Part I: South Jersey Games of the Week

Part I: South Jersey Games of the Week
The South Jersey football season is here and with so many changes, including a new playoff system, new groupings of teams, an earlier schedule, one thing remains the same – we will continue previewing the games.

Here is Part I of our look at the top games this week with the teams’ records from last season:


Thursday, August 30th
Gloucester Catholic (6-4) at Holy Cross (5-5), 10:30 a.m.
On Monday this game was moved to 10:30 a.m. due to the expected humid weather. After a couple of rough seasons, Gloucester Catholic has turned it around, going 6-4 each of the past two years. Gloucester Catholic junior Dashaun Harris rushed for 1050 yards and 14 TDs last season. He will run behind senior two-way tackle Luke Lesch (6-4, 250), who along with Harris was a first-team all-conference performer. Holy Cross has done an amazing job fielding a team, especially when the school was originally set to close. The Lancers are in the smaller school WJFL Freedom Division, and in two-way lineman Kyle Chandler (6-2, 235) have a formidable two-way lineman.

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Pennsauken (3-7) at Paul VI (5-5), 7 p.m.
Pennsauken may be among the most improved teams in South Jersey. The Indians have one of the area’s most explosive players, senior running back Nahzir Russell, who rushed for 1,405 yards and 19 TDs. He is also a major threat as a return man. Senior wide receiver-cornerback Donte Jamison was a second-team all-conference choice on defense and will be formidable on either side of the ball. The Indians are among the favorites to win the WJFL National Division title. Paul VI moves to the Liberty Division, which has great depth, with Winslow Township, Burlington Township, Moorestown and Highland, all playoff teams from a year ago. Also in the division is Clearview which appears to be improved. Paul VI senior Kevin Johnson, a second-team all-conference defensive back, will take over control at quarterback. The Eagles have some talented players, but depth could be a concern for coach Glenn Hutton’s team.

Lenape (11-1) at South Brunswick (11-1), 7 p.m.
How rare is this, an opening matchup between sectional champions? Lenape was the South Jersey Group 5 champion while South Brunswick captured the Central Jersey Group 5 title. After winning its first sectional title, Lenape was hit hard by graduation. In addition, Tim McAneney, who built Lenape into a viable power, resigned and was replaced by his defensive coordinator Joe Wojeceichowski. Receiver Brandon Marshall is among the veterans returning for a Lenape team that should be better by the second half of the season. Senior running back-safety  Thomas Joe-Kamara, who has made a verbal commitment to Temple, is the headliner for South Brunswick, which like Lenape should be competitive, but has to replace a lot of key graduated players.

Friday, August 31st
State College PA (10-3) at St. Augustine (5-5), 6 p.m.
State College PA will prove a formidable opening opponent for St. Augustine. State College has already played one game, beating Mifflin County, 35-12 as Penn State commit Keaton Ellis scored on a 73-yard run. Under second-year coach Pete Lancetta, St. Augustine is expected to be vastly improved. Two-way lineman Isaiah Raikes (6-3, 290) could be among the top juniors in South Jersey. Senior fullback-linebacker Joe Bonczek (6-2, 220) is a Princeton commit and among the top linebackers in South Jersey. This could be on one of the top teams the Hermits face this year. 

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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