South Jersey Sports

Bar set high for Cedar Creek in post-Mitchell era

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 02:30 pm

CCreek1 Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek freshman quarterback Jesse Milza throws a pass against Millville in a preseason scrimmage on Sept. 7. EGG HARBOR CITY – Cedar Creek High School is still the “new kid on the block” in the Cape-Atlantic League, but already the Pirates have achieved an enviable level of success.

Last year, in just the third year of the program, the Pirates finished 10-2 and reached the South Jersey Group II final. Of course, much of that had to do with the extreme talents of all-everything performer Damon Mitchell, now at the University of Arkansas.

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Pleasantville hopes to end its football drought this season

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 02:10 pm

pvilledudley Bill LeConey/Pleasantville High School coach Dave Dudley (middle) rallies his team before a preseason football scrimmage against Salem. PLEASANTVILLE – It’s a Catch-22 for the Pleasantville High School football program.

The team needs the support of the community and the school, as well as a solid turnout of motivated players, to field a successful program and win football games. However, it needs to win some football games to help generate that support and keep the enthusiasm growing.

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For one more year, status quo suits powerhouse Holy Spirit just fine

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 02:03 pm

spirit2 R.J. Liberatore/Holy Spirit's Taalib Gerald tries to turn the corner in a scrimmage against St. Joseph-Montvale while Spirit coach John Iannucci looks on from behind. ABSECON – Change is in the air all over the Cape-Atlantic League, but it hasn’t yet arrived at Holy Spirit High School, where the Spartans return nearly every key player from the team that won its third consecutive state title last year.

Change will come next year, when the Spartans move down to the smaller CAL National Conference, in part because of their declining enrollment.

Until then, it’s business as usual for the Spartans, who upset Immaculata in last year’s Non-Public 2 championship in coach John Iannucci’s first year at the helm. They will field another strong team, one that could capture the CAL American crown one last time.

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Vikings embrace change, look to stay on road to success

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 01:44 pm

ACfootball1 Bill LeConey/Atlantic City quarterback Jamir Prevard throws the ball in practice this week under the watchful eye of head coach Thomas Kelly (rear). ATLANTIC CITY – It is a season of change in the Cape-Atlantic League, with star players departed for big-time college ranks and underclassmen thrust into starting positions.

Perhaps no team reflects that changing landscape more than the Atlantic City High School Vikings.

Atlantic City lost 23 seniors to graduation, including all-everything star Dayshawn Reynolds, from the team that finished 8-3 and reached the South Jersey Group V semifinals. The Vikings could start as many as eight sophomores when they open the CAL American Conference schedule Friday at always-tough Millville.

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Absegami Braves anxious for clean slate

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 01:21 pm

Gami1 Bill LeConey/Absegami cornerback Quinton Jennings zeroes in on a ball-carrier during a preseason scrimmage against Washington Twp. GALLOWAY – Is any local high school team more anxious to get this football season started than Absegami?

The Braves finished 5-4 last season, dropping a heartbreaker to Atlantic City in a South Jersey Group V quarterfinal in which they surrendered a 17-point fourth-quarter lead.

“That taste from last year stuck in my mouth, and it just gives me more motivation to go harder this year,” running back David Hood said.

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Young Falcons ready to leave the nest

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 01:05 pm

oakcrest1 Bill LeConey/Oakcrest running back Terence Smith looks to catch a pass from quarterback Kendall Elliott during a scrimmage against Ocean City. OCEAN CITY – Armed with some painful lessons from the past, the Oakcrest High School football team is poised to face a challenging but potentially rewarding new season.

And, win or lose, the Falcons will likely keep the same positive attitude that belied last year’s 1-9 record.

“It’s a tribute to the kids,” coach Chuck Smith said after a preseason scrimmage last week. “If you came out to any of our practices last year, you would never have known our record, because they were always upbeat, they were always there. I didn’t have to worry about anybody.”

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Egg Harbor Township pins high hopes on strength up front

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 12:57 pm

EHT football Bill LeConey/EHT quarterback Kyle Houghton throws a pass on the run while running back Darius Ellis (foreground) tries to get his attention during a preseason scrimmage. EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – If football battles are won or lost at the line of scrimmage, Egg Harbor Township should win a fair share in 2013.

Whether the young and improving Eagles can win the perimeter skirmishes necessary to survive in a skilled Cape-Atlantic League American Conference remains to be seen.

Coach Tony DeRosa’s Eagles are trying to rebound from a 4-6 season in 2012. They open at home against Oakcrest on Friday, Sept. 13.

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Mainland football looking for right mix to rise above average

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 11, 2013 12:03 pm

mainland players File photo/Mainland football players touch a stone engraved with the names of the four student-athletes - Casey Brenner, Dean Khoury, Edgar Bozzi and Nicholas Conner - who died in a 2011 motor vehicle accident. Bob Coffey never shies away from a challenge.

He has won nearly 175 games as head football coach at Mainland Regional High School, and he never tires of mixing and matching, finding the right chemistry between experienced players and unproven underclassmen, and seeing how it all shakes out.

Chemistry class is in session again, and Coffey is curious to see if this year’s mix can allow the Mustangs to break loose from several seasons of .500-level football.

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Plenty of returning stars brighten girls soccer landscape

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Written by Mike Schultz Wednesday, September 11, 2013 11:40 am

eht girls 3 Jen Marra/Egg Harbor Township sophomore Camille Howarth splits the gap between Lower Cape May Regional defenders Kaylee Devine (left) and Nicole Hornbeck in Monday's match. Not too many local girls soccer teams were hit hard by graduation. In fact, Egg Harbor Township is returning 15 players from last season’s team, and playing with good chemistry.

The Lady Eagles pulled out a come-from-behind win on the road at Lower Township on Monday, Sept. 9, scoring three goals in the last 15 minutes and winning 4-3.

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Boys soccer: Absegami looks to reload after mass exodus

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Written by Mike Schultz Wednesday, September 11, 2013 11:25 am

boys soccer Mike Schultz/Absegami's senior midfielder J.D. Leeds puts a move on a Millville defender during Tuesday’s home match. Last season, The Absegami Braves dominated local soccer. They posted a school record in wins and advanced to the South Jersey Championship.

The Braves were hit hard by graduation but still hope to be competitive. Atlantic City will look for someone to take over the goal-scoring role after a key loss to graduation.

Cedar Creek hopes to add to last season's success and compete for a division title. Egg Harbor Township has a young team but most players have varsity experience. Holy Spirit will continue the rebuilding process under second-year coach Jody Roberts. Oakcrest competes in a tough division but could make an impact in the state playoffs.

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Frank Vogel welcomed home by Wildwood High

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, September 10, 2013 07:58 pm

WILDWOOD – The Wildwood High School community gathered Tuesday afternoon to honor one of its own.

With students, teachers, administrators, current and former coaches and a handful of community leaders in attendance, Wildwood High brought back one of its most famous graduates, current NBA head coach Frank Vogel, for a stirring ceremony in the school’s auditorium.

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Deeper OCHS football team looks for improvement

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Written by Brian Cunniff Tuesday, September 10, 2013 04:07 pm

Ocean City High School will start the 2013 football season on Saturday afternoon at 1 at Cedar Creek with a two-platoon starting lineup. For the first time in a long time, the Raiders have 11 starters on offense who are completely different from the 11 defensive starters.

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Raider boys soccer starts with victory

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Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, September 10, 2013 04:04 pm

The Ocean City High School boys soccer team started its season last week with a 5-0 win over Cumberland in a non-conference game. Coach Aaron Bogushefsky thought that was important.

“We needed to start the season with a statement game,” Bogushefsky (39-32-8 in four seasons) said. “We told the kids we had to come out strong and they did. We scored in the first 10 minutes and then got two more before halftime. We didn’t score much last season and we need to get back to where our opponents are worried about our offense.”

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Defending state champ OCHS hockey team opens Saturday

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Written by Tom Williams Tuesday, September 10, 2013 04:03 pm

The Ocean City High School field hockey team won the program’s eighth state championship last season. And six of the team’s top seven goal scorers from last year are back. So, a lot is expected of the team again this season.

“We know we’re the favorites,” said coach Cory Terry (61-3 in three seasons), “but our team had targets on our backs when I was playing. It’s almost always been like that for Ocean City field hockey. The girls need to take care of themselves, to do what they need to do every game, favorite or not.”

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