By Phil Anastasia
Just for fun, here's a projected preseason Top 10 for the 2013 football season in South Jersey.
Hey, it's less than nine months away.
1. Timber Creek (10-2 record in 2012): Junior quarterback Dan Williams emerged in the playoffs and lit up the South Jersey Group 4 final with five touchdown passes. Three underclassmen received scholarship offers from Temple last week: Sophomore safety Kareem Ali, junior wide receiver Adonis Jennings and junior lineman Lamont Bradford. Other top returners include junior linebackers Isaiah Austin and Justice Davila and junior lineman Solomen Potter.
2. St. Joseph (10-1): The Wildcats will be young and will need to replace the loss of some senior leaders such as quarterback Anthony Giagunto. But there's a ton of talent, led by junior running back Cody Sampson, and sophomores C.J. LaFragola, Rocco Ordille and Ricardo Quirindongo. Watch out for freshmen twins Saleem and A'leem Horne.
3. Williamstown (12-0): The Braves bring back junior halfback/defensive back Marques Little, who took his game to another level in the state tournament. Other key returners include junior fullback John Chamberlin, junior quarterback Doug Banks and junior two-way lineman Pete Halloran. This program is humming at a high level.
4. Holy Spirit (8-4): The Spartans bring back their entire starting defense, led by juniors such as linebacker Jeff Steeb, tackle Ray Ellis and back A.J. Dawson. They also return junior running back Taalib Gerald and junior quarterback T.J. Anderson.
5. Cherokee (6-4): The Chiefs have a loaded junior class led by quarterback Trevor Osler, running back Matt Stickney, two-way end Jake Powell, two-way back Rob Agnoni and two-way lineman Zach Madden. Junior Ken Ravel is a top kicker and freshman Evan Powell could be an impact player.
6. Eastern (7-4): The Vikings bring back junior quarterback Tom Flacco, who passed for 2,957 yards and 25 touchdowns. Other returning veterans include top juniors such as lineman Mike Montemurro, wide receiver Keshawn Segers, running back T.J. Gardner and defensive end Kingsley Ayeni.
7. Hammonton (5-5): That Thanksgiving Eve upset of then-No. 1 St. Joseph could springboard the Blue Devils into a big bounce-back season in 2013. Hammonton has a strong junior class led by all-purpose standout Alex Padovani along with linemen Bob Frederico and Brandon Alfonso and running back Dylan Rosu.
8. West Deptford (12-0): The Eagles return junior fullback Gerald Owens, one of the top recruits in the class of 2014, along with wide receiver Shai Mumford, linebackers Isiah Worthy and Kevin DeCaesar and defensive backs Joe Diaco and Isiah Easterling.
9. Penns Grove (12-0): The Red Devils lose quarterback Nick Elmer and several other top players but bring back a lot of talent from the program's first sectional champion. Junior running back Anthony Robertson ran for 28 touchdowns. Junior ends Isaiah Coppage and RaeQuan Norman combined for 35 sacks and junior two-way back Richard Gray is a playmaker.
10. Delsea (11-1): The Crusaders bring back junior fullback Rob Hooks, who ran for 203 yards in the South Jersey Group 3 title game, as well as junior cornerback Rob Rolle, who returned an interception for a touchdown on the third play of the game. Juniors Cody Brovero and Scott Parker and sophomore Vic DeFrance are top returning linemen and junior Bryan Dobzanski is an impact player at wide receiver and safety.
Under consideration (Listed alphabetically): Haddonfield (6-4), Kingsway (8-4), Millville (6-4), Paul VI (6-4), Shawnee (6-5).