Here is a look at this weekend's football games. It includes a rare matchup of the team ranked No. 1 in South Jersey by the Inquirer and the team ranked No. 2.
No. 1 St. Joseph (2-0) at No. 2 St. Augustine (1-1), 6: This is the obvious Game of the Week and a clash layered with back stories and wide implications. These aren't just two of the top programs in South Jersey. They also are non-public schools that compete on the field as well as off the field in terms of "attracting" — or "recruiting," if that's your preferred word — top student-athletes.
There's another interesting angle to this game: Second-year St. Augustine coach Pete Lancetta is a St. Joe grad who spent most of his career at Hammonton, winning more than 200 games for a Blue Devils program that annually played cross-town foe St. Joe in one of South Jersey's all-time best Thanksgiving rivalries. There's a lot of history there.
St. Joseph has won 14 games in a row. The Wildcats feature a potent offensive line with seasoned seniors such as Wisdom Quarshie, Brad Lomax, Tucker Monico, Bobby Hyndman and Sean Morris clearing the way for Jada Byers, a dynamic junior back. Byers has 11 TDs in the Wildcats' first two games.
St. Augustine is coming off an impressive win over Lenape on Friday. Senior Sincere Rhea scored on a punt return, and senior Joe Bonczek scored on a kickoff return.
Mainland (2-0) at Cherry Hill West (1-1), 6: The visiting Mustangs are off to their best start in several seasons, thanks to a defense that has allowed just six total points. Senior quarterback Dean Hall has scored a TD in each game for Mainland.
Cherry Hill West bounced back from a season-opening loss to Cinnaminson in a big way, beating then-No. 19 Pennsauken, 23-13, as senior quarterback Nick Arcaroli ran for one score and passed for another. Senior two-way lineman Max Sullivan is a player to watch for the Lions.
No. 16 Millville (0-2) at No. 4 Williamstown (2-0), 7: The Thunderbolts can't seem to catch a break in their schedule. They opened with North Jersey non-public superpower St. Peter's Prep. They lost Saturday to South Jersey No. 1 St. Joe. Now, they visit fourth-ranked Williamstown.
The Braves are coming off an imposing 17-6 win over then-No. 10 Rancocas Valley on Saturday night. Senior quarterback J.C. Collins and senior all-purpose Wade Inge both ran for scores, and the Braves defense pitched a shutout, as the Red Devils' TD came on a kickoff return.
Millville has players to watch in senior Tex Thompson and junior Solomon DeShields.
No. 22 Vineland (1-1) at Lenape (0-2), 7: This is a rematch of last year's South Jersey Group 5 playoff opener, won convincingly by the Indians.
Vineland, coming off a shutout of Atlantic City, will look to turn the tables behind a stout defense and the play-making of junior quarterback Ryan Shelton. Senior nose guard George Robinson leads the Clan defensive front.
Lenape is looking to avoid an 0-3 hole. The Indians have lost road games to top teams South Brunswick and St. Augustine and will look to jump-start things in their home opener. Sophomore Xavier Coleman has scored a TD in each of the Indians' games.
No. 24 Winslow Twp. (1-1) at No. 19 Cherokee (0-1), 7: The Eagles got their season on track with a 20-15 win over then-No. 18 Moorestown on Saturday night as Rutgers commit Donovan Bunch returned an interception 103 yards for a TD. Per research by South Jersey sports-record maven Chuck Langerman, that tied for the third-longest pick-six in South Jersey history.
Cherokee went toe-to-toe with No. 8 Shawnee in a 21-14 loss on opening night. Quarterback Aiden Douglas threw a pair of TD passes for the Chiefs.
No. 9 Camden (1-1) at Paul VI (0-2), 7: The visiting Panthers are coming off a 20-2 win over Cedar Creek that was stretched over two days by the stormy weather this past weekend.
Junior linebacker Tirek Austin-Cave, a transfer from Camden Catholic, has made an immediate impact and strengthened an already-tough Camden defense. Sophomore Corey Palmer, who had a pick-six vs. Cedar Creek, is another young player to watch.
Paul VI's Kevin Johnson threw a TD pass to Austin Bannon in a loss Saturday to No. 13 Burlington Twp. The Eagles have one of South Jersey's top kickers/punters in Henry Westermann.
No. 10 Holy Spirit (1-1) at Camden Catholic (0-2), 7: Things don't get any easier for the rebuilding Irish, who are playing several freshmen to compensate for the loss of more than 30 players in the fall-out from the controversial departure of former coach Nick Strom in May. They were shut out by No. 14 Rancocas Valley in the opener, then overwhelmed by No. 6 Woodrow Wilson on Saturday.
The 10th-ranked Spartans will travel to Cherry Hill with momentum from a hard-fought win over Eastern on Saturday. Junior Eli'Jah Gray ran for 237 yards and 3 TDs. These teams have history, having met in the non-public playoffs and in the 2017 regular season, with the Spartans handing the then-No. 3 Irish their first loss by a 42-26 score last Oct. 27.
No. 3 Delsea (1-0) at No. 15 West Deptford (1-1), 7: These Gloucester County powers haven't met since the Crusaders beat the Eagles, 17-14, in the South Jersey Group 2 title game in 2008.
They are two of the most accomplished teams around, combining for 16 sectional titles and 25 title-game appearances since 2000. But despite their proximity and relatively-similar size — plus their near-identical offensive approach over the years, with mastery of the old-school Wing T — they are not rivals because they really haven't played each other.
That could change as the WJFL looks to create these kinds of scheduling matchups. Delsea is coming off a hard-fought win over Willingboro as Harvard-bound Aidan Borguet scored two TDs, one on a fumble return.
West Deptford bounced back from a season-opening loss to Paulsboro with a big victory over Collingswood, as Princeton recruit Kenny Lim scored three TDs.
No. 12 Cinnaminson (2-0) at No. 5 Haddonfield (2-0), 7: This is a rematch of last year's S.J. 2 semifinals, won by Haddonfield, 35-8. That outcome marked Cinnaminson's lone loss in the last 10 games.
This game has major S.J. 2 playoff implications and also could be a preview of another meeting in November.
The visiting Pirates are led by senior running back Rashad Raymond, junior quarterback Shawn Ruffin, and senior two-way lineman Ahmad Gant.
Haddonfield is the defending S.J. 2 champion. The Bulldawgs have won six in a row behind two-way standout Gabe Klaus as well as quarterback Jay Foley and all-purpose player Davis Smith.
No. 25 Holy Cross (2-0) at Delran (1-0): This cross-town rivalry marks a bonus 11th game in this weekend's preview.
Holy Cross coach Frank Holmes is a Delran teacher. His team is led by senior quarterback Andrew Paolini and senior fullback Jack Fusco, who scored two TDs in a shutout of Bordentown.
Delran has a top all-purpose standout in junior R.J. Moten, who scored two TDs in a 21-0 win over Bishop Eustace. Junior quarterback Dustin Desher is another player to watch for the Bears.
No. 11 Paulsboro (2-0) at No. 17 Penns Grove (2-0), noon: This is a rematch of last year's S.J. Group 1 title game and, perhaps, a preview of this year's final as well.
It's also a classic matchup of Paulsboro's immovable defense and Penns Grove's irresistible offense. The Red Raiders have a top-flight front seven, led by seniors such as tackles Douglas Blue-Eli and Robert Glocker, end Santino Morina, and linebacker Anthony Morina.
The Red Devils offense is led by Sacred Heart recruit Tyreke Brown, an all-purpose star who has eight TDs in the first two games.