Strong showing by South Jersey Football Public School Teams in the postseason

by Marc Narducci | Dec 7, 2022
Strong showing by South Jersey Football Public School Teams in the postseason
The first-ever NJSIAA state championships for public high school football teams have been held and South Jersey teams fared well.

It should be noted that there have been Non-Public state playoffs since 1993, but this was the first-year public school held a state championship.
Of the five public school Groups, there were two champions from South Jersey, Woodbury in Group 1 and Millville in Group 4.

Both Woodbury and Millville finished 12-2. Woodbury won its final six games, while Millville ended the season on a 9-game winning streak. The two schools were also defending sectional champions last year.

There are four sections in New Jersey – North I, North II, Central and South. So, for two of the five champs being from schools from the seven-county South Jersey area, is impressive.

Yet, there is more. Delsea (12-1) was the third team from the seven-county South Jersey area to compete in the state championship. The Crusaders lost to Old Tappan, 24-14 in the state Group 3 championship.

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It was a game that was tied 14-14 entering the fourth quarter before Old Tappan (12-1) pulled away.

With Delsea losing, after being undefeated, it appears as if Millville, our preseason pick to be No. 1 in South Jersey, will end up as the top team.
There were no teams from South Jersey that won a Non-Public state title this year. Over the past several years, South Jersey has only had a realistic chance at winning Non-Public 2, with either St. Joseph or Holy Spirit.

South Jersey has always had trouble winning a state title in the larger divisions, Non-Public 3 and 4.

The last time an area team won either a Non-Public 3 or Non-Public 4 title was in 2010 when Holy Spirit, captured the Non-Public 3 state title with a 14-13 win over St. Joe Montvale.

South Jersey has only captured two Non-Public 3 titles, and Holy Spirit has both of them, with the other in 2007.

There has been just one Non-Public 4 state championship team from South Jersey, Holy Cross in 2000 won the Non-Public Group 4 title with a classic 41-40 victory over Don Bosco Prep.

These days, the only large enrollment school from South Jersey that would have a realistic chance against the heavyweights from Non-Public 4 is St. Augustine.

St. Augustine has built the program to be competitive even while rebuilding and that was the case this year when the Hermits went 6-5.
Still, the Hermits were able to win a first-round playoff game against St. John Vianney, 45-0, before losing to top-seeded and eventual runner-up Don Bosco Prep, 37-0, in the quarterfinals.

Non-Public A annually is the toughest playoff Group. As for the public schools, schools from the seven-county South Jersey area should be highly competitive for state titles on an annual basis.


Author: Marc Narducci

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