The South Jersey Group V football bracket is one of the most competitive in New Jersey. After being loaded with some of the biggest schools from the WJFL and Shore Conference, it never fails to provide some of the best action for the fans. This years’ set of playoff games will bring that same level of excitement. Who will survive and make it to Rowan on Championship Weekend? NJSR will take a look at the possibilities.
SOUTH JERSEY GROUP V
Cherokee – Head Coach PJ Mehigan has certainly won his fair share of titles throughout his coaching career. Cherokee is the two time defending champion in this section. The Chiefs already hold regular season victories over Williamstown and Lenape. This team always seems to find a way to play their best football in November and December.
Cherokee has always been about ball control. They swarm the ball carrier with tight defense and are very comfortable in a low scoring game. Fundamentals and stellar tackling has always been a big part of Mehigan’s philosophy. Jon Lovett has been tough to stop on offense this year, rushing for over 700 yards and 7 touchdowns. Both Evan Powell and Jake Bodine have shared time at the QB position and have been very productive.
Toms River North – The Mariners are are big, strong, and fast. They bring an element to the table that the WJFL teams have not seen in 2015. The 26-14 victory over Brick Twp was extremely impressive. When you can rip off 381 yards of offense against a defense like that, it really says a lot about your potential as a team. Can the Mariners ride this momentum deep into the postseason?
Quarterback Mike Husni is a playmaker that can make things happen with his arm and legs. With an offensive line that has two 300 pound tackles to protect him, there is nothing that he can’t do in the offense. Running Backs Asante Moorer and Daryn Blackwell are both 200 plus and are very hard to bring down through the tackles. Can the Mariners sustain this offense deep into the postseason? They come into the tournament averaging 38 points per game. We will find out how far they have come in the past two years.
Williamstown – Head Coach Frank Fucetola has the Braves back in the playoffs again. Williamstown is 7-1 on the year and has won 33 games in the past four years. The two biggest wins on the Braves resume were over Shawnee and Hammonton. The win over the Blue Devils got Williamstown a lot of power points.
Transfer Quarterback Rich Stanzione has been a strong leader for the Braves this season. Stanzione brings a lot of athletic ability to the table. Senior Running Back Joe Early is another weapon that can do a lot of damage in the open field. Williamstown will open up against Washington Twp on Friday night. The two teams will also meet up again on Thanksgiving Day. The Braves made it to the semifinals in 2014. Is this the year that they will make it back to Rowan for the final?
Lenape – The Indians are once again the No 1 seed in this bracket. Last year they were knocked off by Toms River North in the first round. Cherokee gave Lenape their only loss during the regular season by defeating them 21-7. Some of the Indians key victories were over Lenape and Seneca.
Lenape brings a multiple rushing threat to the table. Joseph Kellum leads the team on the ground with 864 yards and 8 touchdowns. Quarterback Bryce Long has also hit the end zone six times. The Indians have not thrown the ball a lot, but have been effective when they have had to. Is this the year the Indians can finally get into the championship? It will be interesting as they open up against Rancocas Valley, a team they just defeated 20-0 last week.
Rancocas Valley – While it will be a very difficult task, look for RV to play a much closer game against Lenape. It’s very difficult to beat anyone two weeks in a row. Both teams know each other very well, so it will certainly be a dogfight. The bigger question may be, are both these teams going to beat each other up during the first round? How ready will they be for a second round game, especially if Toms River North is waiting in the wings? This will be a fun situation to watch.
FIRST ROUND PREDICTION
Lenape 21, Rancocas Valley 10
Toms River North 28, Kingsway 12
Williamstown 21, Washington Twp 14
Cherokee 34, Millville 7
Toms River North 21, Lenape 13
Cherokee 21, Williamstown 17
BRACKET WINNER – Toms River North 24, Cherokee 14