As another season begins, these two will be major contenders, with West Deptford the favorite in what is a deep section. Here are the South Jersey Group 2 teams, along with their enrollment in grades 10-12.
SOUTH JERSEY GROUP 2
Haddon Heights 500
Middle Township 583
West Deptford 661
Cedar Creek 678
Lower Cape May 680
West Deptford is coming off a 12-0 season. Coach Clyde Folson has guided the Eagles to 15 consecutive seasons of nine or more wins, a remarkable run. In that time the Eagles have won seven South Jersey Group 2 titles and been a finalist five times.
Senior quarterback-linebacker Pete Orio was a factor on both sides of the ball. Junior running back-cornerback Kenny Lim rushed for 1,003 yards and 10 touchdowns and earned first-team all-conference honors. Junior tight end-defensive end Jason Collier (6-7, 270) earned second-team all-conference honors on offense, while senior running back-defensive back Darrin McKeown was a second-team choice on defense.
Cedar Creek was hit hard by graduation but the coach Tim Watson has already built this team into an annual contender in its first six seasons in existence. The Pirates have won a sectional title and made two other championship game appearances in their first six season.
Senior quarterback-receiver-defensive back Nazir Champman is a playmaker, no matter what position he plays. He was a first-team all-conference choice on defense. Junior running back Kamaal Reed rushed for 421 yards (5.6 avg.) and 3 TDs and should now have an expanded role. A player to watch is sophomore wide receiver-defensive back Malachi Melton, who has already received an offer from Rutgers, where his brother Bo is an incoming freshman.
A newcomer to SJ Group 2 is Camden, which competed in SJ Group 3 last season. The Panthers were 3-7 last year, but still qualified for the Group 3 playoffs, falling to Wall in the first round. One of the wins was a 31-12 victory over Cedar Creek.
Coach Dwayne Savage has an experienced team, especially on the offensive line, where five players have ample experience. Junior wide receiver-defensive back Juluan Hudson had 21 receptions for 368 yards and five touchdowns.
Like Timber Creek, Camden will open the season early on Sept. 2, playing in East St. Louis, Illinois against Cahokia, Illinois.
There are several other Group 2 teams that should be highly competitive, including returning playoff teams Haddonfield, Collingswood, Cinnaminson and Willingboro.
Group 2 has no shortage of contenders, but knocking off defending champion West Deptford will still be a formidable task.