The high school football season is careening toward the state playoffs and teams have had plenty of time to show us what they are all about. With that said, let’s take a look at the South Jersey Glory Days/South Jersey Football Frenzy Show Best 11 rankings, compiled by longtime South Jersey football reporter Mark Trible and former coach Tim McAneney.
11. Shawnee (3-3): The Renegades have lost three straight so they are teetering on the final spot of our rankings. They’ll have a chance to prove they belong tonight as they travel to top-ranked Millville. Do-it-all QB Joe Papa has more than 1,200 yards of offense and 16 touchdowns for Shawnee.
10. Washington Township (4-2): The Minutemen are another squad who can prove they belong in the rankings tonight as they host a very good Winslow team, which now has Camden transfer Deante Ruffin eligible. This will be a big-time test for coach Mike Schatzman’s defensive unit.
9. Holy Spirit (5-1): Sparty bounced back from its only loss of the season with a 24-0 thumping of Clearview last week and they’ll host Vineland tonight on Senior Night. Emir Hicks has emerged as a pretty good option in the running game, as he racked up 94 yards on 24 carries against the Pioneers last week.
8. Timber Creek (5-0): One of just seven undefeated teams left in the West Jersey Football League, the Chargers get a big-time test tonight as they welcome in Hammonton, a team that is fresh off a confidence-building win over Rancocas Valley in which junior all-state RB Kenny Smith rushed for a school-record 295 yards. Timber Creek has to find a way to contain him and keep him out of the end zone.
7. Camden (5-1): The Panthers sit atop the WJFL Constitution Division and have won five straight since an out-of-state season-opening loss to Lake Taylor of Virginia. Since that game the defense has allowed just 19 points. They host a pretty good Haddonfield team at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
6. Delsea (4-1): It seems the Crusaders have gotten right after an early season loss to Winslow, having ripped off three straight wins. True to form, Delsea has rushed for more than 1,300 yards in five games and leading the way is Dan Russo — Vineland’s former QB who is now a running back and linebacker. The red-and-white face a tough road test at Cedar Creek on Saturday at 2 p.m.
5. Winslow (5-1): This offense is downright scary. The Eagles have gobbled up more than 2,000 yards of total offense in six games and scored 24 touchdowns. Can Washington Township slow them down tonight? We’ll see at 7 p.m.
4. Cherokee (4-1): The only blemish on the Chiefs’ record is a 3-0 setback against St. Augustine Prep but since then Cherokee has outscored Shawnee and Williamstown 57-0! Senior Ryan Bender has passed for 300+ yards and rushed for 200+ and accounted for nine touchdowns.
3. St. Augustine Prep (4-2): The Hermits nearly tumbled out of the top five last weekend but somehow found a way to rally and beat Shawnee, 24-21. They’ve won two straight since a loss to Millville and certainly have the potential to run the table the rest of the regular season.
2. Mainland Regional (6-0): In the last 18 games, Mainland is 16-2 wit its only losses coming last year, to Ocean City and Millville. Coach Chuck Smith and is staff have the Stangs rolling in the Wing-T offense as they’ve racked up more than 1,400 rushing yards and 25 TDs.
1. Millville (4-1): Until a South Jersey team beats them, the Bolts remain No. 1, their only loss coming against powerful Toms River North in the season opener. They bring a four-game winning streak into tonight’s showdown against No. 11 Shawnee.
OTHERS UNDER CONSIDERATION: Haddonfield (5-0), Cedar Creek (5-1), Willingboro (4-2), Rancocas Valley (4-2), Atlantic City (5-1), Hammonton (4-2).