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South Jersey Football Preview Part I

South Jersey Football Preview Part I

This is cutdown week for South Jersey football. The playoff seeds will be determined after this weekend’s games. The teams with the top eight power ratings in each Group, will earn a postseason berth.

Here is Part I of the top games this weekend.

St. Augustine (4-4) at Vineland (7-0), Friday, 6. St. Augustine is better than its record indicates and the Hermits have clinched the No. 8 seed in the state Non-Public Group 4 playoffs. Vineland has played a weak schedule, but it will get more difficult for the Clan from here on out. Besides facing the Hermits, the Fighting Clan will likely be involved in the SJ Group 5 playoffs and will end their regular season with their annual Thanksgiving matchup against defending SJ Group 5 champ Millville. Vineland is looking for revenge after last year’s 26-7 loss to the Hermits. Despite its record, Vineland hasn’t clinched a playoff berth, although the Clan could still get in even with a loss to St. Augustine.

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Pleasantville (6-1) at Middle Township (3-4), Friday, 6. Pleasantville, which was 0-10 as recently as 2015, has done an excellent job under third-year coach Chris Sacco. The Greyhounds would likely earn a SJ Group 2 playoff spot with a win, as they currently hold the eighth and final spot, according to Gridironnewjersey.com. Pleasantville junior Sahmir Jones has completed 54.1 percent of his passes for 828 yards and 12 TDs. Classmate Mohamad Toure has rushed for 629 yards (9.8 avg.) and 8 TDs. Middle Township has been idle since losing to Ocean City on Oct. 13. The Panthers are still in the running for a Group 2 playoff spot but must win to remain alive.

St. Joseph (8-0) at Ocean City (6-1) Friday, 6. This is the final regular season game for St. Joseph, which would clinch the WJFL Independence title with a win. St. Joseph’s overcame a 10-0 halftime deficit to defeat St. Augustine, 22-10 on Saturday. The Wildcats are currently the No. 1 seed in Non-Public Group 2 and can only earn residual points this week since they have played the limit of eight games. Sophomore running back Jada Byers has been coming on strong. He has rushed for 804 yards (11.4 avg.) and 12 TDs. Senior Quashin Townsel has rushed for 885 yards (6.8 avg.) and 19 TDs. Senior Sencere Tapp has four sacks and 10 hurries. Ocean City, led by dual-threat quarterback Harry Pfeifle, is likely headed to the SJ Group 3 playoffs regardless of the outcome of this game, but would earn a top-four seed with a win.

Williamstown (4-3) at Cherokee (5-2), Friday, 7. Cherokee can clinch the WJFL American Division with a win. Williamstown would clinch the American by beating Cherokee and then Washington Township (1-6) on Thanksgiving. Both Cherokee and Williamstown are in the running for a SJ Group 5 playoff spot. The winner would definitely earn a playoff berth and the loser would also get in if Atlantic City loses to favored Millville. A player to watch is Cherokee sophomore running back E.J. Bard, who has rushed for 526 yards (4.6 avg.) and one TD.

Atlantic City (4-3) at Millville (7-0) Friday, 6. Atlantic City needs to pull the upset to have a shot at getting into the SJ Group 5 playoffs. Millville, the defending SJ Group 5 champ, likely can’t get a top seed with a win, but could be a No. 2 seed with a win. Last season Millville had little trouble with the Vikings, beating Atlantic City, 46-6 and the Thunderbolts will be a prohibitive favorite again.


Author: Marc Narducci

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