Clearview sitting atop division

Posted: September 23, 2012

In a division with perennial power Shawnee, defending Group 4 sectional champion Pennsauken and solid programs such as Kingsway and Triton, Clearview can find itself in the shadows.

But there's somewhere else the Pioneers find themselves these days: In a tie for first place.

"I think it's going to be one of those kinds of years," said Clearview coach Mark Deal, whose team is 2-1 overall and 2-0 in the West Jersey National Division after Friday night's 27-14 victory over 2011 South Jersey Group 4 champion Pennsauken. "Anybody can beat anybody."

Clearview won just two games in 2011 and the Pioneers suffered a blow before the season when senior running back/linebacker Connor Donohue, who rushed for 1,100 yards as a junior, decided not to come out for the team to focus on wrestling.

But the Pioneers have gotten great work from senior quarterback Mitch Harbaugh, who ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over Pennsauken.

"He's our Mr. Everything," Deal said of Harbaugh. "He's our quarterback and there's so much on him because we run the option. He's a defensive back and he's got a couple of interceptions. He kicks, he punts, he returns punts."

Clearview also has gotten good play from junior George Kerasinis, who had two interceptions and scored a touchdown against Pennsauken, as well as two-way senior lineman Austin Deinarowicz, Adam DeCecco and Luke Eisenhart, among others.

Clearview is tied with Shawnee atop the WJFL National as both teams have 2-0 marks. Kingsway and Triton are a game back at 1-1.

"We're in pretty good shape," said Deal, whose team hosts Shawnee on Oct. 5. "These kids have worked hard to get themselves bigger, stronger, faster. But we know we've still got a lot of work to do."

Better late than never. Washington Township coach Mark Wechter knew his offense would find its stride. The Minutemen finally clicked in a 32-14 victory over Lenape on Friday night.

Washington Township (2-1) has scored eight points, total, in its first two games - and two of those points were by the defense on a safety.

"Our offense finally was smiling," Wechter said of Friday night's performance.

The Minutemen got a big game from senior quarterback Tom Hildebrand, who passed for two touchdowns. Junior Andrew O'Neill also made another big play with a 9-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

"Tom had such a great year last year that I think he came in this year and put a lot of pressure on himself," Wechter said. "He just needed to relax a little. The whole offense just needed to relax a little.

"Once they got in the zone, you could see them smile. It was like it clicked."

The victory kept Washington Township in the thick of the WJFL American race and improved the Minutemen's position as team begin to jostle for playoff positions.

"We made a lot of mistakes on our first two games," Wechter said. "If we continue to play the way we've been playing and limit our mistakes, we could be a pretty good football team."

Tartan Power. Highland improved to 2-1 with its second victory in a row, a 19-10 triumph over Schalick. The Tartans have already doubled their win total from 2011 and 2010 as they went a combined 1-19 in those seasons.

"The kids are starting to believe," Highland coach Craig Stinson said. "They are starting to get a little confidence."

Highland has gotten a big boost from running backs Fred Morrison and DeVante Parker, among others. Morrison ran for three touchdowns in a 35-6 victory over Woodrow Wilson in Week 2 and clinched Friday night's victory with a 64-yard scoring run.

Parker had a touchdown in each of the Tartans' last two games.

"The kids are starting to understand what it takes to win, not just in terms of execution but also from a mental standpoint," Stinson said. "We're in a different kind of position right now. It's a good problem to have, trying to bring them down to earth a little instead of trying to build them up."

Surprise, surprise. Before the season, Moorestown coach Russ Horton looked at the Quakers' schedule and figured his team might be 2-3 after its first five games.

"And that was with Drew," Horton said of senior quarterback/defensive back/punter Drew Pederson, who suffered a broken ankle in August.

Now the Quakers are 3-0 with victories over then-No. 6 Delsea and then-No. 2 Camden Catholic in the last two weeks. Pederson's replacement at quarterback, junior Tyreek Robinson, has led the way.

"To be 3-0 at this point, it's icing on the cake," said Horton, whose team will face Cherry Hill East this week before squaring off with Timber Creek on Oct. 5.

Surging Hermits. St. Augustine Prep is 3-0 and has outscored its opponents by 132-21. The Hermits have been led by senior running back Calvin Cass, who scored six touchdowns in a 48-6 victory over Vineland on Friday. Cass leads South Jersey with 13 touchdowns.

"We're still making a lot of mistakes but the kids are playing hard," St. Augustine first-year coach Mark Reardon said. St. Augustine has been running a no-huddle offense, behind senior quarterback Alex Hughes, who has passed for 437 yards and three touchdowns.

"He has the makeup you need to play the position," Reardon said of Hughes. "Nothing phases the kid."

The Hermits defense has been led by linebackers Tim Kennelly and Cory Pietrzyk and cornerback R.J. D'Amico. Junior Mike McGrath, a 6-5, 275-pound athlete who could be a top recruit in the class of 2014, leads the offensive line.

The Hermits have been going with a two-platoon system, hoping to play at a fast pace and wear down opponents. St. Augustine has been making hay in the revamped Cape-Atlantic National Division, but Reardon knows his team remains a work in progress.

"The mistakes we're making are going to hurt us later in the year if we don't start to eliminate them," Reardon said.

This and that

Maple Shade is 3-0 and averaging 35.3 points behind senior running back Tyler Nicolo and senior quarterback Steve Strobel. . . . Gloucester is 3-0 and the Lions are 8-1 in their last nine games. . . . West Deptford (3-0) has won 12 in a row. The Eagles are 51-7 in their last 58 games.


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

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