Three-Day Tournament to Kickoff South Jersey Football Season

by Marc Narducci | Mar 2, 2021
Three-Day Tournament to Kickoff South Jersey Football Season
The 2021 South Jersey football season will be kicked off in style. During the final week of August, the West Jersey Football Coaches Association (WJFCA) is putting together a three-day extravaganza that will feature 11 games played at Ocean City’s field. 
 
Ten of the 11 games have been set and here is the schedule
 
Friday August 27
St. Joes Academy vs Northeast Philadelphia, PA, 11 a.m. 
Salem vs. Camden, 2 p.m. 
Collingswood vs. Marple Newtown (PA), 5 p.m.
Ocean City vs. Vineland, 8 p.m. 
 
Saturday August 28
Penns Grove vs. Bernards, 11 a.m.
Timber Creek vs. Red Bank Catholic, 2 p.m. 
Millville, vs. Union, 5 p.m.
Holy Spirit vs. DeMatha Catholic (MD), 8 p.m. 
 
Sunday August 29
12 p.m. TBA
Cedar Creek vs. Scotch Plains – Fanwood, 3 p.m. 
Winslow Twp vs. Woodbridge, 6 p.m. 
 
One of the key matchups is Holy Spirit vs. DeMatha Catholic. Last year Holy Spirit was the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey. The Spartans went 8-0 and even though there wasn’t an official NJSIAA playoffs, the top four teams in South Jersey were paired in the final two weeks and the Spartans beat Winslow Township, 34-0 and then Lenape 21-0 in what was known as the Bracket A rounds.
 
While DeMatha has a reputation as one of the nation’s all-time basketball programs, it also has made a great football reputation. 
 
Eagles safety Rodney McLeod is a DeMatha graduate. So is former Eagles great running back Bryan Westbrook.
 
John Emel, the president of the WJFCA and the head coach at Penns Grove, said the idea of holding an event such as this kept expanding.
 
Collingswood coach Mike McKeown told Emel that his team was planning to play Morrisville, PA in Ocean City. From there, it was suggested that maybe a day-long showcase could be held with multiple teams. 
 
It has since expanded to three days. 
 
Most of the matchups have South Jersey teams against non-area schools, although there are a few South Jersey matchups – Camden vs. Salem, and Vineland against Ocean City. 
 
In the 2021 season, there are two open dates, the weekend of Aug. 27 and 28 and Oct. 29 and 30. This is for teams to be able to add non-league games. The later date is if a game has to be postponed earlier in the season. The fact that it will be held in the final week of August, won’t interfere with Labor Day weekend, where many families have other plans. 
 
It's hoped that the showcase can attract fans of South Jersey football, even if their favorite team isn’t playing. 
 
What the WJFCA is hoping is that this showcase can be an annual affair. 
 
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Author: Marc Narducci

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