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Football: New Top 25

By Phil Anastasia

Inquirer Staff Writer

Here's the new Top 25 in South Jersey football, as of Monday November 23:

(Previous ranking in parentheses)

1. St. Augustine (1) 8-1

The Hermits are seeking their first nine-win season since 2009. In the  previous three seasons, SA went 8-2, 8-3 and 8-2. Next: Home Thursday vs. Cedar Creek (8-1) at 10 a.m.

2. Williamstown (2) 9-1

The Braves can clinch a share of the Olympic American title with a win on Thanksgiving. Next: Home Thursday vs. Washington Twp. (5-4) at 10:30.

3. Delsea (5) 10-1

The Crusaders have won 11 straight S.J. Group 3 tournament games. Because they don't have a Thanksgiving game, the Crusaders have a long time to prepare for the sectional final. They are seeking to become the first South Jersey team to win four consecutive sectional titles above the Group 1 level. Next: Vs. Camden (8-2) in S.J. 3 title game Dec. 5 at 2:30 p.m. at Rowan.

4. Camden Catholic (4) 8-1

The Irish are 6-6 against rival Paul VI since 2003. Next: Home vs. Paul VI (6-3) Thursday at 10:30.

5. St. Joseph (8) 9-2

The Wildcats are 9-0 against New Jersey opponents since a loss to St. Augustine on opening night. They've scored 354 points in those nine games (39.3 average). Next: Vs. Hudson Catholic (10-1) in Non-Public 2 title game on weekend of Dec. 6 at 2:30 p.m. at Rowan.

6. Timber Creek (12) 7-3

The Chargers will make their fifth consecutive appearance in the sectional finals. The only other South Jersey public school to do that was Paulsboro, which won six Group 1 titles in a row from 1992-97. Next: Home vs. Triton (1-8) Thursday at 10:30.

7. Hammonton (3) 9-2

The Blue Devils went 16-6 in their first two seasons as a member of the West Jersey Football League. Season over.

8. West Deptford (6) 10-0

The Eagles are 62-6 in their last 68. Junior Gio Gismondi ran for three touchdowns in Friday's win over Buena. The Eagles have a tricky schedule, with a game against rival Paulsboro before another appearance in the SJ 2 title game vs. Cedar Creek Dec. 6 at 11 a.m. at Rowan. Next: At Paulsboro (8-2) Saturday at noon.

9. Camden (9) 8-2

Camden has scored 158 points in a five-game winning strewak (31.2 average). The Panthers have won four in a row against cross-town rival Woodrow Wilson, including a 31-6 victory in a playoff game Nov. 13. Camden, unlike Delsea, has to play a Thanksgiving game before the SJ 3 title game Dec. 5 at Rowan. Next: At Woodrow Wilson (6-3) Thursday at 11.

10. Shawnee (11) 8-2

The Renegades have won seven in a row. They face a tough and trickly test against Thanksgiving rival Lenape. Then they will seek to become the first team since Brick Twp. in 1981-83 to win three consecutive SJ Group 4 titles. Next: At Lenape (8-2) Thursday at 10.

11. Cherokee (7) 7-3

It wasn't a great sign for the Chiefs when four captains walked out for the coin toss on Friday night and two of them -- linebackers and offensive backs Evan Powell and Mike Faunt -- were in street clothes with their jersey because of injuries. Next: At Seneca (6-4) Thursday at 11.

12. Lenape (10) 8-2

In the last two seasons, the Indians are 0-2 against Toms River North and 17-1 against everybody else. Next: Home vs. Shawnee (8-2) Thursday at 10.

13. Cedar Creek (15) 9-1

Junior Bo Melton has scored two or more touchdowns in six straight games. This team, like West Deptford, has a tough and tricky week with a game against a strong opponent before full preparations begin for the SJ 2 title game on Dec. 6. Next: At St. Augustine (8-1) Thursday at 10.

14. Paul VI (14) 6-3

The Eagles lost last year by 38-15 to rival Camden Catholic. Next: At Camden Catholic (8-1) Thursday at 10:30.

15. Haddonfield (13) 8-2

The Bulldogs are trying to win nine or more games for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Next: Home vs. Haddon Heights (3-6) Thursday at 11.

16. Buena (17) 9-2

The Chiefs were 19-3 the last two seasons, with two of the losses to Colonial Conference powers Haddonfield (in 2014) and West Deptford (in 2015). Season over.

17. Bridgeton (18) 7-4

The Bulldogs held an 8-7 lead at halftime against Shawnee on Friday night before losing 28-14. Season over.

18. Palmyra (25) 9-1

The Panthers rallied from a 34-14 halftime deficit to beat Keyport 35-34 in one of the program's most memorable games on Friday night. They will meet undefeated Shore in the CJ 1 title game Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. at Kean. Next: At Burlington City (3-6) Thursday at 11.

19. Seneca (20) 6-4

The Golden Eagles pushed Delsea to the limit in a 42-28 loss on Friday night. Next: Home vs. Cherokee (7-3) Thursday at 11.

20. Kingsway (21) 4-5

The Dragons' five losses were to teams (Hammonton, Timber Creek, Delsea, Williamstown and Toms River North) with a combined record of 45-8. Next: Home vs. Clearview (4-5) Thursday at 10:30.

21. Pennsville (NR) 9-1

The Eagles have won five in a row since an Oct. 10 loss at Salem. They will meet Clayton -- a team they defeated 23-14 on opening night -- in the SJ 1 title game Dec. 5 at 11 a.m. at Rowan. Next: Home vs. Penns Grove (5-4) Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

22. Burlington Twp. (22) 7-2

The Falcons are another team that will play Thanksgiving eve. Next: Home vs. Rancocas Valley (4-5) Wednesday at 5.

23. Paulsboro (16) 8-2

The Red Raiders beat rival West Deptford 36-33 in overtime last year on the night after Thanksgiving. Next: Home vs. West Deptford (10-0) Saturday at noon.

24. Woodrow Wilson (24) 6-3

The Tigers have been waiting for two weeks for their rematch with their cross-town rivals. Next: Home vs. Camden (8-2) Thursday at 11.

25. Washington Twp. (23) 5-4

The Minutemen can earn a share of the Olympic American title with a win on Thanksgiving. Next: At Williamstown (9-1) Thursday at 10:30.

Under consideration: Cinnaminson (7-2), Clayton (8-2), Millville (5-4), Pemberton (8-2).

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