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Football Preview: St. Joseph and Holy Spirit State Championship

Football Preview: St. Joseph and Holy Spirit State Championship
The first time they met this year it was a competitive game and the same is expected when familiar foes St. Joseph (9-2) and Holy Spirit (8-3) meet in the NJSIAA Non-Public state Group 2 championship on Friday.
 
The long-time rivals from the Cape Atlantic League and now West Jersey Football League, will meet in the 5 pm title game at MetLife Stadium, home of the New York Giants.
 
On Oct. 28, St. Joseph earned a hard-fought 28-14 victory over Spirit.
 
Jada Byers has rushed for 1,645 yards (8.5 avg.) and 28 touchdowns according to the stats on Maxpreps.com. He has also caught 13 passes for 238 yards and two TDs.
 
In the win over Holy Spirit, he rushed for 266 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. He also scored a two-point conversion. Sophomore Ahmad Ross rushed for 66 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and sophomore quarterback Jayden Shertel rushed for 21 yards and a score on three carries.
 
Ross has quietly enjoyed a strong season for the Wildcats. He has rushed for 491 yards (5.2 avg.) and fie touchdowns.
 
In that win, St. Joseph gained 442 yards, including 395 on the ground.
 
There is no secret to stopping St. Joseph. The only way to have a chance against the Wildcats is to stop the run.
 
In addition to the above-mentioned players, senior Nate Johnson has rushed for 508 yards (7.9 avg.) and one touchdown. Johnson also has 12 receptions for 210 yards and three TDs.
 
In addition, Shertel had completed 36 of 74 passes for 564 yards and six touchdowns.
 
On defense senior Brad Lomax has been a dominating force, with 26 tackles, for loss, including 12.5 sacks.
 
Hoy Spirit’s other two losses were Maryland power St. Joseph and to St. Augustine, a team in the Top-5 of South Jersey.
 
The Spartans have a more balanced offense. Senior Ryan Yost has thrown for 1,739 yards and 19 touchdowns, according Philly.com. Junior Elijah Gray has rushed for 1,223 yards and 15 TDs. Junior receiver Ahman Brown has 32 receptions for 398 yards and seven TDs.
 
Besides stopping the run, the key for Holy Spirit is to get up early or at least keep the game close in the beginning. St. Joseph has the ability to make the big play and the Wildcats would like to continue having the same success.
 
On the other end, Yost has enjoyed a strong senior season passing. Junior tight end Isaiah Gerena (31 receptions, 379 yards, 2 TDs) could also be a major threat.
 

 

This has a chance to be a highly competitive game and one that was closer than the regular season meeting.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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