The Holy Spirit High School football team is headed north again this weekend.
The sixth-seeded Spartans play at second-seeded St. Joseph-Montvale (Bergen County) in a state Non-Public III semifinal Saturday at 1 p.m.
Holy Spirit traveled to Passaic County last Friday and upset third-seeded DePaul Catholic in the quarterfinals. Spirit trailed 14-0 in the first quarter but rallied for a 28-21 victory.
Spirit was the only southern New Jersey team to survive its game against a northern New Jersey power last weekend. St. Augustine Prep, Paul VI and Bishop Eustace all lost to northern teams by lopsided margins.
"We don't make a big deal out of north vs. south," Holy Spirit coach Charles Roman said. "We feel we can play with anybody."
St. Joe-Montvale is one of the state's premier programs. It is the defending champion and has won 13 straight titles. Green Knights coach Tony Karchich has 298 career wins.
These teams last met in the 2007 playoffs with Spirit winning 12-3 in the semifinals.
Spirit running back Nigel Jones left the DePaul game with a sprained ankle in the third quarter and did not return. Roman said earlier this week that X-rays were negative and there was a realistic chance of Jones playing Saturday.
Key players for Holy Spirit: Nigel Jones, RB, 185 carries for 1,0290 yards and 19 touchdowns; Joe Callahan (above), QB, 76-of-144 for 1,546 yards and nine touchdowns; Donta Pollock, RB/LB; Joe Sarnese, WR/DB, 20 catches for 417 yards; Anthony Sarao, LB; Quay Williams, DB; Tim Goodwin, OL/DL.
Key players for St. Joe-Montvale: Devin O'Connor, QB, 74-of-125 for 1,157 yards and 12 touchdowns; Kamal Hogan, RB, 95 carries for 692 yards; Kai Dominguez, WR, 31 catches for 518 yards and six touchdowns; Alex Aitkens, LB, 70 tackles.
Key to victory: Holy Spirit must mix the run with timely passes from Callahan. On defense, Spirit has to slow Hogan, a Division I college prospect, and pressure O'Connor. The Spartans also need defensive back Williams to continue his habit of forcing turnovers in key spots. St. Joe is a senior-dominated team.
Who: Sixth-seeded Holy Spirit (7-2) vs. second-seeded St. Joseph Montvale (7-2)
What: State Non-Public III semifinal
When/where: 1 p.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Montvale
What's next: Winner advances to the final the weekend of Dec. 4-5 against the winner of Saturday's other semifinal between fourth-seeded Immaculata and top-seeded Pope John XXIII.