Football playoff primer: Cherokee poised for success

Eastern quarterback Tom Flacco (14) is pressured by Cherokee's Troy Domenick in an Oct. 25 game. Cherokee won that game, 28-21. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Eastern quarterback Tom Flacco (14) is pressured by Cherokee's Troy Domenick in an Oct. 25 game. Cherokee won that game, 28-21. RON CORTES / Staff Photographer
Posted: November 12, 2013

Here's a primer on the state football playoffs, which begin this weekend:

South Jersey Group 5

Field: 1. Eastern. 2. Cherokee. 3. Jackson. 4. Millville. 5. Williamstown. 6. Rancocas Valley. 7. Washington Twp. 8. Atlantic City.

Defending champion: Williamstown.

Dark horse: Millville. The Thunderbolts have explosive speed in juniors Ryquell Armstead and Rob Ennis, and a top lineman in Penn State recruit Antoine White. Their only two losses were to Holy Spirit and St. Joseph, the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in The Inquirer Top 25.

Player to watch: Eastern senior quarterback Tom Flacco. He played the best football of his career last November.

Final prediction: Cherokee over Eastern. The Chiefs beat the Vikings, 28-21, on Oct. 25 and are playing with supreme confidence.

South Jersey Group 4

Field: 1. Timber Creek. 2. Toms River South. 3. Hammonton. 4. Kingsway. 5. Lacey. 6. Shawnee. 7. Moorestown. 8. Cherry Hill West.

Defendingchampion: Timber Creek.

Dark horse: Kingsway. The Dragons hit their stride in a 41-22 win over Williamstown Friday and will enter the tournament with a ton of momentum.

Player to watch: Timber Creek senior quarterback Dan Williams. He led the Chargers to the title last season.

Final prediction: Timber Creek over Toms River South. The Chargers have a knack for playing their best football at this time of the season.

South Jersey Group 3

Field: 1. Manasquan. 2. Northern Burlington. 3. Barnegat. 4. Delsea. 5. Central. 6. Pemberton. 7. Highland. 8. Wall.

Defending champion: Delsea.

Dark horse: Northern Burlington. The Greyhounds have wins over Burlington Township and Rancocas Valley and feature an explosive back in senior Kenyatta Greene.

Player to watch: Delsea senior running back Isaiah Spencer. He has 10 touchdowns in the last three games.

Final prediction: Delsea over Northern Burlington. The Crusaders have won five in a row by a combined score of 202-14.

South Jersey Group 2

Field: 1. Camden. 2. Woodstown. 3. Cinnaminson. 4. West Deptford. 5. Haddonfield. 6. Bridgeton. 7. Sterling. 8. Cedar Creek.

Defending champion: West Deptford.

Dark horse: Haddonfield. The Bulldogs have a loaded junior class, and senior quarterback Mike McLaughlin is playing the best football of his career.

Player to watch: Camden junior quarterback Khalil Williams. He has 22 touchdown passes and also is a dangerous runner.

Final prediction: West Deptford over Woodstown. Senior fullback Gerald Owens has scored eight touchdowns in two championship games at Rowan.

South Jersey Group 1

Field: 1. Pennsville. 2. Penns Grove. 3. Schalick. 4. Paulsboro. 5. Glassboro. 6. Salem. 7. Woodbury. 8. Gloucester.

Defending champion: Penns Grove.

Dark horse: Paulsboro. The Red Raiders play solid defense and have a top running back in junior De'Shaun Burgess.

Player to watch: Pennsville senior quarterback Dylan Cummings. He is South Jersey's all-time leader in career passing yards and all-purpose yards.

Final prediction: Pennsville over Penns Grove. The Eagles and Red Devils will play Thanksgiving eve and could meet again 10 days later.

Central Jersey Group 2

Field: 1. Rumson. 2. Weequahic. 3. Delran. 4. Rahway. 5. Spotswood. 6. Lakewood. 7. Delaware Valley. 8. Bordentown.

Defending champion: Carteret.

Dark horse: Delran. The Bears have won seven in a row.

Players to watch: Delran senior backs Mark Jukic and German Mendoza. They form an inside-outside combination.

Final prediction: Weequahic over Rumson.

Central Jersey Group 1

Field: 1. Shore. 2. South Hunterdon. 3. Pt. Pleasant Beach. 4. South River. 5. Asbury Park. 6. Florence. 7. Burlington City. 8. Palmyra.

Defending champion: Florence.

Dark horse: Florence.

Player to watch: Burlington City junior quarterback Ryan Daniels. He's a run-pass threat.

Final prediction: Shore over South Hunterdon.

Non-Public Group 4

Field: 1. Paramus Catholic. 2. St. Peter's. 3. St. Joe Metuchen. 4. Don Bosco. 5. Seton Hall. 6. St. Augustine. 7. Paul VI. 8. Notre Dame.

Defending champion: Paramus Catholic.

Dark horse: Don Bosco.

Player to watch: St. Augustine senior wide receiver Austin Francisco. He has 10 touchdown catches.

Final prediction: Paramus Catholic over St. Peter's.

Non-Public Group 2

Field: 1. Holy Spirit. 2. DePaul. 3. Holy Cross. 4. Camden Catholic. 5. Bishop Eustace. 6. Hudson Catholic, 7. Gloucester Catholic. 8. Pingry.

Defending champion: Holy Spirit.

Dark horse: None.

Player to watch: Holy Spirit senior defensive tackle Ray Ellis. He spends a lot of time in opposing backfields.

Final prediction: Holy Spirit over DePaul. The Spartans have a history of upsetting highly touted North Jersey teams in December.

Non-Public Group 1

Field: 1. St. Joseph. 2-7: Everybody else.

Defending champion: St. Joseph.

Dark horse: None.

Player to watch: St. Joseph sophomore all-purpose Salaam Horne. He has four punt returns for touchdowns.

Final prediction: St. Joseph over St. Mary. The Wildcats have outscored the Gaels, 127-0, in the last three title games.


panastasia@phillynews.com

@PhilAnastasia

www.inquirer.com/

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