South Jersey Football Semifinal...

South Jersey Football Semifinal... South Jersey Football Semifinal preview (Part 1) There were many lopsided first round NJSIAA football playoff games but the second round should be much closer. The semifinals are this weekend. Then there is a week for Thanksgiving games before the sectional finals the first weekend of December. Here is Part I of our look at the playoff teams.

Here is a look at Groups 5-3:

South Jersey Group 5
(5) Howell (6-4) at (1) Toms River North (10-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Both teams had close first round games with Howell beating Vineland 29-27 and Toms River North downing Atlantic City, 27-20. On Sept. 30, T.R. North scored a 58-33 win at Howell. Toms River North is the defending champion and the favorite, but the Mariners had all they could handle from Atlantic City.

(3) Millville (8-1) at (2) Rancocas Valley (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Millville overcame an early deficit to defeat Cherokee, 22-14. Many felt that Cherokee would be a serious contender, so that is a real positive sign for Millville. Rancocas Valley, whose only loss was 17-13 to unbeaten Lenape, had no trouble with first-round opponent Southern, beating the Rams 43-6.

South Jersey Group 4
(5) Highland (8-1) at (1) Lenape (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Highland avenged its lone regular season loss to Cherry Hill West, 28-8, with a decisive 30-8 win over the Lions. That set a single-season school record for wins. Now the Tartans take on a Lenape team that beat Woodrow Wilson, 21-11. Lenape might be South Jersey's top defensive team. Tim McAneney's Indians have allowed just 61 points all season.

(3) Shawnee (8-1) at (2) Timber Creek (9-0), Friday, 7 p.m.
Shawnee is coming off a wild 35-34 overtime win over Clearview and now has a rematch against a Timber Creek team the Renegades have met in the previous three sectional finals. Shawnee won the title in 2013 and 2014 but Timber Creek emerged victorious last season. Timber Creek QB Devin Leary has completed 61 percent of his passes for 2,655 yards, 36 TDs and just two interceptions. Wide receiver Ezrah Archie has 53 receptions for 959 yards and 16 TDs.

South Jersey Group 3
(5) Hamilton (6-3) at (1) Wall (7-2), Friday, 7 p.m.
Hamilton beat No. 4 Lakewood, 26-12, but the real stunner was Wall's 35-0 win over Camden. It wasn't surprising that Wall won, but the margin of victory was a shocker since Camden was looked on as a darkhorse No. 8 seed.

(3) Delsea (6-4) at (2) Burlington Township (8-1), Friday, 7 p.m.
Delsea is the four-time defending champion. The Crusaders have won five of six after a 42-22 first round win over Seneca. Delsea relies on the run and averages 6.4 yards per carry. Burlington Township should provide a major challenge. The Falcons only loss has been to unbeaten Lenape, 20-3. Burlington Township has won six in a row, including five by 28 or more points. The Falcons had not trouble in a 35-0 first round win over Pemberton.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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