The Wildwood High School football program existed for decades before the state playoffs began in 1974.

Cedar Creek is playing just its second varsity season.

Both teams clinched their first playoff berths this season.

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Wildwood (5-3) is in the South Jersey Group I field, while Cedar Creek (8-0) has clinched a spot in South Jersey Group II.

In addition to Wildwood and Cedar Creek, six other local teams — Absegami (5-2); Barnegat (4-3); Holy Spirit (4-3); Lacey Township (8-0); St. Augustine Prep (6-1); and St. Joseph (8-0) — have clinched playoff berths.

Several other teams can qualify this weekend. The top eight teams in each enrollment group with the most power points at the conclusion of this weekend’s games will make the postseason. Teams earn power points based on their wins and their opponents’ enrollment and victories.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association will make the playoff fields official Monday.

The playoffs began the weekend of Nov. 16-17. The championship games will be played the second weekend of December.

Here is a breakdown of the South Jersey enrollment groups and a look at the local non-public qualifiers.

S.J. Group V

Clinched: Williamstown (8-0); Eastern (6-3); Absegami (5-2); Washington Township (6-1)

Contenders: Southern Regional (5-2); Atlantic City (5-2); Toms River North (4-3); Millville (4-3); Cherry Hill East (3-4); Egg Harbor Township (3-4); Cherokee (3-4).

Atlantic City and Southern should qualify even if they lose this weekend. Millville would qualify with a win over Hammonton. Williamstown has clinched the top seed. The winner of the Absegami-Atlantic City game will be a top-four seed and get at least a first-round home game.

S.J. Group IV

Clinched: Lacey Township (8-0); Timber Creek (6-2); Moorestown (5-3); Clearview (5-2); and Kingsway Regional (5-3).

Contenders: Shawnee (4-3); Toms River South (4-3); Cherry Hill West (4-4); Hammonton (4-3).

Five teams have clinched. Timber Creek will be the No. 1 seed, while Lacey has clinched the second seed.

Four teams are in contention for the six remaining spots. Hammonton would qualify with a win over Millville. The Blue Devils also could make the postseason with a loss but would need help from other teams.

S.J. Group III

Clinched: Burlington Township (7-1); Delsea Regional (7-1); Barnegat (4-3); Northern Burlington (4-4); Pt. Pleasant Borough (5-3).

Contenders: Bridgeton (4-4); Highland Regional (4-4); Deptford (3-4); Cumberland Regional (3-4)

Burlington Township is the top seed. Bridgeton would qualify if Deptford or Cumberland loses this weekend.

S.J. Group II

Clinched: West Deptford (7-0); Cedar Creek (8-0); Haddon Heights (6-2); Woodstown (4-3).

Contenders: Middle Township (4-3); Sterling (4-4); Willingboro (4-3); Haddonfield (5-2); Buena Regional (4-4); Cinnaminson (4-3).

West Deptford and Cedar Creek will be the top seeds. Middle would qualify with a win over Buena Regional on Friday.

S.J. Group I

Clinched: Glassboro (7-1); Penns Grove (8-0); Woodbury (7-1); Gloucester City (7-1); Paulsboro (6-2); Wildwood (5-3); Pennsville (4-4).

Contenders: Schalick (3-4); Audubon (4-4).

Wildwood is one of seven teams that have clinched spots. Schalick would qualify with a win over Woodstown. If Schalick loses, Audubon would clinch.


St. Joseph is the top seed in the state Non-Public I bracket.

With a win over Oakcrest on Friday, Holy Spirit would probably be at least the No. 3 seed in the state Non-Public II bracket.

St.Augustine Prep (6-1) has clinched a state Non-Public IV berth. The Hermits face a first-round game against a northern New Jersey power such as Paramus Catholic, Bergen Catholic or Don Bosco Prep.

Contact Michael McGarry:


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