A Year of the Runner in South Jersey...

A Year of the Runner in South Jersey... A Year of the Runner in South Jersey Football

While passing the ball has become a staple even in high school football and there were many great passing performances, this could be categorized as the year of he running back in South Jersey.

There were so many spectacular performances by running backs, none more impressive than Salem's Jonathan Taylor.

The 5-foot-11, 211-pounds senior set a single-season state record by rushing for 2,815 yards and scored 35 touchdowns.

Salem finished with a 9-3 record and advanced to the South Jersey Group 1 championship before losing to Paulsboro.

Taylor had eight games of rushing for 200 or more yards including two times of rushing for over 300. He had 344 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries in a 30-6 win over Burlington City.

Taylor rushed for 385 yards and five touchdowns on 25 carries in a 42-0 South Jersey Group 1 semifinal win over Woodbury.

During the spring Taylor was the 100 meter champ in the NJSIAA Meet of Champions in a time of 10.61 seconds.

He has an enviable combination of speed and power and is heading to the University of Wisconsin on a football scholarship.

Another top senior was John Lovett of Cherokee. He rushed for 1,359 yards (7.6 average) and 23 touchdowns. Lovett was also an accomplished defensive back, but figures to play running back in college. He has decommitted from Rutgers, but says he is still considering the Scarlet Knights. Iowa and Penn State are among the other schools he is considering.

West Deptford senior Anthony Seas rushed for 1,846 yards (10.0 average) and 22 touchdowns in leading the Eagles to the South Jersey Group 2 title. Seas appeared in 11 games, missing one due to injury.

South Jersey also had some outstanding juniors, Rancocas Valley's Iverson Clement, St. Augustine's Kyle Dobbins, Millville's Clayton Scott and Paulsboro's Dehron Holloway.

Clement has already visited Ohio State and while he can also be recruited as a defensive back, he is a game-breaker at running back. He will be among the highest recruited players in the state.

Holloway helped lead Paulsboro to the South Jersey Group 1 championship. He rushed for 1,291 yards (7.1 avg.) and 21 touchdowns. Holloway also caught 29 passes for 393 yards and 4 TDs.

In Paulsboro's 29-26 South Jersey Group 1 championship win over Salem, he rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns in 17 carries.

Scott helped Millville win its first sectional title since 1975. The Thunderbolts beat previously unbeaten Toms River North, 22-16 in the South Jersey Group 5 championship. In the title game Scott rushed for 128 yards. On the season Scott rushed for 1,722 yards (6.2 avg.) and 15 TDs.

St. Augustine's Dobbins rushed for 1,282 yards (7.7 avg.) and 17 touchdowns.

There were many other quality running backs in South Jersey. With so many top current juniors, next season should see area ground games running at an extremely high level.  

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Author: Marc Narducci

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