Philly vs South Jersey

Match ups I would pay to see between Philly and South Jersey schools


A few years ago I wrote an article for another of my many tried and failed blogs.  It had to do with match ups I would like to see between Philly schools from the Catholic, Public and Inter-Ac leagues and schools in South Jersey.


At the time I was doing the film for Paul VI High School in Haddon Township NJ.


Paul VI was one of the premier Catholic high school teams in South Jersey.  They were led by John Doherty who recently stepped down as their head coach.  Friday nights at Major Timothy M. Curry Field was the place to be.  Coach Doherty built the Eagles into a program to be reckoned with on a yearly basis.


The alignments for football in South Jersey is different then it is in Philly.  There is no Catholic or Public leagues like we have over here and of course the Inter-Ac is in a class of its own that is unique to the Philly area.  Actually, I know of no area in the country that has a setup like the Inter-Ac but maybe if I did some digging I may find something.


It’s when you get to the State playoffs of both states that it gets switched around.  Although there is a Catholic League in Philly, when teams compete in the state playoffs there is no Catholic vs Public distinction.  They play only according to school size.  In New Jersey the playoffs go along school size but are divided into Public and Non-Public.


Also, in New Jersey the playoffs are divided into North 1, North 2, Central and South except in the Non-Public classification which encompasses the whole state.  Kind of a weird setup especially the two North classifications but you have to remember the Northern part of the State borders New York City where many residents work but who live in New Jersey.


So with that in mind I tried to keep it Catholic vs Catholic or Non-Public if you will and Public vs Public.  There are a few games that don’t adhere to the rule but hey, a good match up is a good match up!


So here we go.


  1.   Imhotep Charter vs Timber Creek – Both schools attract major talent to the their schools..  Both have been accused of extra curricular activities in getting that talent to their schools.  Personally, I believe that each school has gotten to the point where they attract the talent.  I’m sure there are those who disagree but that’s what I believe.  Both have been undeniably the class of their leagues.

Imhotep won the Class AAA Title in Pennsylvania.  The Panthers are a Class AA school in size but have chosen to step up for competition.  Timber Creek won the Group 4/South Title this year and are a perennial contender for the West Jersey League’s National division crown.

2. St Joe’s Prep vs St Joseph of Hammonton – Although according to size these two schools couldn’t be further apart, Prep is Class AAAA and the Jersey Joe’s fluctuate between Group 1 and 2, the talent at both schools is sick.  It doesn’t matter which Group the Hammonton Joes are in, they win the State title wherever they are placed.  The Prep were Class AAAA Champions in 2013 and 2014 before losing the crown this year in the Catholic League Championship to LaSalle on the last play of the game.  The Prep already ventures into Jersey but to the Northern part of the state playing the likes of national power Don Bosco and another St Joe’s, this one from Montvale which is yet another national power.  Let’s face it guys, the northern part of the state is stacked.


3.  LaSalle vs St Augustine Prep – LaSalle and St Joe’s Prep battle for Catholic, City and State dominance on a yearly basis.  St Augustine Prep is the up and coming program in South Jersey.  The Hermits are led by Mark Reardon, former Defensive Coordinator at Villanova and his top Assistant is Charlie Roman who before joining Reardon at St Augustine, was the Head Coach at Holy Spirit and led them to the State Title beating Camden Catholic who at the time were coached by none other than Gil Brooks.  LaSalle lost to eventual AAAA runner up Parkland and St Augustine lost to eventual Group 4 Non Public runner up St Joe’s of Montvale.


4.    Archbishop Wood vs Camden Catholic – I went back and forth between Camden Catholic and Holy Spirit on this on before settling on the Cherry Hill school in Camden County.  I chose the Fighting Irish because of their upward trend the last two years under the tutelage of Nick Strom.  Camden Catholic is 17-3 in the two years Strom has been there.

Wood is Wood!  Before losing to Imhotep in the City Championship this year Wood was the defending AAA Champs.  The Vikings from Warminster Pa have been virtually unbeatable since Coach Steve Devlin has taken the reigns, going 89-14-0 overall and 24-0 in Catholic League Divisional play with 3 State Championships in 2011,13 and 14.  Wood has lost to teams in the Catholic league but not in their division.  A better matchup would probably be against one of the Northern powers in Jersey but since this is a Philly vs South Jersey thing I’ll go with this matchup.


5.    Imhotep vs Camden – This is a battle between two inner city schools who churn out big time talent to schools like Michigan, Florida St, Penn St, Syracuse, Arizona St and Oklahoma.  The list goes on.  If Temple could pick just two schools that they could have exclusive recruiting rights to in the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey these would be the two.  Imhotep’s record speaks for itself but Camden, for all the talent they put on the field, has been a bit of an under performer.  They had the talent and nobody denies it but until this past season when they went to the South/Group 3 Championship and lost to Delsea, they were booted from the playoffs in either the first or second rounds.  Camden had the 7th, 8th and 19th rated recruits in the state according to 247 Sports ratings service.  That kind of talent should get you some kind of title.


So I’ve presented you with 5 games I’d like to see.  I have more that I’ll publish later but for now this is the list.  I’d like to hear from you high school football fans out there if you like, dislike the list or if there are games out there you would like to see.  It could be from anywhere.  I chose these two because I am familiar with them having grown up in one and then moving to the other.


So with that being said, let the match ups begin!

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