Staff Report

The South Jersey Football Frenzy Show, hosted by longtime South Jersey high school sports reporter Mark Trible and in conjunction with South Jersey Glory Days, puts out its “Best 11” rankings each week of the prep football season, and we kick things off with the first rankings of the 2023 season here in Week 3.

This should be a very interesting week as it features of a couple of “Best 11” matchups, as No. 2 Mainland visits No. 10 Atlantic City, while No. 4 Shawnee goes on the road for a big tilt against No. 5 Cherokee. There’s also a HUGE game in Richland on Friday night, as top-ranked Millville comes into town to take on No. 3 St. Augustine Prep. So we’ll know a lot more about who the No. 1 team in South Jersey in by Saturday morning.

Here’s a look at the current rankings with records in parenthesis:

11. Washington Township (2-1): Took one on the chin against Mainland at the Battle at the Beach but has responded nicely, scoring at least 50 points in consecutive wins against Eastern and Kingsway. The Minutemen have put up 500 yards rushing in three games, with nearly half of that coming from senior Giuliano Scavetta.

10. Atlantic City (3-0): If the Vikings can beat Mainland on Friday night they’ll likely shoot way up the rankings. This team has playmakers all over the field as QB “Boardwalk” Joe Lyons has passed for nearly 1,000 yards already in just three games. Junior Sah’nye Degraffenreidt already has six TD catches and juniors Raul Cabrera and Yamdry Hernandez lead a pretty good defense that hasn’t allowed more than 13 points in a game yet.

9. Timber Creek (3-0): The Chargers have proven they can win big — a 68-0 victory over Camden Catholic — and small, with last week’s 16-14 squeaker over Willingboro. They have a tough stretch coming up, though, with games against Rancocas Valley, Cherry Hill West and Hammonton.

8. Camden (2-1): Coach Rob Hinson’s boys lost a tough out-of-state season opener down in Virginia, but the Panthers have gotten right the last two weeks, routing Salem and Sterling. New QB Jaythan Candelario, just a sophomore, has already passed for more than 200 yards and five TDs in three games.

7. Delsea Regional (1-1): After a big win over Delran to start the season, the Crusaders fell to Winslow last week, 28-13. You know Sal Marchese has had his boys in the film room all week, so don’t be surprised to see a much better showing at home on Friday night against Ocean City. Interestingly, Dan Russo, formerly the QB at Vineland, is now more of a running back, having carried the ball 29 times for 141 yards and a pair of TDs.

6. Winslow (2-1): The Eagles lost their season opener to Cherokee, but have straightened things out very quickly in consecutive wins over Lenape and Delsea. Freshman QB Jalen Parker has been very impressive, throwing for 713 yards and six TDs as the squad waits for Camden transfer Deante Ruffin to become eligible to play.

5. Cherokee (2-1): The Chiefs scored impressive wins over Winslow and Hammonton to start the season before a 3-0 setback against St. Augustine Prep last Friday night. We’ll find out just what the Chiefs are made of the next few weeks as they take on Shawnee, Williamstown and Lenape.

4. Shawnee (3-0): The Renegades are undefeated thanks to a come-from-behind win over Lenape last week. Joe Papa can do it all from his QB position, as he’s passed for nearly 300 yards and rushed for another 395 while accounting for 11 touchdowns. Linebackers Liam Gilmore and Mason Grabowski have combined for nearly 50 tackles already.

3. St. Augustine Prep (2-1): The Hermits went on the road and lost to a very good Donovan Catholic team in Week 0, but have won two straight, including a tough 3-0 win over Cherokee on Friday night. Julian Turney has been a workhorse, carrying the ball 46 times for nearly 350 yards and four touchdowns.

2. Mainland Regional (3-0): The Stangs’ defense has been downright stifling this season, as the Big Green Machine has allowed just seven points in three games. This team lost its second all-time leading rusher in Ja’briel Mace to graduation, but has used 11 ball carriers to amass nearly 700 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. They take on Atlantic City on Friday night in a highly anticipated matchup of old Cape-Atlantic League rivals.

1. Millville (2-1): Last season’s state championships have a loss on their record, but it came against Toms River North, one of the best teams in the state that has reigning state Player of the Year Micah Ford playing QB. The Bolts responded with wins over Irvington and Williamstown, but the big test is Friday night. Can Millville hang onto the No. 1 spot? St. Augustine might have something to say about that!

Also under consideration: Cedar Creek (3-0), Holy Spirit (3-0), Middle Township (3-0), Notre Dame (3-0), Haddonfield (2-0), Woodbury (2-0), Rancocas Valley (3-0), Hammonton (2-1).

THURSDAY GAMES TO WATCH: Shawnee at Cherokee, 6pm; Holy Spirit at Washington Township, 6pm; Willingboro at Delran, 7pm.

FRIDAY GAMES TO WATCH: Mainland at Atlantic City, 6pm; Millville at St. Augustine Prep, 6pm; Clayton at Middle Township, 7pm.

SATURDAY GAMES TO WATCH: Woodbury at Paulsboro, 11am; Cedar Creek at Camden Eastside, 1pm