South Jersey Football Rankings: No. 1 Lenape, No. 3 Williamstown close on epic rematch
The Indians and Braves both opened playoff action with imposing victories, moving a step closer to another meeting that will settle a pair of disputes.
Lenape would like nothing better than to avenge its Week 4 loss to rival Wiliamstown.
Williamstown would like nothing better than to beat Lenape again, capturing another sectional title and proving the Braves belong back at the top of the rankings.
The two powerhouse programs, winners of the last two South Jersey Group 5 crowns, moved a step closer to an epic rematch with imposing victories during the opening round of the state tournament last weekend.
Williamstown is the No. 1 seed in the South Jersey Group 5 field. Lenape is No. 2.
In the rankings, Lenape is No. 1 and Williamstown is No. 3, with West Jersey Football League American Division rival St. Augustine wedged in between in the No. 2 spot.
Something has to give in the playoffs. If the Braves and Indians win their semifinal games this coming weekend, they will settle this dispute on the field in the Nov. 22 sectional title game.
Here’s the new Top 10, with last week’s ranking in parentheses:
1. Lenape (1): 8-1: The Indians registered their ninth return touchdown of the season as Tyler Davis pounced on a fumble in the end zone in a 39-6 win over Edison in the South Jersey Group 5 tournament opener. Xavier Coleman ran for two touchdowns as the Indians won their fifth in a row. They’ve averaged 39.6 points in the streak. Lenape hosts third-seeded Hillsborough in the sectional semifinals on Friday night.
2. St. Augustine (2) 6-3: Junior linebacker Angelo Vokolos has made 53 tackles in six games since becoming eligible as a transfer from St. Joseph. He also has nine tackles for loss for the Hermits, who were off last weekend. St. Augustine, which has won five in a row, opens the postseason Friday night in a Non-Public 4 game at Seton Hall Prep.
3. Williamstown (3): 9-1: The Braves began their quest for a second straight South Jersey Group 5 tile in impressive fashion, beating Hunterdon Central, 42-3, in Friday night’s opener. Dougie Brown threw a pair of touchdown passes to Quinn Hart and the Braves’ defense held an opponent without a touchdown for the sixth time this season and 11th time since the start of the 2018 season. Hart added another score on a fake punt. Williamstown hosts Vineland in the sectional semifinals on Friday night.
4. St. Joseph (4) 8-1: Senior all-purpose Jada Byers is putting the finishing touches on one of the most productive careers in South Jersey history. Byers has rushed for 1,025 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 38 passes for another 540 yards and seven scores for the Wildcats, who were off last weekend. St. Joseph has another bye this coming weekend, opening pursuit of its 21st state title since the creation of the non-public state tournament in 1993 vs. the winner of Friday night’s game beween Montclair Immaculate-Morris Catholic winner.
5. Penns Grove (5) 10-0: The Red Devils returned three fumbles for touchdowns in the first half in a 57-0 win over Keansburg in the South Jersey Group 1 opener. Aaron Frazier-Spencer pulled off a pair of scoop-and-scores and Tyionne Brewer added another for the reigning champions, who have won 23 in a row. With one more victory, Penns Grove can tie the school mark for an unbeaten streak – which included a tie – set from 1961-64, per research by sports historian Chuck Langerman. The Red Devils host Woodbury in Saturday’s semifinals.
6. West Deptford (6): 8-1: The Eagles ran their shutout streak to three games with a 49-0 victory over old rival Sterling in the first round of the South Jersey Group 2 tournament. Tyshawn Bookman ran for three scores and Mychael Gilmore added two more for the Eagles, who have outscored their last three opponents by a combined 165-0. West Deptford, which is seeking its eighth sectional title since 2002, hosts Delran Friday in the semifinals.
7. Willingboro (7) 9-1: Ah-Shaun Davis passed for 146 yards and made program history as the Chimeras ran their winning streak to nine with a 61-0 victory over Haddon Township in the Central Jersey Group 1 opener. Davis is the first Willingboro quarterback to throw for 2,000 yards in a season, according to Langerman’s research. The Chimeras, the reigning sectional champions, host Buena in the second round on Friday night.
8. Woodrow Wilson (8): Devin Kargman threw five touchdown passes, raising his sophomore-season total to 30, as the Tigers beat Hopewell Valley, 49-7, in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 3 tournament. Amari Clark caught two scoring passes for the reigning sectional champions, who advance to host Holmdel Saturday in the sectional semifinals.
9. Shawnee (9) 7-2: How’s this for postseason success? Since 2013, the Renegades are 17-2 in South Jersey tournament action. In this season’s playoff opener, Dalton Short ran for one score and caught a pass for another as the two-time champion Renegades registered a 31-21 win over Neptune. Quarterback Matt Welsey passed for two touchdowns and ran for another as Shawnee advanced to host recent rival Millville in the sectional semifinals.
10. Hammonton (10) 8-2: Caleb Nartey and Jaiden Abrams each ran for two touchdowns as the Blue Devils extended their winning streak to seven with a 35-0 victory over Brick Township in the Central Jersey Group 4 opener. Abrams generated 171 yards on the ground and the Blue Devils’ defense posted its third shutout in the last five games. Hammonton hosts Middletown South in Friday night’s semifinals.
Under consideration (listed alphabetically): Camden (7-2), Cedar Creek (8-2), Delran (8-1), Haddonfield (7-2), Mainland (8-1), Millville (5-4), Ocean City (7-2), Paulsboro (7-2), Pleasantville (8-1), Seneca (8-2), Timber Creek (6-3).