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Football Preview: South Jersey Non-Public Schools

Football Preview: South Jersey Non-Public Schools
North Jersey has dominated the Non-Public divisions in high school football and that trend should continue, at least in the two higher enrollment Groups.

South Jersey should have a more than representative shot in Non-Public Group 2, with St. Joseph, Holy Cross and Holy Spirit having the potential to contend.

Unlike the public schools, which only play for a sectional title, the Non-Publics compete for state championships, since there are so many fewer in the state.

Here are the schools with their Group size in grades 10-12.

NON-PUBLIC GROUP 2

St. Mary’s Rutherford 140

Immaculate Conception 180

St. Joseph Hammonton 214

Mater Dei 235

Holy Cross 268

Holy Spirit 300

Morris Catholic 314

Newark Academy 317

Morristown-Beard 320

Montclair Kimberly 335

Hudson Catholic 338

Gloucester Catholic 369

Immaculata 370

Dwight-Englewood 376

NON-PUBLIC GROUP 3

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DePaul Catholic 408

Pingry School 432

Bishop Eustace 472

Bishop Ahr 487

Donovan Catholic 508

Pope John 570

Camden Catholic 588

Red Bank Catholic 643

St. John Vianney 720

St. Joseph Montvale 774

NON-PUBLIC GROUP 4

Delbarton 784

Paul VI 837

Notre Dame 887

St. Joseph Metuchen 958

Bergen Catholic 980

Paramus Catholic 993

St. Augustine 1,084

Don Bosco Prep 1,288

Seton Hall Prep 1,450

St. Peter's Prep 1,452

Non-Public Group 4

Last season Paramus Catholic beat St. Peter’s 33-28 in the Group 4 Non-Public final. Both teams will be contenders, along with the likes of Bergen Catholic and Don Bosco Prep.

There are just two South Jersey teams in NP Group 4, St. Augustine and Paul VI. St. Augustine, under new coach Pete Lancetta, could be among the top teams in South Jersey, but the Hermits have ground to make up when competing against the North Jersey powers.

Last year the Hermits lost 57-33 to Bergen Catholic in a first round game. This just goes to show how talented the North Jersey NP teams are because St. Augustine was one of the top teams in South Jersey.

Paul VI, coming off a 3-7 season and with one of the more challenging schedules, doesn’t figure to be among the eight playoffs teams.

We’ve seen this before, where the Eagles have enjoyed a strong preseason, only to disappoint when the games are played for keeps. There was, however a lot to like about what the Eagles accomplished in preseason and now the major question is whether they can contend for their first playoff spot since 2013.

Non-Public Group 3

Perennial power St. Joseph Montvale is the defending champion after beating DePaul, 26-17, in the final. Both teams will again be frontrunners. South Jersey has two teams involved – Camden Catholic and Bishop Eustace.

Camden Catholic should again be among the top teams in South Jersey, but like St. Augustine, the Irish have found difficulty competing against the North Jersey powers.

Last year the Irish lost 33-13 to St. John Vianney (a Central Jersey school) in the first round. Junior quarterback Rob McCoy threw for 1,709 yards and 13 touchdowns and the Irish could be just as dangerous. In fact, they would be given a chance in NP Group 3, but just won’t be listed among the favorites.

Bishop Eustace was 2-8 last season and should be improved enough to contend for a playoff spot. It will be interesting the impact of replacing coach Rob Cormier late in the summer with A.J. Johnson will have on the Crusaders. Senior quarterback-defensive back Blake Hansen is a potential scholarship player for the Crusaders.

Non-Public Group 2

Holy Spirit advanced to the final last season before losing a heart-breaking 26-20 decision to Mater Dei. The defending champs are expected to be contenders, but as mentioned above, so is Holy Spirit, Holy Cross and St. Joseph, which had a string of seven straight state championships snapped last season.

Spirit’s new quarterback is Josh Zamot, who last year threw 15 touchdown passes while competing for St. Augustine.

On Sept. 15, Spirit hosts St. Joseph and that could be an early playoff preview. St. Joseph is still a relatively young team, but one that is ready to contend after last year’s 7-4 campaign.

Holy Cross has an experienced team from a 6-4 unit that will be led by senior quarterback Jeff Undercuffler (6-6, 220) who threw for 1,469 yards and 10 TDs and has made a verbal commitment to Albany.

Last year the Lancers lost in the first round to St. Joseph, so there will be plenty of incentive to meet the Wildcats this season.


Author: Marc Narducci

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