Questions for South Jersey Football

Questions for South Jersey Football Teams have begun practicing for the high school football season, which opens for most teams on Sept. 9, although a few teams will play the previous week.

One of the key questions is whether St. Augustine could repeat as the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey?

The answer certainly yes.

Last season the Hermits went 9-1and didn't lose to a team from the seven-county South Jersey area. The lone loss was to powerful St. Joe Montvale, 28-0, in the opening of the state Non-Public Group 4 tournament.

The Hermits will have one of the best ground games in the state, led by junior Kyle Dobbins, who rushed for 1,619 yards (9.5 average) and 19 TDs. St. Augustine also has another outstanding running back in senior Ezekiel Ennis, who isn't very big (5-7, 140), but explosive. he averaged 7.9 yards per carry in rushing for 550 ayrds and 8 TDs. He is also considered one of the top defensive backs in South Jersey.

The Hermits actually have much more experience returning on defense. For instance senior linebacker Tim Dolan had 78 tackles and eight sacks.

So the Hermits won't relinquish the No. 1 spot without a major fight.

The team that we like to be the preseason No. 1 is Cherokee, coming off an 8-3 season and a co-championship in the West Jersey Football League American Division.

The Chiefs have a strong running game led by Rutgers commit John Lovett, who rushed for 1,306 yards and 13 TDs. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Lovett can also be a difference maker as a defensive back. He will be in the running for South Jersey Player of the Year.

Coach P.J Mehigan has a veteran offensive line and led by senior guard Brian Stickney (5-11, 230), and a strong defense, headed up by senior Steve Gervasi who is also a standout tight end.

There are plenty of other teams that will make a run at the top spot. Timber Creek, the defending South Jersey Group 4 champion, has one of South Jersey's top passing attacks led by junior quarterback Devin Leary, who threw for 2,605 yards and 23 touchdowns.

Cedar Creek is the defending South Jersey Group 2 champion and is led by consensus player of the year slotback Bo Melton. A Rutgers commit, Melton is a major threat running the ball or receiving and he might be the most versatile player in South Jersey.

Among other teams to watch for the top spot are Delsea, Camden Catholic, Hammonton, Williamstown and no doubt there will be others to emerge in what should be a fascinating race for South Jersey football supremacy.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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