Jake Schillinger powers Shawnee into South Jersey Group 4 football title game
The versatile senior has scored touchdowns as runner, receiver and returner and also leads South Jersey with nine interceptions.
Jake Schillinger has scored touchdowns as a receiver, runner and returner.
He has intercepted more passes than any other player in South Jersey.
The Shawnee High School athlete has surprised everyone with his spectacular senior season, including himself.
"When I came into the year, I thought I was a role player," Schillinger said. "I'm just getting a lot of opportunities. Things have been falling my way."
The 6-foot, 165-pound Schillinger has helped Shawnee (7-4) advance to the South Jersey Group 4 title game, scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday vs. Hammonton (5-6) at Rowan University.
"Jake has really stepped up his game," Shawnee coach Tim Gushue said. "He's taken a giant leap this season."
Schillinger didn't play as a sophomore. He was a steady contributor as a junior. He figured on the same role as a senior.
"Last year, I didn't get the ball much," Schillinger said. "We had a lot of good players. We have a lot of good players this year, too. I didn't think I would get the ball that much."
Schillinger's biggest asset might be his versatility. He has rushed 30 times for 156 yards and six touchdowns. He has caught 28 passes for 578 yards and five touchdowns. He also has returned a punt for a touchdown.
On defense, Schillinger has made 30 tackles and lifted nine interceptions, which Gushue believes to be a Shawnee single-season record.
"A couple of them just fell my way," Schiollinger said. "Bad passes. Coach said I was fielding punts."
Schillinger has been at his best in big games. He caught eight passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns vs. Williamstown. He had two interceptions vs. Camden Catholic. In Shawnee's 40-7 win over top-seeded Moorestown in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals, Schillinger ran eight times for 72 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass.
"He was spectacular" against Moorestown, according to Gushue.
The veteran coach believes Schillinger has taken full advantage of defenses that have shaded their coverage to try to limit Shawnee senior wide receiver Daevon Robinson, a North Carolina State recruit.
"Teams are focusing on No. 7 (Robinson), and that's freed Jake up a little," Gushue said. "It's given him some opportunities, and he's taken advantage of it."
Schillinger said Robinson as well as fellow seniors such as Ryan Parris and Colin Wetterau are the Renegades' top players.
"We have great guys on this team," Schillinger said. "7 (Robinson), he's going to N.C. State. Ryan Parris, he's a huge player for us.
"I didn't expect to see the ball that much. I thought I would be a role player, but this season has been special for me."
It's been a bit of an up-and-down season by Shawnee's high standards, as the Renegades have dropped close games to Cherokee, Williamstown and Camden Catholic and were outplayed by South Jersey Group 5 finalist Lenape on Thanksgiving Day.
But on Sunday night, the Renegades will have the chance to capture the program's seventh South Jersey title, and fifth since 2007.
"We've had a tough season, fought off some injuries, had a couple tough losses," Schillinger said. "But to finish with a championship, that would be something we'll never forget."
Schillinger said he learned the sport by "playing backyard football" with some of his classmates. He said he hopes to play in college but concedes there has been something special about his senior season for Shawnee.
"They asked me to step up, and it's been my year," Schillinger said. "I didn't expect it, but to have it happen senior year, my last year, it's something I'll remember forever."
South Jersey Group 4 championship game
No. 4 seed Shawnee (7-4) vs. No. 3 seed Hammonton (5-6), Sunday at 6 p.m. at Rowan University
Road to Rowan
Shawnee: Beat No. 5 Absegami 41-0 and No. 1 Moorestown 40-7.
Hammonton: Beat No. 3 Central 21-6 and seventh-seeded Highland 27-21 in overtime.
Shawnee: 6 (2014, 2013, 2004 and 2002 in South Jersey Group 4 and 2008 and 2007 in South Jersey Group 3)
Hammonton: 5 (2009 in South Jersey Group 3 and 1996, 1994, 1993 and 1985 in South Jersey Group 2.
Shawnee: Tim Gushue is 245-112-6 in his 35th season.
Hammonton: Jim Raso is 19-13 in his third season.
Shawnee players to watch
Senior QB Colin Wetterau: 128-for-210 passing for 1,946 yards and 16 TDs
Senior WR Daevon Robinson: 42 catches, 562 yards, 5 TDs)
Senior LB Ryan Parris: 58 tackles
Senior LB Dan Falzone: 112 tackles
Hammonton players to watch
Senior RB Dayquan Murray:3 TDs in win over Highland in semifinals
Senior TE/DE Anthony Fazio
Senior two-way lineman Dan Woelfe.
These teams met in the South Jersey Group 3 title game in 2008, with Shawnee winning 28-7.