South Jersey Football Playoff Preview...

South Jersey Football Playoff Preview... South Jersey Football Playoff Preview Part II: A look at Non-Publics and Central Jersey

South Jersey Non-Public teams and those competing in Central Jersey face long odds during this week's NJSIAA playoffs. The best chance for South Jersey is in Non-Public 2 where seven-time defending state champion St. Joseph, Holy Spirit and suddenly hot Holy Cross should be competitive. Here is Part 2 of our playoff preview. The Central Jersey previews only consist of the Groups with South Jersey teams involved.

Non-Public Group 4
(8) St. Joe Metuchen (9-0) at (1) Paramus Catholic (7-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
(5) Seton Hall Prep (2-7) at Don Bosco Prep (5-4), Friday, 7 p.m.
(6) Delbarton (4-5) at (3) St. Peter's Prep (6-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
(7) St. Augustine (9-0) at (2) Bergen Catholic (6-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.

Outlook: This is a true heavyweight division. Top seeded Paramus Catholic's lone loss was 17-14 at Bergen Catholic on Sept. 24. The two could meet in the final. St. Augustine is the only South Jersey team in the field. The Hermits will need a big game from junior RB Kyle Dobbins, who has rushed for 1,266 (7.9 avg.) and 17 TDs.

Non-Public Group 3
(1) St. Joe Montvale (7-2) bye
(5) St. John Vianney (9-0) at (4) Camden Catholic (8-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
(6) Red Bank Catholic (5-4) at (3) Pope John (5-4), Saturday, 1 p.m.
(7) Bishop Ahr (7-2) at (2) DePaul (4-5), Friday, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Forget the record, DePaul is the defending Non-Public Group 3 state champion and will be extremely dangerous. All of this year's losses have come against NP Group 4 heavyweights, Paramus Catholic, Bergen Catholic, Don Bosco Prep and St. Peter's Prep. Camden Catholic could win its first round game but needs a big effort from RB Nazir Streater who has rushed for 935 (6.1 avg.) and 13 TDs. St. Joe Montvale remains the team to beat. The Green Knights lost to Don Bosco Prep in last year's NP Group 4 state final and their only loss to a New Jersey team this year was to that same Don Bosco Prep team, 31-14.

Non-Public Group 2
(8) St. Mary (4-4) at (1) Hudson Catholic (6-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.
(5) Montclair Kimberly (7-2) at (4) Holy Spirit (6-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
(6) Holy Cross (6-3) at (3) St. Joseph (6-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.
(7) St. Anthony (5-3) at (2) Mater Dei (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m.

Outlook: St. Joseph has won seven consecutive state titles, but will be seriously challenged this year. The Wildcats open against a Holy Cross team that has four in a row, although none of the victories came over teams with a winning record. Mater Dei will be favored. The Seraphs closest win was by 22 points. One thing that will help St. Joseph and Holy Spirit is that they have played tough competition. Spirit beat St. Joe 17-14 in OT and both teams lost convincingly to South Jersey's No. 1 team St. Augustine. Still, that was a good game to get both ready for the rigors of postseason football.

Central Jersey Group 4
(8) Neptune (2-6) at (1) Brick Township (6-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
(5) Freehold Boro (4-4) at (4) Pennsauken (5-3), Saturday, 1 p.m.
(6) Jackson (5-4) at (3) Nottingham (7-2), Saturday, 1 p.m.
(7) Moorestown (6-3) at (2) Allentown (7-2), Friday, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Pennsauken and Moorestown won't be listed among the favorites. A team to watch is Allentown, which has won six in a row and has lost to two South Jersey teams, St. Joseph and Shawnee. Top seeded Brick Township could very well meet Allentown in the final.

Central Jersey Group 1
(8) Keensburg (2-7) at (1) Shore Regional (5-3), Friday, 7 p.m.
(5) Asbury Park (5-3) at (4) New Egypt, (6-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
(6) Manville (6-3) at (3) Keyport (8-1), Saturday, 1 p.m.
(7) Florence (3-5) at (2) Point Pleasant Beach (5-4), Friday, 7 p.m.

Outlook: Florence and New Egypt, the two South Jersey teams, face long odds. Shore Regional, which went 12-0 last year and beat Palmyra in the sectional final, remains dangerous. Another team to watch is Keyport, which just beat Shore, 21-20 and could end up facing the Blue Devils again in the sectional final.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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