High School Football Preview: Holy Spirit vs. Delsea


FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. – Week 4 of the high school football season is quickly approaching and so is another crossover week in the West Jersey Football League.
The Holy Spirit Spartans, one of the most decorated non-public programs in South Jersey, is on the road against the Delsea Crusaders, a perennial public school powerhouse, on Friday night.
In Franklinville, Delsea is hard at work on the practice field.
The Crusaders have won the last four Group III titles in a row, but they had a tough start for this season thanks in part to a brutal schedule.
Delsea lost to reigning Group IV champ, Timber Creek, in week 1. Then lost to reigning Group II champ, Cedar Creek, in week 2.
"We never really had a panic. It's a long season and we always grind, we always get better every week. That's what we try to do. We weren't really too nervous. We just know what we have to do it get better every week," said Delsea fullback Rashaad Williams.
The Crusaders gained its first win of the season last Friday night in the form of a 35:0 shut-out of Paul VI High School.
"We kind of knew it was going to come. All we needed was leaders to step up. We started to see that. It was still early in the season so no one was down. Still, have a bright future ahead of us so I think we can get it done. You can't ask for a better situation to try and go 2-2, because we get to play them over here at home. I think we have the advantage on them, and I'm pretty confident that we'll come out with a win," said Delsea running back Charles Walker.
Even with the slow start to the season, the Crusaders are confident heading into their week 4 showdown with Holy Spirit.
"Our ultimate goal is to get to Rowan and play in the championship. But basically, you have to take one day at a time and get the most out of that day of practice. And that's what it's all about, it's all about preparation, and preparing the right way. I think if there was any complacency that's gone now, that's for sure. It's about practicing and preparing ever day the way we should," said Sal Marchese, head coach for Delsea.
In Absecon, the Spartans have been preparing for this week's matchup.
Holy Spirit is currently 3-0 with a couple of lopsided wins over new West Jersey United Division opponents Middle Township and Lower Cape May. However, it was the Spartans week 2 victory over non-public rival Saint Joseph that really opened some eyes around South Jersey.
Holy Spirit lost to the Wildcats in the playoffs last season, but got revenge with an overtime win with this year's rematch.
The Spartans know they'll need an effort like that again on Friday night, on the road at Delsea.
"Delsea has been to the state championship 10 out of the last 13 years. So yea, this is another game where it could be a program-changing game for us. We're going to have our hands full. It's going to be a good game, we're going to battle. And we'll see where it goes at the end of the game," said A.J. Russo, head coach for Holy Spirit.
So it's 3-0 Holy Spirit on the road at 1-2 Delsea at 7 p.m. on Friday night in Franklinville.