Offseason work paying off for Paul VI football team

In Friday's 39-0 rout, Williamstown's John Chamberlin plunged into the end zone over Shawnee's Robby DiOrio. Anthony DiOrio (left) and Curtis Corley watch. MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff
In Friday's 39-0 rout, Williamstown's John Chamberlin plunged into the end zone over Shawnee's Robby DiOrio. Anthony DiOrio (left) and Curtis Corley watch. MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff (Anthony DiOrio (left) and Curtis Corley watch. MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Staff)
Posted: September 18, 2012

It's not 2011 anymore for Paul VI.

The Eagles have matched last season's win total after just two weeks, outscoring opponents by 79-12 and establishing themselves as dark-horse contenders in the loaded West Jersey Football League's Constitution Division.

"I wouldn't say last year was a wake-up call, but it was a tough situation," said Paul VI coach John Doherty, whose team had gone 32-9 from 2007 to '10. "Our young guys saw what it was like. There was a lot of negativity.

"Our guys bonded in the offseason, worked hard, and vowed to do their best not to let it happen again."

Paul VI (2-0) has been led by all-purpose senior Zach Grant, a Temple recruit as a wide receiver. Grant has scored touchdowns as a receiver, runner, and return man.

The Eagles also have gotten some good work from senior running back Dior Hightower, junior running back Faheem Boyd; senior quarterback Alec Vignola; and versatile sophomore Sterling Sheffield, who has played wide receiver, tight end, defensive end, and linebacker, and also taken snaps at quarterback.

"We had a great offseason," said Doherty, whose team will travel to 1-1 Seneca for a WJFL Constitution Division game on Friday. "It's carrying over so far."

More Thunder from Bolts. Millville is off to a 2-0 start despite losing several top players from last year's 11-1 team.

The Thunderbolts have been led by senior quarterback Rashon Sorrell and sophomore running back Rob Ennis, as well as two-way junior lineman Antoine White.

Sorrell ran for one touchdown and passed for another, and Ennis ran for 188 yards and two scores in a 35-7 victory over Mainland on Friday night.

"We don't have a lot of experience, but we have a lot of talent," Millville coach Jason Durham said. "The guys have worked really hard to get themselves prepared."

Durham said the 6-foot-3, 255-pound White, who has a scholarship offer from Rutgers, has been the key to the Thunderbolts' defense.

"He's so explosive, he's tough to keep out of the opposing backfield," Durham said.

The 5-9, 155-pound Ennis has 318 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games as Millville's starting tailback.

"He has big-time speed," said Durham, whose team hosts No. 1 St. Joseph in a Cape Atlantic American Division game Friday night.

Fast start for Bears. Delran is 2-0 with victories over crosstown rival Holy Cross and recent nemesis Willingboro.

The Bears rallied for a 20-14 victory over Willingboro on Friday night as senior defensive back Khalil Thomas scored two touchdowns, including a 25-yard interception return that tied the score at 14 in the third quarter.

"The biggest thing is we've been very good on the defensive side," Delran coach Pete Miles said. "We're flying around to the ball."

Miles said the Bears also are showing some "bounce" in the face of adversity, a sure sign of strong senior leadership.

Delran has been led by two-way senior standouts such as Thomas as well as Justin McFadden, Zane Campbell, and Kody Johnston, among others.

Miles thought his team's first two games would set the stage for the rest of the season. Now the Bears are in position to compete for the WJFL Liberty Division title and a Central Jersey Group 2 playoff berth.

"Our seniors are starting to feel it, get that sense of urgency," Miles said. "It's lining up to be a good season for us if we can keep it going."

Lawry's big night. Kingsway junior Ray Lawry has taken over the South Jersey rushing lead with 506 yards in just two games.

Lawry went for 293 on 12 carries and scored on runs of 80, 8, 86, and 57 yards in a 39-0 victory over Deptford on Friday night. The 5-9, 190-pound speedster ran for 213 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Shawnee on opening night.

Shawnee coach Tim Gushue called Lawry "an outstanding running back. He's explosive and physical."

Moorestown's big win. The Quakers improved to 2-0 with a 31-28 victory over Delsea, which had been No. 6 in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings.

Moorestown coach Russ Horton had high praise for junior Tyreek Robinson, who ran for one touchdown and passed for another, as well as senior Anthony Bonett, who broke loose for an 88-yard TD run after Delsea closed within 17-14 late in the third quarter.

Senior two-way lineman Anthony Sebastiani was a key to the Quakers' sturdy play in the trenches.

"The kids really stepped up to the challenge," said Horton, whose seventh-ranked team visits No. 2 Camden Catholic in a pivotal WJFL Constitution Division game on Friday.

Hermit Power. St. Augustine Prep is 2-0 under new coach Mark Reardon and could get to 6-0 heading into an Oct. 27 game at No. 1 St. Joseph.

The Hermits have been led by senior running back Calvin Cass, who has 402 yards and six touchdowns on 50 carries.

This and that. Haddonfield got into the win column with a 36-0 victory over Lindenwold on Friday as senior running back Adam Augugliaro ran for 106 yards on 12 carries and sophomore Mike Alberto ran for 53 yards on seven carries and also registered six tackles. . . . Wildwood is 2-0. The Warriors won a total of three games from 2007 to '11. Senior running back Wesley Hills has gained 356 yards on 40 carries. . . . Senior running back Rashar Gray has 359 yards on 27 carries for Woodstown, which is 2-0 and has outscored its opponents by 80-0.

Khalil Howard's fourth-quarter touchdown run lifted Sterling to a 13-10 victory over Paulsboro on Friday night, the Silver Knights' first win over the Red Raiders since 2004. Sterling is 2-0 for the first time since 2003. . . . Bishop Eustace (2-0) has gotten a big lift from senior Conner Bor, who has run for two touchdowns, passed for another, gone 5 for 5 in kicking extra points, and made his only field-goal attempt. Bor also kicks off, punts, and plays defensive back.

Gloucester Catholic will honor its 9-0 team from 1971, the program's last undefeated team, during a reception before the Rams' Oct. 20 game against Woodstown. . . . Washington Township will host its first "Pink Game," on Sept. 28 against Pennsauken. The Minutemen will wear pink T-shirts under their uniforms and sport pink shoelaces in support of breast cancer research.


Contact Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223 or panastasia@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports

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