South Jersey Football Rankings: Penns Grove rises in new Top 10
The record-setting Red Devils move to the No. 6 spot after notching their 20th victory in a row.
It’s 688 days and counting.
That’s how long it’s been since Penn Grove lost a football game. The Red Devils ran their winning streak to a school-record 20 games with a 36-8 victory over Schalick on Saturday.
Penns Grove is the reigning South Jersey Group 1 champion as well as the first team in South Jersey history to go 13-0 in a season (although Haddonfield matched the feat later in the 2018 campaign).
Penns Grove’s last loss was 34-24 to Paulsboro in the South Jersey Group 1 final on Dec. 2, 2017 at Rowan University. In 20 straight victories, the Red Devils have scored 752 points (37.6 per game).
Penns Grove also is moving up in the Top 10 rankings, climbing to the No. 6 spot.
With two weeks before the start of the playoffs, here’s the new Top 10, with last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. Williamstown (1) 7-0: Another game, another shutout. The Braves beat old rival Washington Township 33-0 to register their fourth shutout of the season. Since the start of the 2018 season, they’ve held 16 of 20 opponents to seven points or fewer. In Friday’s win over the Minutemen, junior quarterback Doug Brown threw a pair of touchdown passes and sophomore Turner Inge ran for a pair of scores. Williamstown has two big WJFL American games on tap before the start of the state tournament: Friday at Shawnee and Nov. 1 at St. Augustine.
2. Lenape (2) 5-1: The Indians win with defense. They win with offense. And this season, they win with special teams. In six games, Lenape has returned six kicks for touchdowns. In a 49-0 win over Camden Catholic, senior Connor Kennedy returned a punt for a score and junior Xavier Coleman took a kickoff to the house. It was the third kick return for touchdown by each athlete this season. Lenape visits Rancocas Valley Saturday.
3. Woodrow Wilson (3) 5-1: Senior all-purpose standout Muheem McCargo sometimes gets overshadowed a bit by the fireworks of the Tigers’ passing game. But he’s the heart and soul of the orange and black, a bruising running back and linebacker whose toughness sets the tone for the team. In a 36-7 win over Delsea, McCargo ran for two scores, caught a pass for another and lifted an interception. Woodrow Wilson has a tough test Friday at Willingboro.
4. St. Augustine (4) 4-3: The Hermits could have collapsed after starting a season of high expectations with a 1-3 record. Instead, they have won three in a row, beating Holy War rivals St. Joseph and Holy Spirit in the process. In a 21-7 win over Spirit, sophomore Nasir Hill ran for a touchdown and returned an interception 40 yards to set up another score. St. Augustine hosts Cherokee Friday.
5. St. Joseph (5) 6-1: The Wildcats earned redemption in a victory over West Deptford in a typical way: With smothering defense. And in an unusual way: With pass-heavy offense. The Wildcats’ defense shut down the Eagles’ ground game, allowing just a pair of field goals. The offense took to the air, as junior Jayden Shertel was 24-for-27 passing for 199 yards in a victory that eased some of the sting of last year’s 51-0 loss. St. Joseph is home Saturday vs. Timber Creek.
6. Penns Grove (7): Kavon Lewis set the program record with his 63rd career touchdown pass and Nasir Robinson ran for three scores in the victory over Schalick. Robinson gained 151 yards on nine carries and Jayon Carter added 105 yards on just five carries. Penns Grove is at old rival Glassboro on Saturday.
7. West Deptford (6) 5-1: Bobby Royal returned a fumble for a touchdown and Brandon Ratcliffe made a pair of field goals in the one-point loss to St. Joseph. The Eagles went toe-to-toe for 48 minutes with the perennial non-public power in a battle that should helped prepare them for the Group 2 playoffs. West Deptford is home Friday vs. Deptford.
8. Highland (8) 5-1: Junior running back Johnny Martin has made South Jersey history this season. With 1,053 yards, Martin is the first running back in the area to generate 1,000 yards in his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, per research by sports historian Chuck Langerman. Martin ran for 1,266 yards as a freshman and 2,002 as a sophomore. Highland, which has won five in a row, is home Friday vs. Burlington Township.
9. Shawnee (9) 6-1: The Renegades bounced back from a tough loss to Woodrow Wilson in a big way, beating Union City 35-17 at the North Jersey Group 5 power’s rooftop field. Sophomore quarterback Matt Welsey ran for two scores and passed for another as the Renegades strengthened their position for a high seed in the South 4 playoffs. Shawnee is home Friday vs. Williamstown.
10. Camden (10) 5-1: Sophomore Nazir Dale put together his second straight 250-yard-plus performance in a 50-6 win at Pennsauken. Dale ran for 279 yards and two touchdowns while senior linebacker Emmett Prather recovered two fumbles. Camden is home Friday vs. Camden Catholic.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Cedar Creek (5-2), Delran (5-1), Holy Spirit (3-3), Mainland (7-0), Timber Creek (4-2), Willingboro (6-1).