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

South Jersey Football Game of the Week: Salem at Penns Grove
Salem (6-2, 3-0 WJFL Diamond) at Penns Grove (8-0, 4-0), Saturday, 12 pm.
 
Coaches: Salem, Montrey Wright (40-13); Penns Grove, John Emel (45-18).
 
Background: Penns Grove has the longest current win streak in South Jersey at 21 games. The Red Devils would clinch the WJFL Diamond Division outright with a win. Salem would clinch at least a tie with a victory. (The Rams face Woodstown on Thanksgiving, another team still in the Diamond hunt). Last year Salem finished second to Penns Grove in the division, losing 26-20 to the Red Raiders for its only regular season division loss. Salem then lost to Penns Grove 14-7, in the South Jersey Group 1 final.
 
This season:
SALEM
August 30 at Pleasantville, 18-27
September 7 Cedar Creek, 12-34
September 14 Schalick, 41-0
September 20 at Burlington City, 41-7
September 28 Overbrook, 40-0
October 11 at Glassboro, 20-7
October 19 Audubon, 40-0
October 26 Pennsville, 21-14
 
PENNS GROVE
September 6 at Pennsville, 68-7
September 13 at Woodstown, 30-22
September 21 at Paulsboro, 40-26
September 28 River Dell, 42-7
October 4 Florence, 42-0
October 11 at Linganore (MD), 34-6
October 19 Schalick, 34-8
October 25 at Glassboro, 40-0
 
Next week: Both teams will be competing in the Group 1 playoffs, with the pairing to be announced after this weekend’s games.
 
Outlook: On paper, Penns Grove should be a solid favorite, especially since the Red Devils have won more convincingly over common opponents. For instance, last week Salem beat Pennsville, 21-14 (a team Penns Grove beat 68-7 in its opener).
 
Yet this is a great rivalry and Salem usually finds a way to keep things competitive.
 
The Rams have a strong offense, led by senior Da’Shon Bundy, who has rushed for 621 yards (8.7 avg.) and 8 TDs. Sophomore quarterback Jahki Coates has been coming on. Last week he threw for 189 yards and two TDs in the win over Pennsville.
 
The leader of the defense is senior lineman Josh Johnson, who has recorded 16 sacks, including 11 in his last three games.
 
Penns Grove has an explosive offense. The Red Devils are not throwing the ball as much as a year ago, but are still effective. Senior Kavon Lewis has completed 49 of 82 passes for 810 yards and nine touchdowns.
 
Junior Nasir Robinson has rushed for 1,115 yards (8.4 avg.) and 19 touchdowns. He also has caught two passes for 90 yards and a score. Senior Torvon Ransome has caught 28 passes for 413 yards and 7 TDs.
 
Sophomore linebacker Zion Cheeks has recorded 45 tackles. He has 15 tackles for loss, including seven sacks.
 
The team with the better ground game will be the likely winner. And don’t be surprised if once again, these two teams meet in the postseason.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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