Thanksgiving Football Preview: Part I

Thanksgiving Football Preview: Part I There are plenty of great South Jersey high school football games coming up over the Thanksgiving holiday. A number are Wednesday night, with the majority still played on the holiday. Here is a look at some of the top matchups.

Wednesday, Nov. 23
Cherry Hill East (0-9) at Cherry Hill West (7-2), 7 p.m.
West has won the last three games and this doesn't figure to be competitive, but it is still one of the great rivalries in South Jersey. This has been a banner season for West, which won its first seven games of the season. It will be the final game for one of South Jersey's top players, West senior WR-DB Harrison Hand. This season Hand has 19 receptions for 293 yards and three touchdowns. He also has 30 tackles and two interceptions and has several Division I options. West has won three in a row in this series and will be favored to keep this streak intact.

Burlington Township (8-2) at Rancocas Valley (8-2), 7 p.m.
Both teams are coming off semifinal losses in the South Jersey playoffs so each will look to bounce back and set an early tone for next year. Rancocas Valley suffered a 32-15 loss to Millville in a SJ Group 5 semifinal. Rancocas Valley led, 15-14 at halftime. The Red Devils beat Burlington Township, 48-21 in this game last year. Burlington Township. In a South Jersey Group 3 semifinal, Burlington Township fell to four-time defending champion Delsea, 27-21. That snapped a six-game win streak. A key will be containing Rancocas Valley running back Iverson Clement, one of the top juniors in the state.  

Thanksgiving
Atlantic City (4-5) at Holy Spirit (8-2), 10 a.m.
On paper this looks like a mismatch, but Atlantic City earned the eighth and final SJ Group 5 playoff berth and then put a major scare into defending champ Toms River North before losing, 27-20. The Vikings won last year's meeting with Spirit, 32-10. Holy Spirit has earned a berth in the state Non-Public Group 2 final to face undefeated Mater Dei. The Spartans advanced with a 23-6 win over Immaculata. This series has great history, dating back to 1926.

Lenape (10-0) at Shawnee (8-2), 10:30 a.m.
Lenape has earned a berth into the South Jersey Group 4 championship next weekend against favored Timber Creek. The Indians advanced to the final with a 28-6 win over Highland. It will be the first sectional final appearance. Lenape has allowed just 67 points all season and is among the top defensive teams in South Jersey. Meanwhile, Shawnee is usually the team in this series headed to a sectional final. The Renegades have been in the past three South Jersey Group 4 finals, winning two in that time. Shawnee trailed Timber Creek just 17-14 after three quarters before losing 38-14 in Friday's South Jersey Group 4 semifinal.

Millville (9-1) at Vineland (7-2), 10:30 a.m.
This is one of the oldest rivalries in the country, with the first game played in 1893, a 14-0 Millville win. Both teams qualified for the SJ Group 5 playoffs this year. In fact, Millville will face Toms River North (11-0) next week in the championship.  Millville advanced to the sectional final with the win over Rancocas Valley as workhorse Clayton Scott rushed for nearly 200 yards and a touchdown. Vineland has been idle since losing a 29-27 heartbreaker to Howell in an opening round SJ Group 5 game on Nov. 11.  

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