There was a bit of a shakeup in the South Jersey rankings this weekend.
Cedar Creek’s win over Holy Spirit on Friday night is certainly a contender for upset of the year. The Pirates were unranked by most pundits entering this season. Many had Holy Spirit in the area’s No. 1 spot. But it wasn’t just the win that was stunning. It was the final score. 7-6. The Pirates yielded just one score against a truly dynamic offense.
How good is this Cedar Creek defense? Really, how good? The unit has allowed just 14 points this season. It’s almost hard to understand what is really going on with a Pirates team that went 3-5 in last year’s COVID-shortened season. But regardless of how they’re doing it, the Pirates have been fun to watch.
The win vaulted the Cedar Creek into a well-earned spot in top-5 of these rankings. Actually, there were changes up and down the rankings this week – with the exception of St. Augustine. The Hermits rocked Lenape on Friday night. They’ve held the top spot in our top-10 since the beginning.
But guess who they play this weekend? They play a hungry Holy Spirit team coming off a loss to Cedar Creek. Thank you football gods.
1. St. Augustine 5-1 (1)
It was a rare week that the Hermits were not playing one of the area’s highest ranked teams. The Hermits cruised past a rebuilding Lenape team by a score of 36-0. Running back Kyle Udoh once again put up big numbers, rushing for 119 yards on 13 carries. The gauntlet continues next week St. Augustine takes on Holy Spirit in a game that will could decide this year’s No. 1 team in South Jersey.
2. Shawnee 4-1 (4)
Shawnee topped 40 points for the third straight game this week in a 42-13 win over Williamstown. The Renegades have yet to score less than 38 points in a game (and that 38 was scored in a 38-0 win over Kingsway in Week 1). Matt Welsey continued to shine for Shawnee. The senior quarterback completed 11 of 13 passes for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns – 178 of those yards were to Avery Cohen, who had touchdown receptions of 64 and 74 yards in the game.
3. Cedar Creek 5-0 (6)
This Cedar Creek defense needs to be seen to be understood. It’s almost not a stretch at this point to say the unit’s been historically good. Defense won the game again this weekend for the Pirates against one of the state’s best offenses, as Cedar Creek stunned Holy Spirit – which entered the game ranked No. 2 in South Jersey – in 7-6 thriller. Justin Castillo scored his team’s only touchdown on a 35-yard screen pass in the first quarter. The defense was dominant throughout and forced two turnovers in the win. The Pirates have allowed just 14 points this season and have shutout four of its six opponents.
4. Holy Spirit 3-2 (2)
The Spartans’ loss to Cedar Creek on Friday night was their first in-state loss since falling to St. Joseph on Nov. 2, 2019. As good as Cedar Creek’s defense was on Friday night, the knockout blow in this one was the game’s final drive – Cedar Creek maintained possession for more than seven minutes to run out the clock behind the hard running of Ja’Quan Howard. Things won’t get easier for Holy Spirit next week when it takes on visiting St. Augustine.
5. Millville 3-1 (3)
Millville had an extra week to study tape after its loss to St. Augustine on Sept. 24. The Thunderbolts are back in action this week against Hammonton.
6. St. Joseph 4-2 (5)
The Wildcats beat Rancocas Valley 52-7 this week and appear to be back in rhythm after a stretch in which it lost 2 of 3 games – granted to two of the area’s best teams in Holy Spirit and St. Augustine. Jahmeer Cartagena caught two touchdowns in the win over RV.
7. Winslow 5-1 (7)
Winslow has already won twice this year thanks to late-game heroics. That wasn’t needed this week in a 53-12 win over Pleasantville. Hamas Duren threw for six touchdowns in the game, including a 54-yard strike to Trey Simmons in the first quarter to get the route started.
8. Delsea 5-0 (NR)
Delsea has been one of South Jersey’s most consistent teams on both sides of the ball this year, and that continued Friday night in a 31-7 win over Hammonton. Luke Maxwell rushed for 143 yards and two touchdown and Jaedyn Stewart rushed for 91 yards and one touchdown in the win.
9. Woodrow Wilson 2-2 (9)
Woodrow Wilson had a buy this week but will be back in action on Oct. 9 against Timber Creek.
10. Burlington Township 3-1 (NR)
After an early loss to Shawnee, Burlington Township has smoked its previous two opponents by a combined score of 76-35. This week, the Falcons handed Pennsauken its first loss of the season in a 33-21 decision. Quarterback Gage Miller continues to impress, and Anthony Johnson had four catches for 148 yards in the win, including a 79-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter. 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.