Joined: 16 Jun 2003
Location: Medford, NJ
|Posted: Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:35 am Post subject: Courier Post pre-season top 10
|from the Courier Post Saturday, September 2, 2006
Preseason Top 10 -- Large Schools
Courier-Post staff Groups 4 and 3 and Non-Public Groups 4 and 3 will make up this ranking. Last year's record and rankings in parenthesis.
1. Absegami (10-2, 3): No one really wants to be the hunted right out of the gate, but the Braves are one team that should be able to handle it. They return a pair of All-South Jersey standouts in first-team end Mark Schenauer, who has been switched to quarterback, and second-team RB Steve Hevalow, each early candidates for Player of the Year honors. Defensively, look for them to be strong up front. Last year's loss in the South Jersey Group 4 final should serve as motivation, with a return trip certainly not out of the question.
2. Pennsauken (9-2, 5): Led by Mike Williams and Derrick Gray, the defending Burlco/Olympic American champions should put one of South Jersey's top defensive units on the field in '06. The Indians lost plenty of offensive firepower to graduation but should score enough to play with anybody. Coach Reggie Lawrence is used to winning, and this year should be no exception. Showdown with Cherokee in early November will likely have division ramifications.
3. Cherokee (10-2, 2): The defending Group 4 champions may have lost some key personnel, but this program reloads year after year. The Chiefs always bring decent size and speed to the table, and this season should be no exception. With the likes of three-year starter Drew Hill, they'll run an option offense to score points and use a rebuilt defense to stop the run. Opening night against No. 6 Shawnee will certainly help set the tone.
4. Camden Catholic (7-4, NR): The Irish won't have Notre Dame-bound TE Mike Ragone, out for the season with a knee injury, but have no fear. Marc Lucarini will step in full-time at QB and team up with Woodrow Wilson transfer Karon Robinson to give them one of the area's top combinations. Look for this team to be strong along both lines and possess the speed and strength necessary to be a title contender in the Burlco/Olympic National Division.
5. Washington Twp. (7-3, 6): Following the death of legendary coach Tom Brown, a new era in Minutemen football begins under Mark Wechter. After not qualifying for the Group 4 playoffs, look for this team to rebound and make a title run. Patrick Moffitt is back at QB and will have a formidible line in front of him. Ethan Thies and Terrell Mack are a pair of second-team All-Group 4 players who should provide leadership on and off the field.
6. Shawnee (9-2, 4): Coach Tim Gushue said he really didn't know how good the Renegades could be in '06. The bet here is that they're still among the upper-echelon squads in South Jersey. Moving down a classification, look for them to be in the thick of the race for the South Jersey Group 3 crown and a major threat to win the Burlco/Olympic Liberty Division. They have good size along the line and a senior QB in Mike Ansberry.
7. Seneca (6-5, NR): The Golden Eagles lost some key linemen to graduation but return 22 seniors in what many expect to be the best season in the school's brief history. All-Group 3 pick Zach Schewe (6-3, 290) returns to help anchor the line, while Jay Valente, Tim Meise and Bobby Carroll give the team a three-headed monster in the backfield. Expectations are high for a Burlco/Olympic Patriot title and a berth in the Group 3 playoffs.
8. Delsea (12-0, 1): Despite a concern over depth, Delsea is a program that always finds a way to be right in the thick of things. The defending Group 3 champions return standout backs in Fred Lavan and Melton Diggs, two players who will have to shoulder the load behind first-year QB Kurt Dunwoody. Expect the Crusaders to be tough on defense, especially along the line. A matchup against Gloucester Catholic in Week 2 should answer any lingering questions.
9. Holy Cross (7-3, 9): Despite losing 13 starters, the Lancers should continue to be one of the region's top teams. They have quality depth at several key positions and one of South Jersey's top junior QBs in Tommy Reilly. Look for the defense, with Frank Allen (6-4, 275) and Jerome Williams (6-2, 235), to keep opponents off the scoreboard on a regular basis. The schedule is tough -- Camden Catholic and Bishop Eustace in successive weeks, with a showdown at Florence in early November.
10. Camden (6-6, *6): The Panthers are coming off an appearance in last year's South Jersey Group 2 final and should be primed for continued success. Despite losing several key players, they return one of the region's top QBs in Tim Stewart and an explosive back in Charles Waugh. They are quick, disciplined and senior-driven. Keep an eye out for another playoff run.
*-Was in Small Schools last season. The Top 10 is selected by staff writers Kevin Minnick and Walt Burrows.
The first regular-season rankings will be Monday, Sept. 11.