South Jersey Group 1: Up for Grabs

South Jersey Group 1: Up for Grabs South Jersey Group 1 Football: Up for Grabs

There may not be a section in South Jersey that is more wide open in football than South Jersey Group 1. Glassboro, the defending champion, is now competing in South Jersey Group 2. Had the Bulldogs stayed in Group 1, they would have been a solid favorite.

Now there are a number of teams who could emerge. Here is a look at what should be a wild South Jersey Group 1 race.

South Jersey Group 1
(182-473)
Haddon Township 473
Haddon Heights 467
Gateway Regional 437
Gloucester 420
Maple Shade 412
Penns Grove 401
Lindenwold 383
Schalick 374
Pennsville 345
Pitman 335
Woodbury 307
Clayton 270
Paulsboro 263
Salem 233
Wildwood 182

Key additions: Haddon Township and Maple Shade join the Group after being in Central Jersey Group 1 last year. Haddon Heights moves from South Jersey Group 2 to Group 1.

Key subtractions: Defending champion Glassboro has moved to South Jersey Group 2. So has Audubon.

Recent History: Glassboro beat defending champion Penns Grove, 44-0 in last year’s final. That was the third sectional title in four years and fifth in seven for Glassboro.

Outlook: With Glassboro out, this is among the most wide-open Groups around. Two Colonial Conference teams, Woodbury and Paulsboro should both seriously contender. (They are also in the same Colonial Conference Patriot Division and will be the two main contenders there).

Paulsboro is led by one of the top two-way backs in senior DeShaun Burgess, who rushed for 1,249 yards and 13 TDs. He is also an outstanding defensive back and is on the short list of top players in Group 1. Senior two-way lineman DeVontae Randall (6-3, 270) is a returning all-conference player on defense for Paulsboro. Junior two-way lineman Jaquan Rouse (6-1, 230) is a returning all-conference performer for Woodbury and one of the leaders of a young but talented team.

Woodbury made the playoffs last year and lost in the first round by the unusual score of 2-0 to Penns Grove.

Speaking of Penns Grove, the Red Devils have had two straight strong years in Group 1 and this should be another. The Red Devils won the title in 2012 before losing to Glassboro in last year’s final.

John Emel begins his first season as head coach at Penns Grove and he has a number of talented players returning. Junior Craig Ransome rushed for 1,035 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Classmate Jaron Maldonado (6-1, 185) had 14 sacks in earning first-team all-conference honors. Yet another junior, wide-receiver-defensive back Kimire Brown, earned first-conference honors on defense after intercepting five passes.

Penns Grove competes in the WJFL Diamond Division, one of the tougher for the lower enrollment schools. Glassboro is the favorite in the Diamond and playing that difficult competition should only help Penns Grove.

The same is the case for Schalick, another Group 1 contender. Schalick was a playoff team last year and this year should be more of the same. Senior two-way lineman Tyler Castellini (5-11, 230) is among the key leaders for Schalick. Three teams from the WJFL Classic Division who could contend are Salem, Gloucester and Pennsville. And don’t be surprised if another team or two emerges in what is easily a division that is very much up for grabs.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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