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Breaking down this weekend’s South Jersey football championship games

Penns Grove and Willingboro will face each other for the second straight year. Cherokee looks to knock off Williamstown and more in this week's preview of playoff football in South Jersey.

Penns Grove and Willingboro will meet in the Group 1 regional championship game for the second straight season on Sunday at Rutgers University.
Penns Grove and Willingboro will meet in the Group 1 regional championship game for the second straight season on Sunday at Rutgers University.Read moreTim Tai/Staff photographer

Here’s a look at this weekend’s playoff football games in South Jersey:

(All games are on Saturday or Sunday at SHI Stadium at Rutgers University.)

Group 1 regional championship

Willingboro (11-1) vs. Penns Grove (12-0): The Chimeras and Red Devils will meet in a bowl game for the second straight season at 7 p.m. Sunday. Last year, Penns Grove came from behind to beat Willingboro, 35-26.

Both of the teams are loaded on offense with skill positions players who can make home-run-type plays. The Red Devils, who are on a 25-game winning streak, average 41.8 points per game, while Willingboro averages 40.2.

Penns Grove senior quarterback Kavon Lewis is coming off a three-touchdown performance — two passing and one rushing — against Paulsboro in the South Group 1 title game. He has thrown for 14 scores and 1,089 yards this season. Junior running back Nasir Robinson, who has rushed for 1,540 yards and 28 touchdowns, provides a boost on the ground.

For the Chimeras, junior quarterback Ah-Shaun Davis has set program records with 2,269 passing yards and 33 passing touchdowns, according to Chuch Langerman’s research. He and senior wideout Chris Long will be a handful for Penns Grove’s defense.

With a victory, the Red Devils would go 13-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time in South Jersey history.

Group 5 regional championship

Williamstown (11-1) vs. Cherokee (6-6): The Chiefs will play Williamstown on Saturday with a chance to avenge their 24-7 loss at the beginning of the season. The bad news for Cherokee is: The Braves defense hasn’t stopped causing problems for opponents since their last meeting.

Williamstown has allowed opponents to score more than a touchdown only three times this season. The Braves have also pitched five shutouts with a defense led by senior defensive end Aaron Lewis, a Michigan recruit. He has 80 tackles and nine sacks.

Junior quarterback Dougie Brown has taken a step forward for the Braves this year. He has 16 touchdown passes and eight rushing scores.

The Chiefs won one game last season, and junior quarterback Billy Osborn has been a key reason they have taken a leap to win the sectional title and now gain a bowl game appearance. He has passed for 1,918 yards and 10 touchdowns and is also dangerous with his legs. Osborn has 211 rushing yards and eight scores this year.

Group 4 regional championship

Hammonton (10-2) vs. Shawnee (9-3): The Renegades beat Hammonton, 31-8, earlier this season, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. In that contest, the Blue Devils were missing junior running back Jaiden Abrams.

Abrams, who missed that game with an injury, has rushed for 1,753 yards and 21 touchdowns. In 2018 against Shawnee, Abrams ran for 288 yards and two touchdowns in a 21-17 win for the Blue Devils.

The Renegades will attempt to limit Abrams with their defense led by senior linebacker Matt Papa, who’s averaging nine tackles and leads the team in sacks with five and fumble recoveries with four.

Group 3 regional championship

Wall (12-0) vs. Woodrow Wilson (9-2): Quarterback Devin Kargman will look to add to his record-setting sophomore year as the Tigers take on Wall on Sunday. He has passed for 3,527 yards and 43 touchdowns.

Kargman passed for 274 yards and four touchdown passes in Woodrow Wilson’s 54-30 victory over Somerville in the South Group 3 championship game. Two of those scores went to senior wideout Fadil Diggs, a Texas A&M recruit, who also plays defensive end.

Kargman and Diggs are a threat to connect for big plays at any time. Then, there’s senior running back Muheem McCargo. The Temple recruit has rushed for more than 1,000 yards this season and scored 14 touchdowns.

Wall is led by junior dual-threat quarterback Logan Peters. He has passed for 1,214 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 611 yards and 10 scores.

Group 2 regional championship

Hillside (11-0) vs. Cedar Creek (10-2): Cedar Creek, which just recently cracked The Inquirer’s top 10 in South Jersey, will play undefeated Hillside on Sunday. The Pirates are coming off their second sectional championship since 2015.

The Pirates, who are on a six-game win streak, have an explosive offense led by senior quarterback Louis Barrios, senior wideout Malachi Melton, and sophomore wide receiver JoJo Bermudez. Barrios notched two touchdowns in Cedar Creek’s Central Group 2 victory over Camden, while Melton added an 81-yard scamper for a score.

But Hillside’s defense will be a challenge for the Pirates. Hillside is outscoring opponents 410-40 this season and hasn’t surrendered more than 14 points in a single game all year.

Non-Public, Group 2 championship

St. Joseph (9-1) vs. Holy Spirit (7-4): The Wildcats will clash with old rival Holy Spirit on Sunday as the Spartans hope to overcome the loss they were dealt earlier this season.

Again, Holy Spirit’s defense will have to try to limit senior running back Jada Byers. The Sacred Heart recruit will have a chance to become the sixth player in South Jersey history with 5,000 rushing yards. He has 4,923. Byers also needs 13 points to break the South Jersey record of 656, set in 1995 by Paulsboro’s Kevin Harvey.

On the offensive side, Holy Spirit will need big performances out of its backfield. Senior Elijah Gray and junior Patrick Smith have combined for more than 1,300 yards on the ground this year.

The game could be decided by which team’s running backs have more of a solid day on the ground.