Thanksgiving Football Preview: Part II

Thanksgiving Football Preview: Part II There are several old rivalries, plus a battle of sectional finalists in Part II of our preview of the top South Jersey high school football games over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Woodstown (6-3) at Salem (8-2), 10:30 a.m.
This rivalry dates back to 1911. This season, Salem has won seven in a row and has advanced to the South Jersey Group 1 championship. In the Rams two playoff games, they have outscored Haddon Heights and Woodbury, 92-8. Salem running back Jonathan Taylor now has 32 touchdowns. He recently committed to Wisconsin and is a candidate for South Jersey Player of the Year. Woodstown has enjoyed a successful season, qualifying for the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs, before falling to defending champion Pennsville, 21-6.

Gloucester Catholic (5-4) at Gloucester (5-4), 10:30 a.m.
This has been a tremendous bounce-back year for Gloucester Catholic. The Rams moved down to the WJFL Classic Division and were able to be very competitive after consecutive 0-10 seasons while competing in the Diamond Division. Gloucester Catholic has won three of its last four games, including an 11-6 consolation game victory over Glassboro on Nov. 12. Gloucester is looking to close out the season on a three-game win streak. Last year Gloucester won this game, 27-7, but this one figures to be much closer. This series began in 1948 but the teams didn't play from 1966-92.

Pennsville (7-3) at Penns Grove (4-5), 10:30 a.m.
This rivalry began in 1957. Pennsville junior Nick Bard rushed for 151 yards and two TDs in the Eagles 49-28 South Jersey Group 1 semifinal loss to Paulsboro. Bard is well within reach of 1,000 yards. He has rushed for 898 yards (5.7 avg.) and 11 TDs. Penns Grove is looking to finish 5-5 for the third straight year. The Red Devils own a win over a Salem team that has stormed through the first two rounds of the SJ Group 1 playoffs. Penns Grove will look to snap a two-game losing streak. The Red Devils have been idle since a 20-8 first round SJ Group 1 playoff loss to Woodbury.

Woodrow Wilson (5-4) at Camden (3-6), 11 a.m.
This is another one of the great rivalries in South Jersey, one that began in 1933. This year both teams earned playoff berths. Wilson was a South Jersey Group 4 participant, losing to undefeated and top seeded Lenape, 21-11. The Tigers will look for revenge against Camden after losing last year's game, 26-22. Camden lost in the first round of the SJ Group 3 playoffs to top seeded Wall 35-0.

Haddon Heights (6-3) at Haddonfield (5-4), 11 a.m.
This series began in 1902. Haddonfield has won three in a row and 12 of the last 13 against the Garnets. Both teams earned playoff berths. Heights fell to powerful Salem, 50-8 in a first-round South Jersey Group 1 game while Haddonfield lost 18-9 to Willingboro in a first-round South Jersey Group 2 matchup. While Haddonfield has dominated lately, this game could be much more competitive. Haddon Heights junior Matt DiOrio has thrown 15 TD passes and stopping the Garnets passing attack will be key for Haddonfield.

Friday Nov. 25
Paulsboro (9-1) at West Deptford, (10-0), 7 p.m.
This is South Jersey's only matchup that features sectional finalists. Paulsboro has reached the South Jersey Group 1 final where the opponent will be Salem. West Deptford will meet Cedar Creek in the South Jersey Group 2 final for the second straight season. Paulsboro junior running back Dehron Holloway has rushed for 1,096 yards (7.0 avg.) and 17 TDs. He has scored 23 total touchdowns. West Deptford has won its two playoff games over Delran and Collingswood by a combined 90-7 score.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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