Things are looking interesting within the South Jersey Group IV bracket. Shawnee is the two time defending champion in this group. They have managed to knock off powerhouse Timber Creek two years in a row. Hammonton, and Bridgeton are rising teams that look to make an impact. Hammonton has been very successful since moving to the West Jersey Football League. Who will be the last team standing at Rowan this year? NJSR will take a look at this one.
SOUTH JERSEY GROUP IV
Shawnee – The Renegades will be the team that everyone wants to take a shot at. Head Coach Tim Gushue always seems to have this team playing their best football in December. The 2015 season has actually been one of the best jobs’ that Gushue has done. After getting off to a slow start by losing to Williamstown and Washington Twp, the Renegades came back to secure the No 2 seed in the bracket. The highlight of the season was a very convincing 35-14 win over Cherokee.
Quarterback Michael Welsh is enjoying another outstanding season, passing for 1,471 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air. Welsh has also been a dependable threat on the ground, rushing for 517 yards and 8 scoring plays. Running Back Mike Githens, and Wide Receiver Anthony Mague have helped pace the Renegades offensive attack. Will Shawnee be able to win three titles in a row? Defensively, it will be a big challenge, especially if Timber Creek is once again waiting in the end.
Hammonton – This has been the most dominant season Hammonton has had in quite some time. The Blue Devils have ripped off 8 straight wins, including a 24-17 victory over Timber Creek. Everyone wondered how Hammonton would adjust to the West Jersey Football League, and they have done more than prove that they can be a force.
Dual-threat Quarterback Malachi Winters has led the way for this Hammonton Football team. Winters has 12 total touchdowns on the season. Running Back Zach Barnard has been unstoppable on the ground. Barnard has showed off his athleticism by hitting the end zone 17 times. The running attack of Hammonton will keep teams’ on their heels. Will this group live up to their No 1 ranking in this section? It will be interesting to see how they perform late in the season.
Timber Creek – For a long time, people have expected a lot out of this Timber Creek football team. Head Coach Rob Hinson has always had no shortage of talent on his roster. Some of the best names in New Jersey have come out of the Creek. However, the Chargers have not won a sectional since 2012. The team was heavily favored in the past two championship games and came up short in both meetings with Shawnee. Will the result be different for Timber Creek in 2015?
Sophomore Quarterback Devin Leary has given Chargers fans a lot to be excited about. He has shown a lot of toughness and maturity in his first season. The signal caller has passed for 1719 yards and 17 touchdowns. Wide Receiver Cameron Chambers has been his favorite target, catching 43 passes for 707 yards and 7 touchdowns. If Leary has time to throw, Timber Creek can get down the field against any team in this bracket. The biggest question is, Can anyone slow them down? Defensive Coordinators’ will have a lot of work ahead of them.
Central Regional – Central will find themselves in a very critical position as the No 6 seed. Bridgeton is a team without a lot of playoff experience. They played in the CAL’s National Conference which isn’t the hardest schedule in the world. Can the Eagles take the trip and pull off the upset? Central will need several players to be on top of their game. Getting a victory is certainly not out of the question.
Bridgeton will have a hard time defending the combination of Quarterback Mike Miserendino and Running Back Mike Bickford. Bickford has been a thorn in everyone’s side for the second year in a row. He is simply tough to tackle, even if you get a hand on him. Dennis Corbin has also been valuable in the passing game. Can the Eagles defense limit Bridgeton enough to secure a win? If you plan on going south, this is definitely one to checkout!
First Round Predictions
Hammonton 27, Toms River South 7
Timber Creek 38, Mainland 14
Central 27, Bridgeton 20
Shawnee 34, Winslow 10
Timber Creek 31, Hammonton 27
Shawnee 35, Central 14
Shawnee 24, Timber Creek 21