Glassboro's Amari Sabb (3) defends Burlington City's Jayvyn Rasberry (6) in the football game played at Wilbur Watts Intermediate School in Burlington City, New Jersey on Thursday, August 31, 2023. The Bulldogs defeated Burlington City, 27-7. Collin Conway/D2 Sports Network
This upcoming weekend's highly anticipated action features a meeting between Lenape Regional High School District rivals, a pair of top-10 unbeatens battling for position in the West Jersey Football League United Division title race, and a handful of other WJFL divisional bouts with first place up for grabs.
Here's an inside look at nine of this weekend's top matchups with players to watch, and a complete schedule of games involving WJFL teams located throughout the traditional seven-county South Jersey region:
No. 5 Shawnee (3-0) at No. 6 Cherokee (2-1), Thursday, 6 pm
The Renegades rallied from a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to upend district rival Lenape, 27-23, to avoid an upset and improve their record to 3-0 last Friday. Quarterback Joe Papa finished 10-for-17 passing for 132 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns, and committed zero turnovers. Nick Rusinski added 60 yards on the ground as Shawnee racked up 265 rushing yards. Rusinski also reeled in three receptions for a team-high 46 yards and a touchdown. Liam Gilmore caught four passes for 44 yards and a score. Gilmore currently holds offers from New Hampshire, Monmouth, James Madison, Sacred Heart, Maine and Stony Brook.
The Chiefs were shutout for the first time since 2006 with a 3-0 loss to No. 4 St. Augustine in a WJFL American Division showdown last Friday. Murad Campfield rushed for 46 yards and Dylan Kolinsky added 36 on the ground. Quarterback Ryan Bender completed 12 out of 19 pass attempts for 97 yards and an interception. Tommy Pajic was Cherokee's leading receiver with six receptions for 69 yards. Louis Rhodes snared an interception on defense.
The Chiefs have won each of the last three meetings in the series including a 21-14 triumph last September. Campfield rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Cherokee accumulated 272 yards on the ground and limited the Renegades to 62 rushing yards.
Rusinski rushed for a 30-yard touchdown and was Shawnee's top offensive performer with six receptions for 68 yards. Papa added a one-yard rushing touchdown. Rusinski also intercepted a pass on defense. Gilmore, Eric Bill and Danny Scullion each tallied seven tackles.
The Renegades last win over Cherokee came in 2019.
The pick: Shawnee 21, Cherokee 14.
No. 9 Holy Spirit (3-0) at No. 12 Washington Township (2-1), Thursday, 6 pm
Emir Hicks exploded for 187 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Spartans throttled rival St. Joseph Academy, 42-8, last Friday. Jahcere Ward added 87 rushing yards and a touchdown, and Jack Burns added 17 yards and a score on the ground. Ty Costabile finished 4-for-8 passing for 100 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Matthew Abbott reeled in a touchdown catch and St. Joseph transfer Ty Mercado hauled in two receptions for a team-high 54 yards. Nick Medina led Spirit's defense with 7.5 tackles and a tackle for loss. Mykai Campbell and Taylor Cartwright each snared an interception. Cartwright also tallied four tackles and Jordan Bartlett forced a fumble.
After surrendering a touchdown in the first quarter, Washington Township responded with 38 unanswered points en route to a 52-23 win over Gloucester County rival Kingsway last Friday. It marked the first time the Minutemen defeated Kingsway in nine years. Giuliano Scavetta scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) and accumulated 137 rushing yards. Jyair Moore rushed for a 13-yard touchdown and Josh Franchi added a field goal. Jared Dzierzgowski completed seven out of 10 pass attempts for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Logan Perez reeled in three catches for a game-high 72 yards and a touchdown. Dashawn Long also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from Cole Aquino.
Dzierzgowski, Perez and Long each tallied an interception on defense. Perez returned his interception for an 89-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Andrew Osborn forced a fumble that was recovered by Caleb Palaganas. Jaylen Robinson charted a game-high 11 tackles and a tackle for loss. Chaz Melton added seven tackles and a tackle for loss.
Holy Spirit has won each of the last three meetings since 2018 including a 21-14 victory a season ago. Ward powered the Spartans with 111 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Medina hauled in six catches for a game-high 80 yards.
Scavetta led the Minutemen with 151 rushing yards and a touchdown. Perez racked up 16 tackles and Long added 10 tackles with an interception. Gabe Mosco contributed six tackles.
Thursday night's winner will grab a share of first place in the WJFL Continental Division.
Get your popcorn ready.
The pick: Washington Township 24, Holy Spirit 21.
Paul VI (2-1) at Seneca (2-0), Thursday, 7 pm
Paul VI earned its second straight victory with a 35-0 decision against Cherry Hill West. Dom Santiago finished 17-for-31 passing with 318 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Matt Morad rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown while Kyle Smith added 34 yards on the ground. Austin Bailey caught two passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. Tyree Roane racked up a game-high seven receptions for 72 yards and a score. Jamelle Brown (two receptions, 70 yards) and Elijah Wilson (three receptions, 20 yards) each caught a touchdown pass.
Seneca handed Triton its first loss of the 2023 campaign with a 40-0 triumph in Tabernacle last Friday. The Eagles improved their record to 2-0 and have outscored their opponents 87-6 this season. Freshman quarterback Anthony Tirico completed seven out of eight pass attempts for 167 yards and a score. All-State selection Zac Fearon racked up 102 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Carter Applegate added 45 rushing yards and Jamar Warthen scored a five-yard rushing touchdown. Jason Sheairs reeled in three receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown.
Fearon also rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns in Seneca's 47-6 triumph over Sterling. Warthen added 71 yards, a rushing score and an 18-yard touchdown reception, and Colin Walsh scored a 37-yard touchdown on the ground. Sheairs hauled in three catches for 47 yards.
The Tabernacle program defeated Paul VI, 23-7, in 2022. Fearon rushed for 74 yards, a touchdown and intercepted a pass on defense. Sheairs caught three passes from 2023 graduate Brayden Davis for 90 yards and a touchdown. Warthen racked up a game-high 11 tackles and Walsh charted four tackles with a tackle for loss. Kyle Stickel added four tackles, a tackle for loss and a sack.
Brown caught a 46-yard touchdown pass in the setback to Seneca last season. Moe Keshen led the Eagles defense with eight tackles. Mitchell Lando and Christian Martin added seven tackles each. Paul VI has won four out of the last five meetings against Seneca since 2012.
The pick: Seneca 27, Paul VI 14.
No. 1 Millville (2-1) at No. 4 St. Augustine (2-1), Friday, 6 pm
The top-ranked Thunderbolts scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 26-12 victory over Williamstown last Friday. Quarterback Jacob Zamot completed 13 out of 28 pass attempts for 197 yards and a touchdown. Zamot currently holds offers from Maine, Merrimack, Sacred Heart, Rhode Island and Delaware State.
Millville quarterback Jacob Zamot (5) drops back to pass against Irvington in the football game played at Gittone Stadium in Vineland, New Jersey on Saturday, September 2, 2023. The Thunderbolts defeated Irvington, 34-0. Lukas Guerrier/D2 Sports Network