Welcome to high school football in 2021: COVID-19 postponed the game we’ve all been waiting for.
Those clamoring to see St. Augustine play Holy Spirit will now have to wait until Oct. 29. The game that should have highlighted this week’s South Jersey schedule was pushed back when some lingering COVID concerns emerged on the Hermits side.
But that just meant there was an opening for Game of the Week in the area. Enter the Cherokee Chiefs.
Cherokee stunned rival Shawnee in grand fashion on Friday night. It wasn’t just the final score – which, at 56-21 was, in fact, surprisingly lopsided – it was the performances all over the field. There were special teams heroics, big defensive stops against a veteran Shawnee offense. And then there was Brandon “Bam” Boira’s stat line. His 345 rushing yards look like a misprint. He’s just shy of 900 rushing yards through six games.
And this is where we’re at in the season: Truly historic campaigns are starting to emerge. Look at Boira. Look at the Cedar Creek defense. Certain teams and players are making history. Don’t miss your chance to take it all in.
1. St. Augustine 5-1 (1)
We’ll have to wait to watch one of the most anticipated games of the regular season as COVID concerns forced the postponement of St. Augustine vs. Millville until Fri. Oct. 29.
2. Cedar Creek 7-0 (3)
There was no let down for South Jersey’s hottest football team a week after a major upset of Holy Spirit. The Pirates topped Oakcrest 25-7 on Saturday afternoon, continuing an incredible stretch by the Pirates’ defense. No team has scored more than once in a game against Cedar Creek. Ja’Quan Howard rushed for more than 100 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. He’s also been one of the teams leaders on defense – he had 12 tackles last week against Holy Spirit. But this Cedar Creek defense has had stars emerge all over the field. Guys like CJ Resto, Kevin Dougherty, Elijah Smalls, Elijah Usher, JoJo Bermudez and Malik Moore-Summers have all played a big part in a historic effort for Cedar Creek.
3. Holy Spirit 3-2 (4)
The Spartans’ can’t be happy about having its game with St. Augustine postponed immediately after a loss to Cedar Creek. But this is high school football in 2021. Holy Sprit will look to bounce back next week against Woodrow Wilson.
4. Millville 4-1 (5)
Millville was starting to feel like the forgotten team. The Thunderbolts had played just one game – a loss to St. Augustine – since Sept. 10. But Friday night’s 50-0 win over Hammonton was a reminder of why there was so much buzz surrounding this team in the preseason. LeQuint Allen rushed for 221 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Quarterback Nate Robbins also threw for three touchdowns.
5. St. Joseph 5-2 (6)
The Wildcats trounced Notre Dame on Friday night by a score of 51-7. It’s the third straight lopsided victory for St. Joseph. The team is outscoring opponents 148-16 in that stretch. Cohl Mercado had touchdown receptions of 41 and 54 yards on Friday night – continuing his strong chemistry with quarterback Ja’son Prevard.
6. Cherokee 4-2 (NR)
Cherokee entered this season as one of those young but highly talented team with potential. This week, the Chiefs reached some of that potential thanks largely to a monster performance running Brandon “Bam” Boira. He registered 345 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on 24 carries in the Cheifs 56-21 upset of Shawnee. It was the performance of a lifetime. But, let’s not forget, Boira also rushed for 230 yards and four touchdowns last week. An upset of one of its biggest rivals is a season-defining type of win for a Cherokee team that will look to keep it rolling next week against Rancocas Valley.
7. Shawnee 4-2 (2)
This was not the game a veteran Shawnee team was hoping to play. The Renegades fell 56-21 to rival Cherokee on Friday night. The night didn’t start off well for Shawnee: The Renegades allowed Cherokee to turn a blocked punt into a touchdown early in the first quarter and couldn’t recover from there. Quarterback Matt Welsey did throw for more than 300 yards in the win. Brighter days should be ahead for Shawnee.
8. Winslow 5-1 (7)
The theatrics were only hold this week as Winslow topped Pleasantville 53-12, a rare “non-nail-biter” for Winslow. With the final score not in question for most of the game, the spotlight was solely on Winslow’s talent. Quarterback Hamas Duren threw for 243 yards and six touchdowns. Cam Miller and James Wilson both caught two touchdowns in the win.
9. Delsea 6-0 (8)
Delsea kept rolling this weekend in a 35-7 win over Cherry Hill West. This was the third straight game that Delsea held its opponent to just seven points. The team hasn’t scored less than 30 points this season and has been over 40 in four of its six contests.
10. Woodrow Wilson 2-2 (9)
Coming off a buy, the Tigers looked strong in a 28-16 win over Timber Creek. Devin Kargman threw for 200 yards and a touchdown. He has nine touchdowns to two interceptions this season. Running back Naz’sir Oglesby also rushed for more than 100 yards for the third time this season in the win.
For any comments or questions about these rankings – or if you have an area high school sports story you think needs to be told, contact Chris Melchiorre at CMelchiorre11@yahoo.com.