after an unwanted bye week because of the Overbrook forfeit.

Pick: Haddonfield, 31-13.

Pennsauken (6-1) at Eastern (3-5), 7. The Indians still have a shot at the No. 1 seed in South 4, if things fall right. They are coming off a 40-8 victory over Washington Township.

Pennsauken quarterback Manny Cortez has 25 touchdown passes. The South Jersey record is 40. Eastern is coming off a 30-26 win over Winslow Township.

Pick: Pennsauken, 37-17.

Bishop Eustace (4-3) at Camden Catholic (7-0), 7. The Irish are riding high and should be the No. 1 seed in the Non-Public 2 tourney. The Crusaders likely will be the No. 5 seed in the same field.

Bishop Eustace coach Rob Cormier was Camden Catholic coach Gil Brooks' defensive coordinator at St. Joseph's Prep in Philadelphia in the mid-2000s. That's just another layer to a great rivalry.

Pick: Camden Catholic, 17-7.

 

Saturday

Schalick (4-3) at Salem (5-2), 11 a.m. This game has huge South 1 implications. Salem is coming off one of the program's biggest wins in recent seasons, an 8-6 upset of Penns Grove.

Schalick has a chance to assure itself of a berth in the South 1 field with a win. Salem still has a chance to jump up and get a first-round home game.

Pick: Salem, 22-20.

Triton (6-1) at Woodrow Wilson (5-2), 2 p.m. The Mustangs need to win to earn a South 4 playoff berth. They will be without RB Josh Woods, out for two weeks, minimum, with a knee injury.

Triton will rely more heavily on quarterback Brian Keller and running back James Burns as well as its defense.

Woodrow Wilson can rise all the way to the No. 3 seed in South 3 with a win. Quarterback Aaron Spencer and wide receiver TJ Chambliss combined for three touchdown passes last week against Cumberland.

Pick: Triton, 26-24.

Cherokee (5-2) at Cherry Hill East (4-3), 2 p.m. Cherokee is the two-time defending South 4 champ. But the Chiefs won't get in unless they win.

Cherokee's young players are starting to emerge, and the Chiefs are getting great work from junior running back Zaire Williams, who spent his freshman year at Cherry Hill East.

The Cougars are coming off a big victory over Lenape that kept their playoff hopes alive. They need to win and get a ton of help. Quarterback Jesse Gold has been a playmaker, and wide receiver Taj Frazier and running back Brian Regan have put together strong senior seasons.

Pick: Cherokee, 20-17.

Last week's record: 6-4. Year to date: 59-21.

 


Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223, panastasia@phillynews.com, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports