Week 3 of the South Jersey football season means a return to division games in the West Jersey Football League.
Things are starting to sort out — division races are shaping up, playoff contenders are emerging.
We’ll know more about this weekend. Here are 12 games to watch:
Friday (All games at 7 p.m. except Millville-St. Augustine at 6).
No. 2 Millville (2-0) at No. 5 St. Augustine (2-1): This looks like the game of the week. Millville has playmakers all over the field led by seniors Clayton Scott, Carlton Lawrence, and Marcial Ramos. The addition of all-purpose player Elijah Nichols, a transfer from Camden Catholic, has made the Thunderbolts even more explosive. Millville also is still smarting from a 41-21 loss to St. Augustine last season. St. Augustine took it on the chin in the “Zero Week” opener vs. Malvern Prep, but the Hermits have rebounded nicely. They’ve won 27 in a row against South Jersey foes. Junior RB True Robinson and freshman RB Patrick “Cheeks” Smith are players to watch for SA.
No. 6 Lenape (2-0) at No. 14 Burlington Twp. (2-0): This is a key WJFL Capitol Division game, as these two teams and Rancocas Valley are likely to battle for the title. Lenape’s defense has been sturdy with lineman Aaron Acosta and LB Mike Galaida leading the way. BT junior QB Dan Grozozski has been strong in his first two varsity starts, with juniors Justin Johnson and Omar Rogers excelling on kick returns. Senior Alex Desire leads BT’s front line.
Holy Cross (1-1) at Cinnaminson (1-1): Both teams have designs on the WJFL Liberty title; the winner will be 2-0 in the division and in good shape in the race for the crown. Both are looking to rally from tough losses last weekend. This is a rivalry game, so both teams should be able to turn the page this week and both know there’s a lot at stake in this game.
No. 7 St. Joseph (2-0) at Absegami (1-1): The visiting Wildcats are coming off an emotional 42-26 win over rival Holy Spirit. Senior FB Qwahsin Townsel ran for 4 TDs as St. Joe rallied from deficits of 13-0 and 26-14. Absegami has some momentum after a 49-6 win over Lower Cape May as Jayden Johnson ran for 111 yards and three TDs and Andrew Marcucci passed for 196 yards and a score.
— Philip Anastasia (@PhilAnastasia) September 16, 2017
No. 19 Highland (1-1) at No. 22 Moorestown (2-0): This is a key WJFL Royal game, although everybody in that division appears to be chasing Woodrow Wilson. Highland bounced back from an opening loss to Wilson by rallying to beat rival Cherry Hill West, 23-15, as senior RB DaeJuan Sanders scored two TDs. Moorestown has allowed a total of just 13 points in starting 2-0 for the first time since 2012.
No. 3 Camden Catholic (2-0) at Winslow Twp. (1-1): The visiting Irish have won 24 in a row against South Jersey teams. Senior Marcus Hillman is a player to watch for Camden Catholic. Winslow Twp. is coming off a 55-8 win over Cumberland so the Eagles should have some confidence and momentum. Junior QB Prince-dru Bey, who threw 5 TD passes against Cumberland, is a playmaker for WT.
Gateway (2-0) at No. 15 Paulsboro (2-0), 11 a.m.: The visiting Gators ground out a 6-0 win over rival Deptford last weekend as Sean Vanore caught a TD pass from Kyle Albeser in the third quarter. Gateway is 14-12 in its last 26, a remarkable rise to competitiveness under coach Josh Mason. Paulsboro is Paulsboro, averaging 36 points and angling for its second straight S.J. Group 1 title, third in four years and 19th overall. Junior lineman Rob Glocker is a player to watch for the Red Raiders.
Salem (1-1) at Penns Grove (2-0), noon: This is a clash of old and fierce Salem County rivals. This also could be a major shootout. Penns Grove junior Tyreke Brown is coming off a six-TD performance in a 69-8 win over Haddon Heights. The Red Devils led by 49-0 at half. In two games, Penns Grove is averaging 60 points. Salem lost a wild 36-34 game to Burlington City although senior RB Zaire Jones ran for 254 yards and four TDs. Over/under on this one: 75. Or maybe 80.
Ocean City (1-0) at No. 18 Cedar Creek (1-1), 1 p.m.: The visiting Red Raiders are coming off an early bye after beating Oakcrest, 26-6, on opening day. QB Harry Pfeifle ran for 122 yards and two TDs and Liam Bergman added 112 yards and a score. Cedar Creek is looking to bounce back after a 28-20 loss to No. 9 Delsea. The Pirates outscored the Crusaders, 13-0, in the second half. Sophomores Malachi Melton and Louis Barrios are young players to watch for CC.
Audubon (1-1) at No. 17 Haddonfield (2-0) at Cherry Hill West, 1 p.m.: The visiting Green Wave gave West Deptford a battle on opening day and rolled past Robbinsville, 52-0, last weekend as Lamont Young and Shane Snyder led the ground game and QB Matt Connelly completed three passes, all for TDs. Haddonfield has handled Collingswood and Holy Cross in impressive fashion the first two weeks. The Bulldogs’ balanced attack features a big-playmaker in Davis Smith.
— Philip Anastasia (@PhilAnastasia) September 16, 2017
No. 20 Eastern (2-0) at Cherry Hill East (0-2), 1 p.m.: These schools are big rivals in most sports. Eastern is looking to go 3-0 in its first season under coach John Doherty. Led by junior RB/LB T.J. Franden, the Vikings are riding high after a fourth-quarter rally for a dramatic victory over Trenton last weekend. Cherry Hill East beat Eastern, 28-2,1 in the 2015 season opener. The Cougars won the next week, too, but have since lost 20 in a row.
Pennsauken (1-1) at Cherry Hill West (0-2), 6 p.m.: The host Lions will be urgent in pursuit of their first victory. Mike Alberto (158 rushing yards, 16 tackles) has led the way for CHW. Pennsauken will look to bounce back from a tough loss to Triton. The coaches in this game, CHW’s Brian Wright and Pennsauken’s Clint Tabb, played together on a championship team at Rowan.