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LCM rebuilding under new coach

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 13, 2013 08:16 am

An almost entirely new coaching staff leading a team of almost entirely new players usually means a rebuilding season.

That’s exactly what the Lower Cape May Regional football team is facing in 2013.

Bill Miller, an assistant coach last season, takes over as head coach for a program that returns only two regular starters from a year ago in senior OL/DL Josh Fredericks and senior RB/DB Alek Soriano.

In addition, Fredericks and WR/LB John Campbell are the only two of the team’s six seniors who have played in the program for four seasons. And with only a handful of juniors in the program as well, this is obviously a very young team that will line up against Bridgeton on Friday evening for the team’s opener.

Miller, however, is certainly not promoting a doom-and-gloom outlook for the season.

“The one thing we’re seeing at practice every day and in our scrimmages is that the young kids are improving so much so fast and that really keeps us optimistic,” the coach said. “We’re going to need our juniors and seniors – even the inexperienced ones – to play like older kids and the young kids are going to have to keep stepping up. But it’s definitely a good situation (to rebuild with) younger kids.”

Read more: LCM rebuilding under new coach

   

Undermanned Warriors will give it a go

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Written by Brian Cunniff Friday, September 13, 2013 08:14 am

For the better part of two weeks, the talk surrounding the Wildwood High School football team wasn’t about how well it might do this season but was more about whether there would be a team at all.

After quite a few anxious days during which coaches and school administrators pushed, prodded, cajoled and did everything else they could to get a few more players out, Wildwood has decided to give it a go.

The Warriors will line up and play Saturday for their season opener. The real question, though, with so many players coming out late for the team, is whether the team is actually ready to play this weekend.

“We’re going to go out there and try our best,” said Wildwood coach Rich Hans.

As of last week, only approximately 12 players, sometimes less, were showing up for practices. That forced the team to cancel a scrimmage and the administration to consider folding the program for the season. But after about six to eight more players made the commitment to play, Hans said the team will have about 18 players in uniform for the game against the Clippers.

Read more: Undermanned Warriors will give it a go

   

Mainland beats Pleasantville in CAL opener cut in half by lightning

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Written by Bill LeConey Friday, September 13, 2013 01:03 am

mustang fans Matt Strabuk/MRHS seniors Rachel Liang, 17, of Linwood, Kara Brown, 17, and Lexy Leeds, 17, both of Northfield, cheer for the Mustangs. LINWOOD – It was only fitting that a football game full of quick strikes, quirky plays and unlikely heroes would end … at halftime.

And that the game’s final points would come off the foot of a kicker making his first-ever field-goal attempt in his first game taking over for the best kicker in Cape-Atlantic League history.

Just another surreal night in the Cape-Atlantic League.

Mainland Regional beat Pleasantville 23-18 Thursday in an abbreviated CAL opener at the Mustang Corral. The game was called at halftime because of numerous lightning strikes in the area and the threat of more severe weather on the way.

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Cape-Atlantic season kicks off tonight at Mainland's Corral

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 12, 2013 03:00 pm

Spirit Holy Spirit's Taalib Gerald is part of an offense that could once again dominate the CAL American Conference. The 2013 Cape-Atlantic League football season opens tonight at a fitting showcase for South Jersey high school football - the Mustang Corral at Mainland Regional High School in Linwood.

Mainland hosts Pleasantville in the interconference opener at 7 p.m., moved up a day to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

Read more: Cape-Atlantic season kicks off tonight at Mainland's Corral

   

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.

Read more: Pleasantville hopes to end its football drought this season

   

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.

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

   

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.

Read more: Egg Harbor Township pins high hopes on strength up front

   

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.

Read more: Mainland football looking for right mix to rise above average

   

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.

Read more: Plenty of returning stars brighten girls soccer landscape

   

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.

Read more: Boys soccer: Absegami looks to reload after mass exodus

   

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