Williamstown battles distraction, plus six picks

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Williamstown’s Wade Inge Jr. carries the ball during a 2016 game.

It’s been a strange week for the Williamstown football team.

The entire Monroe Township school district has been off from school this week because of mold testing. That has resulted in one minor change in the team’s schedule.

“We usually watch film after practice, but this week we’re watching film before practice,” Williamstown coach Frank Fucetola said. “That’s really been the only change. Otherwise, business as usual.”

Williamstown (2-2), No. 17 in the Inquirer Top 25, hosts No. 25 Atlantic City (3-1) Friday night in a West Jersey Football League crossover clash loaded with South Jersey Group 5 playoff implications.

It’s tough to qualify for the tournament in the largest group, which traditionally has more than eight quality teams in each section. That adds to the urgency for both the Braves and the Vikings, who are angling for spots in the eight-team field.

“It’s a big game, our kids know it,” Fucetola said.

Williamstown is coming off a bye last weekend. In its last game on Sept. 30, the Braves dropped a 28-17 decision to No. 2 Millville.

 

“We were right there,” Fucetola said. “We were down 22-17, seven minutes to play, and they broke a second-and-12 for a big play and scored another one.

“We played well. We need to build on that.”

The Braves have been able to practice, watch film, and lift weights because the football field house is separate from other school buildings and has been determined to be clear of mold, the coach said.

Fucetola is confident his players will not be distracted by what has been an unusual week.

“It’s all about being responsible and accountable,” Fucetola said. “Our players know. They know they have to get their work in, practice the right way and be prepared to play their best against a really good Atlantic City team.”

Here is a closer look at six games this weekend:

No. 12 Holy Spirit (4-1) at No. 8 St. Augustine (3-2), Friday at 6: This game marks the return to Richland of Holy Spirit senior quarterback Josh Zamot, who spent his first three years at St. Augustine Prep, as well as Holy Spirit offensive coordinator Charlie Roman, who spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach for the Hermits.

Zamot, sophomore running back Elijah Gray, and senior wide receiver Dan Tarsitano are playmakers for the explosive Spartans.
Junior linebacker Joe Bonzcek leads the St. Augustine defense, while senior all-purpose Shamere Collins is a player to watch as a runner, receiver, and return man for the Hermits.

Pick: St. Augustine, 23-21.

No. 25 Atlantic City (3-1) at No. 17 Williamstown (2-2), Friday at 7: The host Braves have a top sophomore lineman in Aaron Lewis and a pair of junior playmakers in quarterback J.C. Collins and all-purpose Wade Inge Jr.

Atlantic City senior quarterback Mike Costabile, a transfer from Holy Spirit, is a player to watch.

Pick: Williamstown, 17-14.

 

Sterling (3-1) at No. 20 Highland (2-2), Friday at 7: The visiting Silver Knights made a strong case to be regarded as one of South Jersey’s top teams in their lone loss — a 34-33 setback last Friday night to No. 15 West Deptford, which has won 16 in a row.

Senior lineman Damire Hutchinson and Lamar Price lead the Sterling defense.

Highland is coming off an impressive win over Buena. The Tartans have a top two-way senior in Jared Colbert and a top junior quarterback/kicker in Brian Cooey.

These teams played a tight one last season, with Highland winning by 21-20.

Pick: Highland, 20-19.

No. 24 Penns Grove (4-1) at Florence (2-2), Friday at 7: The visiting Red Devils are averaging 51 points and have scored 67 or more in two of their five games.

Penns Grove has been led by junior Tyreke Brown, who has 16 total touchdowns including nine touchdown catches, and sophomore quarterback Kavon Lewis, who has completed 80 percent of his passes (69 for 86) for 1,345 yards with 15 touchdowns and just one interception. Senior running back Mark Pacini leads Florence with seven touchdowns. In his 44th season, Florence coach Joe Frappolli has 299 career wins.

Pick: Penns Grove, 42-34.

Willingboro (3-2) at No. 11 Woodrow Wilson (4-0), Saturday at noon: The visiting Chimeras have won three in a row behind senior quarterback Trae Greene and senior wide receiver David Green.

Woodrow Wilson has top playmakers in senior all-purpose Jairo Ramos and senior two-way back Hydir Moore.

Pick: Woodrow Wilson, 27-25.

No. 15 Paulsboro (4-0) vs. No. 14 Haddonfield (4-0), Saturday at Cherry Hill West at 1: Senior Nasser Bateman leads the Paulsboro defense with 40 tackles.

Senior all-purpose Dehron Holloway is the Red Raiders’ big play man. He has rushed for 806 yards and nine touchdowns on 87 carries (9.3-yard average) and is averaging 22.8 yards with two touchdowns on four receptions.

Haddonfield is averaging 41.2 points behind senior back Ben Klaus and junior quarterback Jay Foley.

Pick: Haddonfield, 24-20.

Last week: 5-2.

Year to date: 26-9.