Highlights of the opening week of South Jersey H.S. football playoffs

by Marc Narducci | Nov 8, 2021
Highlights of the opening week of South Jersey H.S. football playoffs

Here are some impressions from the first week of the South Jersey playoffs.

Another step up for Audubon. Last year Audubon went 7-1, the school’s most wins since going 9-2 in 1983. So what have the Green Wave done for an encore?

They are 7-1 again and won their first playoff game with a 37-14 victory over Gateway in a Central Jersey Group 1 opening round game.

Scott Lynch threw for 271 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Lynch, who was defensive starter for Audubon as a freshman, then moved to Florida and was a successful quarterback, has returned to the Green Wave and meant all the difference in the world. He has thrown for 1,512 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Audubon has a tough semifinal game at Salem, but the Green Wave, under first-year coach Dan Reed, have shown that last year’s success was not a fluke.

Burkhardt running wild. Gloucester running back Steve Burkhardt continued in the postseason what he had done in the regular season – running wild over opponents.

Burkhardt rushed for 252 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries in the Lions opening 21-14 Central Jersey Group 1 win over New Egypt.

This season Burkhardt has rushed for 1,729 yards and 27 touchdowns. Both Burkhardt and Gloucester will be tested when they visit top seeded Paulsboro in Saturday’s semifinal game.

Haddonfield hitting stride. Haddonfield played a strong regular season schedule and no doubt that helped the Bulldogs in their opening playoff game, a 34-7 Central Jersey Group 2 win over Middle Township. The Bulldogs have now won five in a row. Haddonfield coach Frank DeLano knows how to navigate his way through the postseason. Under DeLano, Haddonfield has won four sectional titles, the most recent being back to back SJ Group 2 titles in 2017 and 2018.

This year’s Haddonfield team has no so-called super-stars, but senior Carson Wolff has been a fine dual-threat quarterback, having thrown for 871 yards and 12 touchdowns and run for 548 yards (5.4 avg.) and three touchdowns.

The second seeded Bulldogs will have a challenging game when they visit Bernards (8-2) on Friday in the semifinals. Bernards, like Haddonfield has won five in a row.

Bring your calculators. When fourth seeded Pennsauken visits No. 1 seed Millville in Friday’s SJ Group 4 semifinal, expect to see plenty of offense. Both teams went for over 50 points in their opening round wins. Millville beat Toms River South, 58-0, while Pennsauken defeated Central Regional, 56-21. A player to watch is Pennsauken receiver Kahlil Ali, who had three touchdowns entering the game and equaled that total against Central Regional. He had four receptions for 104 yards and four scores and is among the top juniors in South Jersey. Millville senior Nate Robbins was 8 for 8 for 303 yards and three touchdowns in the rout of Toms River South. Millville is averaging 46.8 points while Pennsauken is averaging 31.7 points.

Was it really an upset? Some eyebrows were raised when No. 8 seeded Lenape defeated No. 1 Washington Township, 24-21 in overtime during an opening SJ Group 5 game.

Lenape is just 3-6, but the Indians compete in the WJFL American, arguably the best division South Jersey. Lenape has gone 0-4 in American Division play, with a Thanksgiving game left against Shawnee. Yet that type of competition prepared the Indians for the postseason.

The winning points for Lenape came on a 38-yard field goal by Dylan Shank, who is among the top kickers in South Jersey.

Article continues below


Author: Marc Narducci


Who’s Who in Health Care

Southern Charm


Hitting Her Stride

Top Dentists 2024

Making Moves

Living in the Moment

Best of the Shore 2024

Despite record All-Star haul, still too early to rank this Phillies team

Best of the Best 2024

7-on-7 Football Grows in Popularity

IP Protection in an AI World

Into the Big Leagues

Should Joel Embiid be competing in the Olympics?

The Real Deal