Paulsboro has won two of the past three Group 1 title, including last year when the Red Raiders beat Salem, 29-26 in the final.
Once again, Paulsboro should be a major contender in a field that won’t lack challengers.
Here are the SJ Group 1 teams with their enrollment sizes grades 10-12.
SOUTH JERSEY GROUP 1
Penns Grove 362
Haddon Township 448
Paulsboro lost quite a bit to graduation, but coach Glenn Howard, among the best in South Jersey history, has the talent to re-tool, led by senior running back-free safety Dehron Holloway, who rushed for 1,291 yards (7.1 avg.) and 21 touchdowns.
Junior tackle Robert Glocker (6-3, 275) could be among the best offensive linemen in South Jersey. Junior Santino Morina had 11 sacks and junior Anthony Morina added 135 tackles.
Plus there always newcomers that Howard has shown an ability to blend in with the veterans. A name to watch is freshman Bhayshul Tuten (5-9, 170) a running back-slot-receiver-defensive back, who has game-breaking ability.
With Paulsboro’s success last year, it sometimes gets lost that the Red Raiders didn’t win their own conference. That title went to Woodbury, which opened the season with 14-13 win over Paulsboro, which was basically the WJFL Memorial Division unofficial championship game.
The teams open Saturday, Sept. 9 at Woodbury and it will again have a championship at atmosphere, in what is one of the better rivalries in South Jersey.
Woodbury will one of the better two-way linemen duos in Group 1 with senior Dustin Moore (6-3, 300) and senior Picard Messado-Moten (6-1, 280).
With a strong line, Woodbury never has difficulty developing skill-position players and the Thundering Herd could be Paulsboro’s biggest challenger not only in the division, but in Group 1.
Four teams from the old Tri-County Conference, Salem, Woodstown, Pennsville and Penns Grove, figure to be among the Group 1 contenders.
Salem must replace record-setting running back Jonathan Taylor, now at Wisconsin, but senior Zaire Jones rushed for 1,142 yards 9.0 avg. and 13 TDs after transferring from Woodstown.
Speaking of Woodstown, the Wolverines have one of the best leaders in South Jersey, senior quarterback-defensive back CodyWolf, a first-team all-conference player on defense.
Pennsville has a new coach, Mike Healy, who looks to continue the success the Eagles had under Ryan Wood. Senior running back-linebacker Nick Bard, who scored 18 TDs and had 97 tackles.
Penns Grove, despite a 4-6 record, earned a playoff spot, losing to Woodbury in the first round. Junior linebacker Tyreke Brown, was a first-team all-conference selection on defense and he’s a key all-purpose back.
This Group is so deep that there could be more contenders, but one thing stays the same – getting Paulsboro to relinquish its title, will be a difficult task.