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South Jersey football notes: Highland's milestone win

A first-round playoff victory isn't a big deal for some teams. It is for Highland. "We talked about it before the season," Highland coach Brian Leary said. "These kids, they were aware of the situation."

A first-round playoff victory isn't a big deal for some teams.

It is for Highland.

"We talked about it before the season," Highland coach Brian Leary said. "These kids, they were aware of the situation."

Highland's imposing 30-8 victory over Cherry Hill West in the South Jersey Group 4 tournament on Friday night was noteworthy for a lot of reasons.

One, it made the Tartans (8-1) the program's first eight-win team.

Two, it avenged a 28-8 loss to the Lions in Week 2.

Three, it marked the first playoff victory in Highland history.

"I couldn't be prouder of these kids," said Leary, who has energized the Highland program in his second season. "They've bought into what we're tried to do here. It's all their hard work."

Leary said Highland played "our best game of the season" against Cherry Hill West.

Highland controlled the football and the clock with its ground game as junior DaeJuan Sanders ran for 153 yards and senior Orlando Council scored two rushing touchdowns.

Senior Joe Tripoli led the defense with two sacks.

"We just played strong football," Leary said.

Highland has a chance to earn outright possession of the WJFL Royal Division title with a victory over school-district rival Triton on Thanksgiving. That would be another program first.

Before that, fourth-seeded Highland will visit top-seeded Lenape (9-0) in Frdiay's South Jersey Group 4 sectional semifinals.

"That's a great program," Leary said of Lenape. "But I'm not putting anything past our kids."

Booker ties record. Pennsauken senior running back Martin Booker Jr. tied the South Jersey record for touchdowns in a game with eight in the Indians' 69-56 loss to Freehold Boro in a Central Jersey Group 4 playoff game on Saturday.

Freehold Boro junior Ashante Worthy also scored eight touchdowns in the wild game.

"I've never seen anything like it," Pennsauken coach Clint Tabb said. "If you would have told me we would score 56 points, I would have bet my house we would win."

Booker carried the football 40 times for 376 yards. He tied the South Jersey record for touchdowns in a game set by Florence's Roger Morton in 1950 and tied by Wildwood's Wesley Hills in 2012.

Since recovering from an ankle injury, Booker has scored 18 touchdowns in the last five games. A track star, Booker has begun to draw recruiting interest from football programs, with Monmouth University attending a Pennsauken practice last week, according to Tabb.

"People wanted to see if he was a football player, well, they're seeing that," Tabb said of Booker. "He wouldn't be stopped."

Worthy set a Shore Conference record with 465 rushing yards in what is believed to be the highest scoring playoff game in New Jersey history.

"We couldn't tackle him," Tabb said. "We just couldn't make a stop."

Site uncertain. Shawnee officials have reached out to the NJSIAA in hopes of having Friday's South Jersey Group 4 semifinal game against Timber Creek moved to Medford.

The NJSIAA on Wednesday admitted a "mistake" in seeding the tournament and that Shawnee should have been the No. 2 seed and Timber Creek, the No. 3.

Shawnee coach Tim Gushue and athletic director Rich Dodd said after Friday's 35-34 win over Clearview that school district officials would ask the NJSIAA to re-seed the tournament, which would make Friday's sectional semifinal a Renegades' home game.

NJSIAA assistant director Jack DuBois, who oversees football, did not return telephone calls over the weekend.

Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson said he "rather play home" in the rematch of rivals who will meet for the fifth consecutive season in the playoffs, with each team winning two of the previous four games.

WJFL president Bud Kowal, the athletic director at Ewing, said he also reached out to DuBois on Saturday because he felt the NJSIAA had been "unfair" to Shawnee and that the seeding mistake was a "correctable error."

Red-hot Red Devils. Rancocas Valley has won four in a row since a 17-13 loss to Lenape on Oct. 7, averaging 36 points in that span.

Rancocas Valley opened the South Jersey Group 5 tournament with a 43-6 win over Southern on Friday night. The second-seeded Red Devils host third-seeded Millville on this Friday's sectional semifinals.

"We still have some things we need to clean up," Rancocas Valley coach Dan Haussman said. "But the kids' effort has been there."

Haussman said the Red Devils have gotten a big boost from the return of sophomore quarterback Bruce Mangene, who missed two games including the Lenape loss with a knee injury.

"He gives us another dimension," Haussman said. "We don't throw it a lot but we throw it enough to keep defenses honest. They can't stack the box on us."

Mangene has 13 touchdown passes, six to senior running back Rob Hawkins.

Strong finish. Overbrook senior running back Marques DeShields, a Monmouth recruit, has scored 11 touchdowns in the last three games.

DeShields carried the football 23 times for 303 yards and six touchdowns in a 46-20 win over Manchester Township in a regional crossover game on Saturday.

DeShields has 1,151 yards and 15 touchdowns with one game to play on Thanksgiving vs. Lindenwold.

DeShields is the first Overbrook runner with back-to-back, 1,000-yard seasons since future Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne in 1994-95.

This and that. Kingsway is 3-1 after an 0-5 start in its first season under coach Mark Hendricks. Junior quarterback Joel Scerbo has led the way. ... Lenape (9-0) has allowed just eight touchdowns this season.

Millville (8-1) is averaging 38.5 points in a six-game winning streak behind junior all-purpose Clayton Scott. ... Cherokee (5-4) has lost to four teams with a combined record of 34-2. ... Delsea (6-4) is 20-1 in state tournament games since 2008.

With an 11-6 win over Glassboro in a regional crossover on Saturday, Gloucester Catholic improved its record to 5-4. The Rams won a total of five games in the previous four seasons. ... St. Joseph (7-3) has won 16 playoff games in a row. ... Salem (7-2) is averaging 42.5 points in a six-game winning streak.