High School Football Games of the Week

by Marc Narducci | Aug 21, 2023
High School Football Games of the Week
The high school football season is returning and so is the weekly feature of previewing the top games. With opening day on Aug. 25, here is a look at some of the South Jersey high school football games* of the week.

Friday Aug. 25

10 a.m. - Mainland (10-2) vs. Washington Township (5-5) at Ocean City. 

This is the first of 12 Battle at the Beach games spanning three days at Ocean City High School. Mainland is the defending WJFL United champ, having gone 5-0. In a state semifinal, the Mustangs won the Central Jersey Group 4 title before losing to Millville, 18-14. The biggest task is replacing RB Ja’Briel Mace, who is now at Villanova. Sophomore QB John Franchini saw extensive time last season, throwing for 533 yards and 11 touchdowns (stats according to NJ.com), and should benefit from the experience. Washington Township’s season ended with a 21-17 first round South Jersey Group 4 defeat to Marlboro. Whether he is used as QB or RB, senior Jared Dzierzgowski is among the most dangerous runners in South Jersey with 711 rushing yards last year (7.2 avg.). In last year’s opening 28-21 loss to powerhouse Toms River North at Ocean City, Dziergowski rushed for 102 yards and three scores. 

4 p.m. - Millville (12-2) vs. Toms River North (14-0) at Ocean City. 

Continuing with the Battle at the Beach games, Millville vs. Toms River North is sure to be an interesting game. Rarely does a season begin with a matchup of defending state champions, especially since the NJSIAA just instituted public school state championships for the first time in 2022. Both defending champs are expected to be among the top teams in New Jersey again. Toms River North senior Micah Ford might be the best dual-threat QB in the state—if not beyond. He threw for 1,203 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and ran for 2,360 yards (10.0 avg.) and 33 touchdowns. Millville has one of the best juniors in the country in WR-DB Lotzeir Brooks, who caught 69 passes for 1,089 yards and 14 touchdowns. Senior QB Jacob Zamot threw for 3,158 yards and 27 TD. This has a chance to be among the best of the 12 games in Ocean City. 

7 p.m. -  Atlantic City (7-3) at Williamstown (2-8).

This is a battle among two teams that will look to contend for a Group 5 playoff berth. Both are playoff teams from last year. Williamstown, despite its record, earned a berth with a strong strength of schedule from competing in the WJFL American Division. The Braves fell to American Division opponent, Cherokee, 45-14 in last year’s South Jersey Group 5 quarterfinal game. Atlantic City features one of the top players in South Jersey in Jr. WR-DB Sah'nye Degraffenreidt, who caught 51 passes for 894 yards and 11 touchdowns. 

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Sunday Aug. 27

10 a.m. - Maple Shade (9-2) vs. Collingswood (5-7) at Ocean City. 

This kicks off the third and final day of the Battle at the Beach matchups. Maple Shade tied with Cinnaminson for the WJFL Freedom title. The Wildcats advanced to the South Jersey Group 1 championship before falling to Woodbury, 36-6. Maple Shade was hit hard by graduation, but coach Imion Powell has built the program to the point of being competitive each season and the Wildcats look to contend for a Group 1 playoff berth. Collingswood is coming off an injury-plagued season, but the Panthers return eight starters on both sides of the ball. Leading the way is Sr. WR Shakur Carter, who had 34 receptions for 634 yards and five touchdowns. If Collingswood can get off to a good start, the Panthers might be able to contend for a Group 2 playoff berth.

 

*Records are from last year


Author: Marc Narducci

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