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

South Jersey Football Game of the Week: St. Joseph at West Deptford
St. Joseph (5-1) at West Deptford (5-0), Friday, 7 pm.
 
Background: These two met last season and West Deptford earned a 51-0 win at St. Joseph. This was a turbulent time for the St. Joseph program, which had a few key players and coach Paul Sacco suspended for two games following a well-documented social media incident. This was the first of the two-game suspension. St. Joseph would respond by winning its final five games, finishing 10-2 and capturing the Non-Public Group 2 state title.
 
West Deptford went 7-3 last season and advanced to the SJ Group 2 semifinals before losing 12-7 to Camden.
 
Both St. Joseph and West Deptford are considered major contenders in state Non-Public 2 and South Jersey Group 2 respectively.
 
Coaches: St. Joseph, Paul Sacco (331-64-5); West Deptford, Jason Morrell (12-3).
 
This season:
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
October 4 at Haddonfield, 43-8
October 12 at Vineland, 19-11
 
WEST DEPTFORD
September 7 at Paulsboro, 31-14
September 13 Collingswood, 33-0
September 20 at Delsea, 41-12
September 27 at Sterling, 34-0
October 11 Haddonfield, 28-14
 
Up next: St. Joseph hosts Timber Creek on Saturday, October 26 at noon. West Deptford host Deptford on Friday, October 25 at 7.
 
Outlook: This is a game that likely will be decided on the ground. Both have strong running attacks. Last week West Deptford took a stranglehold of the WJFL Colonial Division title with a 28-14 win over defending champ Haddonfield. The score was 28-0 before Haddonfield scored two fourth quarter touchdowns.
 
West Deptford senior Tyshawn Bookman is among the top running backs in South Jersey. He gained 140 yards against Haddonfield, while junior quarterback Aaron Graeber scored on runs of 2 and 22 yards. Gavin Shields scored on offense and defense. He had a 5-yard run and also an 18-yard fumble return.
 
St. Joseph is coming off a tougher than expected 19-11 win over a 2-4 Vineland team. That record, however is misleading since Vineland has played a difficult schedule, with the other losses coming to Williamstown and Lenape, two of the top five teams in South Jersey, and Timber Creek, a South Jersey Group 3 contender.
 
Senior running back Jada Byers continues to have an explosive year for St. Joseph. He has rushed for 674 yards (7.1 avg.) and 13 touchdowns. Byers also has 20 receptions for 350 yards and five touchdowns. Against Vineland he scored on an 80-yard run and a 25-yard pass from junior Jayden Shertel. This season Shertal has completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 925 yards and eight touchdowns.
 
Junior linebacker Keshon Griffin is averaging 6.2 tackles per game and has seven tackles for loss.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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