Smothering defenses carried 2 unbeatens
Just two football teams finished unbeaten in South Jersey this season, and both had dominating defenses. Timber Creek went 12-0 and won the South Jersey Group 3 title behind a defense led by senior linebacker Quanzell Lambert, one of the state's most highly recruited players, and junior tackle Greg Webb.
Just two football teams finished unbeaten in South Jersey this season, and both had dominating defenses.
Timber Creek went 12-0 and won the South Jersey Group 3 title behind a defense led by senior linebacker Quanzell Lambert, one of the state's most highly recruited players, and junior tackle Greg Webb.
Lambert and Webb, who led a Timber Creek defense that generated five takeaways in the sectional final against Hammonton, headline The Inquirer's All-South Jersey first team on defense.
Lambert, who has narrowed his college choices to Alabama, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, and Northwestern, led Timber Creek with 94 tackles, despite missing nearly three full games. He had four sacks and four forced fumbles.
Webb had 80 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss. He had 10 sacks, six forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries.
St. Joseph was the other unbeaten team. The Wildcats went 10-0 and won the Non-Public 1 title with a defense sparked by senior end Max Valles and senior linebacker Kaiwan Lewis, who has committed to South Carolina.
St. Joseph allowed just 19 points this season. The Wildcats surrendered one rushing touchdown, one passing touchdown, and one field goal.
St. Augustine senior Austin Johnson, who has committed to Penn State, and Triton senior Brian Keller, who had 54 tackles and nine sacks, round out the defensive front.
The rest of the linebacking corps features Camden Catholic junior Jarred Alwan, who along with Webb likely will be one of the state's most highly recruited players in 2012, and Holy Spirit senior Dan Mastromatteo, who has committed to North Carolina.
Alwan had 86 tackles and two interceptions for Camden Catholic (10-1). Mastromatteo, who battled a hamstring injury early in the season, had 99 tackles and six sacks for Holy Spirit (8-3), which won the Non-Public 2 state title.
Cinnaminson senior Chris Kirby leads the secondary. Kirby had seven interceptions and also caught 46 passes for the Pirates (8-3), who captured a share of the West Jersey Patriot title.
Senior Bobby Barbieri led Hammonton to the Cape National crown as well as a berth in the South Jersey Group 3 title game. Barbieri had five interceptions and also led Blue Devils receivers with six touchdown catches.
Junior Zaire Williams led Cherokee (7-3) in interceptions with two, returning one for a touchdown, and was a top tackler from his cornerback position. He also rushed for 1,621 yards and 28 touchdowns.
Bishop Eustace linebacker Nick Batistini is the utility player. Batistini led one of South Jersey's scrappiest defenses with 90 tackles and also recovered four fumbles.
Camden Catholic senior Pete Galiano averaged 33.5 yards on punts but was among the best in South Jersey in hang time, according to coach Gil Brooks. Galiano, who also played quarterback and defensive back, led the Irish to the West Jersey Constitution title, passing for 881 yards and 10 touchdowns and running for 487 yards.