South Jersey Football Game of the Week: St. Joseph at Haddonfield

South Jersey Football Game of the Week: St. Joseph at Haddonfield
St. Joseph (3-1) at Haddonfield (4-0), Friday, 7 pm.
 
Background: This was the game that turned everything around last year for Haddonfield. When the two met, St. Joseph was the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey and had won 16 consecutive games. Haddonfield went in and upset the Wildcats 22-15 at St. Joseph.
 
The Bulldogs used that win as a springboard to a 13-0 season.
 
Both teams are defending champions. Haddonfield won the South Jersey Group 2 title last year for the second straight season. St. Joseph captured the state Non-Public Group 2 title during a 10-2 campaign.
 
This season
HADDONFIELD
September 6  Pleasantville, 14-6
September 13  Sterling, 19-6
September 20  at Cinnaminson, 28-0
September 27  Overbrook, 55-0
 
ST. JOSEPH
August 31  vs. Highland at Rutgers, 34-20
September 13  at Millville, 43-6
September 21  St. Augustine, 12-28
September 28  Atlantic City, 41-6
 
Up next: Haddonfield visits West Deptford October 11. This is the Bulldogs toughest two-game stretch since West Deptford is considered a major threat to Haddonfield in not only the Colonial Conference Liberty Division but in South Group 2. St. Joseph visits Vineland October 12.
 
Coaches: Haddonfield’s Frank DeLano is 137-55. St. Joseph’s Paul Sacco is 329-64-5.
 
Outlook: Haddonfield has South Jersey’s current longest winning streak, 21 games. While the Bulldogs weren’t expected to rebuild, many figured they would take a step back after graduating 21 seniors. This year’s team, despite the 4-0 record, has been a work in progress. More will be known about the Bulldogs after this upcoming two-game stretch.
 
Senior Jack Narducci, who is also a standout defensive back, has run the offense well at quarterback. He has thrown for 295 yards and seven touchdowns and has rushed for 104 yards and two scores. Junior Tommy Badson has rushed for 203 yards (6.8 avg.) and two touchdowns. Junior Alex Kadar has rushed for 222 yards (6.5 avg.) and 2 TDs.
 
Senior Kyle Garstkiewicz has seven receptions for 143 yards and 1 TD.
 
Badson at linebacker has been the defensive leader. He leads the Bulldogs in tackles per game (8.5) and in total sacks (3). Narducci and Kadar have each recorded two interceptions.
 
St. Joseph is led by one of the state’s most explosive players, senior running back Jada Byers. This season Byers has rushed for 443 yards (6.8 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. Byers is also a major receiving threat. He has 15 receptions for 211 yards and 3 TDs. Junior Ahmad Ross, the star of last year’s 41-22 state title win over Holy Spirit, has rushed for 139 yards (4.9 avg.) and 2 TDs.
 
Junior quarterback Jayden Shertel has completed 63.1 percent of his passes for 535 yards and 4 TDs.
 
Ross at linebacker is also the defensive leaders. He is averaging 7.8 tackles per game and has five tackles for loss.
 
Both teams prefer to run the ball but can also pass. The team with the better ground game will likely emerge as the winner.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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