South Jersey Group II football semifinal preview: Willingboro at Cedar Creek

Cedar Creek High School running back heads upfield during a Thanksgiving Day game against St. Augustine Prep. Melton has rushed 99 times for 897 yards this year and scored 21 touchdowns.

Few high school football teams in South Jersey have a more potent offense than Cedar Creek's.

The Egg Harbor City school hopes that offense will propel it to a berth in the S.J. Group II final.The Pirates (9-1) will host Willingboro (6-4) in a S.J. Group II semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m.

Cedar Creek averages a Cape-Atlantic League best 40.2 points per game. Pirates quarterback Damon Mitchell has verbally committed to attend Georgia Tech. Running back Gary Melton has emerged as one of the region's best in the second half of the season.

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Cedar Creek will have to rebound from its first loss of the season, a 41-40 overtime to defeat to St. Augustine Prep in a game that decided the CAL National Conference.

Willingboro has an outstanding skill position player of its own in running back Robert Cleveland.

The Chimeras beat Middle Township 23-13 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 16. But Willingboro then lost to Holy Cross 15-7 the night before Thanksgiving.

Key players for Willingboro: Robert Cleveland, RB, 247 carries for 1,500 yards; Anthony Robbins, QB; Antonio Pernell, WR; Rahajan Sams, WR.

Key players for Cedar Creek: Gary Melton, RB/DB, 99 carries for 897 yards, scored 21 touchdowns; Damon Mitchell, QB/DB, 97-of-159 for 1,604 yards and 19 touchdowns, also has 17 rushing touchdowns; Nolan Seward, WR, seven touchdown catches; Caleb Graves, WR/DB, scored two defensive touchdowns and returned a punt for a score.

Keys to victory: Cedar Creek, as it has done all season, will rely on its dynamic skill players to make big plays and put points on the board. The Pirates also must slow Willingboro running back Robert Cleveland.


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