South Jersey Football Game of the Week: Penns Grove at Paulsboro

South Jersey Football Game of the Week: Penns Grove at Paulsboro
Penns Grove (2-0) at Paulsboro (1-1), Saturday, 11 am.
 
Background: These are two major contenders for a Group 1 championship. Penns Grove is the defending South Jersey Group 1 champ and the Red Devils have won 15 in a row. The last team to beat Penns Grove? That would be Paulsboro, 34-24 in the 2017 South Jersey Group 1 championship at Rowan University. Last year Penns Grove beat Paulsboro, 19-7 in a regular season meeting.
 
The two didn’t meet in the postseason last year because Paulsboro competed in Central Jersey Group 1, while Penns Grove was in South Jersey. Paulsboro lost to Willingboro, 22-14 in the Central Jersey Group 1 final. In the regional game, Penns Grove then beat Willingboro, 35-26 at MetLife Stadium.
 
This season Paulsboro opened with a 31-14 loss to a West Deptford team that is clearly a major contender in South Jersey Group 2. Paulsboro rebounded with last week’s 55-27 win over Haddon Heights.
 
Penns Grove opened with a 68-7 win over rival Pennsville. Last week the Red Devils had a major scare before beating Woodstown, 30-22.
 
Penns Grove’s high-powered offense is powered by senior quarterback Kavon Lewis, who is known for his accuracy and field leadership. Lewis has completed 17 of 21 for 203 yards and three TDs. There are several game-breakers to join Lewis.
 
Junior Nasir Robinson has rushed for 204 yards (6.8 avg.) and four touchdowns. Senior Torvon Robinson has caught 13 passes for 169 yards and three TDs. Senior Jamar Johnson is among the top athletes in South Jersey. He has rushed for 47 yards and a TD on six carries and is an excellent defensive back, with one interception. Zion Cheeks, a 6-2, 202 sophomore linebacker has a team-high 15 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two sacks.
 
Paulsboro has received solid production from two senior quarterbacks. Nick Pelligrini has completed 10 of 21 for 165 yards and a TD. Gabe Onorato has completed all seven of his passes for 111 yards and one TD.
 
Sophomore Ameer Bateman has rushed for 238 yards (9.2 avg.) and five TDs. Senior Jacob Perez-Eli has six receptions for 79 yards and a score. Junior linebacker Jason Lucci has a team-high 18 tackles.
 
Coaches: Penns Grove, John Emel (39-18); Paulsboro, Glenn Howard (293-66).
 
Outlook: The winner will likely be the one with the better running game. Both are capable throwing the ball, but controlling the ground game will be the key. Bateman is a game-breaker, but so Penns Grove must stop him. Penns Grove has several potential game-breaker, so Paulsboro must play disciplined defense.
 
A high scoring game favors Penns Grove. This will be a great test for both teams, who could likely meet again in the postseason.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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