South Jersey certainly had its imprint on Villanova's first Football Championship Subdivision title.
Junior Matt Szczur of Lower Cape May was the star of Villanova's 23-21 win over Montana in Friday's title game in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Szczur rushed for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He also caught four passes for 68 yards and returned two kickoffs for 43 yards.
In 15 games for the 14-1 Wildcats, Szczur rushed for 813 yards and 10 touchdowns on 108 carries and had 51 receptions for 610 yards and 4 touchdowns.
He also returned one kickoff for a score and averaged 27.2 yards on 30 returns.
Szczur is one of nine players who graduated from high schools in the seven-county South Jersey area on Villanova's roster.
That doesn't count Villanova freshman linebacker Angel Clybourn, a Mays Landing resident who graduated from Blair Academy.
During the week of the championship game, Ben Ijalana, a junior offensive tackle from Rancocas Valley, and Szczur were named to the Walter Camp Football Championship Subdivision all-American team.
Ijalana has started all 39 games in his Villanova career.
Szczur was also named the Colonial Athletic Association offensive player of the year and special-teams player of the year, while Ijalana was a first-team all-CAA choice.
Another local starter on Villanova's offense was senior center Brian Brannigan of St. Joseph of Hammonton.
This season, Brannigan was a third-team all-CAA selection.
Norman White, a sophomore from St. Joseph, started at receiver in the title game and had one catch for six yards against Montana, while Mikey Reynolds, a sophomore from Moorestown, had two receptions for seven yards in the championship game.
For the season, White had 17 receptions for 251 yards and two touchdowns, and Reynolds totaled 11 receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns.
Kenny Miles, a freshman wide receiver from Buena, also saw limited time in the title game; he appeared in 10 games this season.
Another true freshman, Eric Loper of Timber Creek, was a starting cornerback for Villanova.
Loper finished with 40 tackles, two interceptions, and a team-high 10 pass breakups this season.