Football Preview: A Look at South Jersey Group 4

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Aug 21, 2018
Football Preview: A Look at South Jersey Group 4

There is a new format for the NJSIAA football playoffs, but one thing hasn’t changed – the expected continued dominance of Shawnee.

First, off, here is the South Group 4 field where 16 teams will make the playoffs and then they will be divided in two eight-team Groups, South and Central.

Brick Memorial, Brick Township, Bridgeton, Central Regional, Cherry Hill West, Clearview, Colts Neck, Freehold Boro, Hamilton East, Hamilton West, Hammonton, Highland, Hightstown, Jackson, Lakewood, Long Branch, Mainland, Middletown North, Middletown South, Millville, Moorestown, Neptune, Northern Burlington, Ocean City, Pennsauken, Princeton, Shawnee, Toms River East, Toms River South, Winslow Township

Shawnee is the defending South Jersey Group 4 champion and no team won in a more dominating fashion a year ago.

The Renegades finished 8-4, but lost one game in OT to Cherokee, another by four points to Camden Catholic and yet another by five points to Williamstown.

In the playoffs, the Renegades breezed to the title, beating Absegami, 41-0, Moorestown, 4-7 and Hammonton 41-6.

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Shawnee was hit hard by graduation, but under coach Tim Gushue, the Renegades are a perennial contender, regardless of who must be replaced.

Shawnee competes in one of the best divisions in South Jersey, the WJFL American. The Renegades are the only SJ Group 4 team in the division that includes four Group 5 teams (Lenape, Rancocas Valley, Cherokee and Williamstown) and a Non-Pubic Group 4 (St. Augustine).

This type of stiff competition will again help Shawnee come playoff time.

While Shawnee needs to replace a number of skill position players, the Renegades could have one of the top offensive lines in South Jersey.

Seniors J.C. Dobis (6-4, 270) and Beau Lanzidelle (6-6, 315) head up the offensive line. Senior tight end/linebacker/kicker Joe Dalsey is among the most versatile players n South Jersey. Senior defensive end Patrick O’Hanlon (6-2, 225) recorded a team-high eight sacks, while senior linebacker Jonathan Searcy (6-2, 195) has 47 tackles and four interceptions.

The defense may be ahead of the offense in the early going, but the Renegades should be major Group 4 factor once the postseason begins.

Two Group 4 teams to watch who are coming off losing record at Pennsauken (3-7) and Winslow Township (4-6). Both should have explosive offenses. Pennsauken senior Nazir Russell rushed for 1,405 yards and 19 TDs. He is also an explosive kick returner.

Winslow Township has one of South Jersey’s top quarterbacks in senior Sr. QB-DB Prince-dru Bey, who threw for 2,416 yards and 24 TDs. Senior receiver-cornerback Donovan Bunch, who had three interceptions last season, has already committed to Rutgers.

Moorestown, which lost to Shawnee in the playoffs, has a number of key skill position players returning, including quarterback Brian McMonagle, among the best in South Jersey. The key for the Quakers will be the development of the offensive and defensive lines.

Several other teams could emerge as contenders in what is expected to be a wide-open Group, but all teams will have to be wary of Shawnee.

View South Jersey Group 1 
View South Jersey Group 2 
View South Jersey Group 3 

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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