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A Top 10 shakeup in South Jersey Week 9 HS football rankings

/ by Chris Melchiorre
Presented By Dunkin
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This late in the regular season, one might think we would have more answers than we currently have.

But, other than St. Augustine clearly being the top team in South Jersey, there are still a lot of unknowns about a lot of teams in the area entering the final games before the postseason.

The biggest question marks, of course, surround Holy Spirit.

Quite a few pundits pegged the Spartans as the area’s top team to start the season. But, after Holy Spirit lost this week for the third straight time (albeit to three very good teams), the question still lingers: Who is this team? 

We should get a better idea this weekend when Holy Spirit takes on St. Augustine. 

Of course, there’s a flip side to these questions, as well. Some teams continue to surprise us to the upside. Take Winslow, for example. Suddenly the Winslow offense looks like one of the best in the state. The unit is the only one to figure out the Cedar Creek defense this season and, Friday night, they put up 52 points in a win against Holy Spirit.  So, how good is this offense, really?

It’s looking more like the lingering questions in South Jersey  football will have to wait until the postseason to be settled. The good news: At this point, we don’t have to wait long for that. 

1. St. Augustine 7-1 (1)

The Hermits further solidified their case as South Jersey’s best team (not that the case wasn’t strong enough already) in a 21-7 win over Shawnee on Friday night. There have been times this year when the Hermits offense played the hero. This week, the defense looked spectacular in holding a talented and veteran offense to just one touchdown. The win also sealed the West Jersey Football League American Division for St. Augustine. 

 

2. Cedar Creek 9-0 (2)

Cedar Creek topped Camden, 27-8, on Friday night to cap its first undefeated regular season in school history. The defense, as usual, has was dominant in the win. Offensively, the usual names filled up the stat sheet: JoJo Bermudez had more than 150 yards receiving, and quarterback JC Landicini threw for three touchdowns. 

3. Millville 6-1 (3)

Millville won its third straight game in convincing fashion this weekend in a 51-14 win over Lenape. LeQuint Allen rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the win, putting him over 1,000 rushing yards for the season. In three games since a loss to St. Augustine, Millville is outscoring opponents 141-21. Millville happens to be in the same division – the West Jersey Football League American Division – as the Hermits, so a division title is not in play. But Millville has a real shot to earn its accolades in the playoffs. 

4. Winslow 6-2 (4)

Winslow bounced back from last week’s loss to Cedar Creek with a signature win over Holy Spirit on Friday night. The Eagles’ 52-21 win was decisive and proved yet again that their offense is for real. The unit is led by the tandem of receiver Trey Simmons and quarterback Hamas Duren. The two connected on a 68-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter. Duren finished with 354 yards and 4 touchdowns without throwing an interception. He has 28 touchdowns to 5 interceptions on the season. Duren will try to lead his team past another tough regular season test next week against visiting St. Joseph. 

5. Woodrow Wilson 4-2 (5) 

Coming off last week’s upset of Holy Spirit, Woodrow Wilson kept the momentum going on Saturday in a 54-12 win over Pleasantville. Quarterback Devin Kargman threw for four touchdowns in the win. And running back Naz’sir Olgesby scored three times, including two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter. 

6. Cherokee 5-2 (6)

Cherokee topped Kingsway, 28-7, on Friday night. The Chiefs have been firing on all cylinders since its upset of Shawnee on Oct. 8, but this one was closer than it looked. The game was tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter before a late surge by the Chiefs. Running back Brandon Boria had two touchdowns in the win and Michael McMenamin at a pick-6 in the fourth quarter for the Chiefs. 

7. St. Joseph 6-2 (8)

The Wildcats certainly earned their spot in these rankings this weekend, notching a 31-21 win over a very talented Washington Township. St. Joseph’s veteran leadership helped the team jump out to a 14-0 first quarter lead it never lost. Cohl Mercado got that scoring started on a 26-yard touchdown reception from Ja’son Prevard. The senior quarterback finished 10 of 19 passing for 237 yards and four touchdowns. Mercado finished with 83 yards rushing and 69 yards receiving while receiver Jahmeer Cartagena notched 178 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

 

8. Shawnee 4-3 (9)

The Renegades’ 21-7 loss to St. Augustine this weekend was their second straight loss following an upset at the hands of Cherokee on Oct. 8. But all is not lost for the Renegades. Shawnee’s two losses were to two of the best teams in the state, and the Renegades are still averaging more than 30 points per game with one more game left – against Northern Burlington – before the postseason.  

9. Holy Spirit 3-4 (7)

A frustrating season went from bad to worse on Friday night for Holy Spirit. The Spartans dropped their third straight game in a 52-21 loss to a surging Winslow. Some of Holy Spirits’ issues could, in fact, be chalked up to timing. The Spartans caught Winslow and Cedar Creek in the middle of scorching hot streaks. They also play St. Augustine next week, a team that, right now, is clearly the area’s top team. Still, the Spartans are capable of playing with anyone. Their sky-high potential – some pegged them as the top team in South Jersey in the preseason – may still come together in the playoffs. 

10. Delsea 8-0 (10)

It almost seems too easy for Delsea. The trend of opponents not being able to compete with Delsea continued this weekend. The Crusaders topped Mainland 42-14 on Friday night. Actually, Mainland was the first opponent to score in double digits on Delsea since Sept. 17. Is that considered a sign of regression by Delsea standards? Jaedyn Steward rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns for the Crusaders 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.