Atlantic County Current Sports

Memories of a wild and woolly opening night

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 18, 2014 02:34 pm

calopen1 Matt Strabuk/Mainland Regional quarterback Sam Jackson tosses a pass in the first quarter against Millville. It was an exciting opening night of the Cape-Atlantic League football season on Friday, Sept. 12.

These images - by photographers Matt Strabuk, Mike Schultz, Bill LeConey and Laura Stetser - captured just some of the drama and pageantry of high school football in South Jersey. Hopefully, they’ll get you in the mood for another full slate of games coming up this weekend. (Scroll down for more photos).

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Pleasantville boys soccer on the upswing

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 18, 2014 01:19 pm

pvillesoccer1 Bill LeConey/Pleasantville’s Emilio Cortes (17) tries to keep the ball in along the sidelines against Middle Township on Sept. 16. PLEASANTVILLE – Despite a shutout loss to conference power Middle Township on Sept. 16, the Pleasantville High School boys soccer team is off to one of the most promising starts in program history.

Middle, the defending South Jersey Group II champion, won the Cape Atlantic League National Conference game, 4-0, as Joe Fala scored two goals. Trent Canter and Mikey Roselli scored the other goals, and Nick Anagnou earned the shutout as the Panthers improved to 3-0-2.

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Oakcrest girls win latest edition of 'sibling' rivalry

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 17, 2014 03:21 pm

oakgamisoccer1 Bill LeConey/Collisions like this one are the norm when Oakcrest meets Absegami on the soccer field. HAMILTON TOWNSHIP – Inter-family squabbles are often the most heated, and there’s no exception when it comes to girls soccer games between Oakcrest and Absegami high schools.

That’s why Oakcrest coach Jason Hearn had mixed emotions after his team’s 4-1 win over Absegami in a Cape-Atlantic League game on Sept. 11.

Hearn was very pleased with how his girls played, but not so happy about some of the “extra-curricular” activities that went on between the two teams, who are both members of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School District.

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Girls tennis: Mainland, Absegami, Spirit look strong

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 17, 2014 02:47 pm

girlstennis Bill LeConey/Atlantic City doubles player Janey Kogan returns a volley in the season-opening loss to Ocean City. Capsule previews of Current-area girls tennis teams:

Atlantic City

Coach: Melissa Mathis

2013 record: 3-15

The Vikings will count on talented freshmen Isabella and Gabby DeStefano as their top singles players as they look to improve on last year’s record. Seniors Sierra Jordan and Janey Kogan bring experience and leadership. “There is tremendous athletic ability and experience on our team,” Mathis said. “The girls are determined and mentally motivated.”

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Egg Harbor Township opens new era with dramatic victory

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Written by Bill LeConey Saturday, September 13, 2014 01:17 am

ehtac1 Bill LeConey/EHT quarterback Kyle Houghton unloads a pass as Atlantic City's Malik Pannell closes in. ATLANTIC CITY - Kevin Stetser said before the season started that it was time for the Egg Harbor Township High School football program to win again.

Not just to compete, not to play for the tie and overtime on the road – but to win.

In his wildest dreams, he probably didn’t expect it to happen quite like this, right off the bat.

“It was amazing, it really was,” Stetser said after his team rallied for a dramatic 28-27 victory over Atlantic City Friday in his debut as head coach.

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Greyhounds hope to build on last year’s breakthrough

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 11, 2014 02:57 pm

pville1 Bill LeConey/Pleasantville quarterback Che’quan Hargrose hands off to running back Ishmail Shakur during a scrimmage against Penns Grove. PLEASANTVILLE – Going into last season, the Pleasantville High School Greyhounds were just looking to break into the rarified air of victory.

But after snapping a 35-game losing streak, and capping their three-win season with a victory over Ocean City on Thanksgiving Day, you can forgive the Greyhounds for wanting more.

“Last year we won three games, and we're looking to build off of that,” coach David Dudley said before a three-way scrimmage last month against Penns Grove and Hammonton.

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CAL National: Right place at right time for Oakcrest

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 11, 2014 02:14 pm

oakpreview Mike Schultz/Oakcrest quarterback Kendall Elliott threw for nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns as a freshman last season. Oakcrest High School football coach Chuck Smith says his team “took its lumps” the last couple years, playing mostly underclassmen in a big-school Cape-Atlantic League American Conference.

Now, Smith says it’s time for the Falcons to turn the tables and start dishing out some lumps of their own.

“It was tough,” Smith said in a recent interview. “Any time you start a freshman, it’s hard, and we were starting six or seven freshmen against St. Joe’s, Millville, Holy Spirit … They learn fast, and hopefully this is the year all that hard work pays off. They’re juniors and seniors, they’ve been playing a lot of football. They’re game-ready.”

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Absegami expects growing pains mixed with success

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Written by Bill LeConey Thursday, September 11, 2014 12:04 pm

gamipreview Bill LeConey/Absegami High School coach Dennis Scuderi Jr., left, and senior quarterback Tyler Welch. GALLOWAY - Absegami High School football coach Dennis Scuderi Jr. says he is excited about the future of his football program.

How soon that future will arrive is a big question mark for the young and inexperienced Braves, who will feature only three or four “impact” seniors, including a quarterback converted from a wide receiver.

“We’re young on both sides of the football,” Scuderi said. “Four of the starting offensive linemen are sophomores. We’re young in the backfield, with sophomores and juniors. It just depends on how fast our young skill can develop.”

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Vikings ready to ‘climb the mountain’ once again

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 10, 2014 03:07 pm

ACpreview Bill LeConey/Atlantic City coach Thomas Kelly says the “sky is the limit” for junior quarterback Jamir Prevard, shown here in a scrimmage last month against Cedar Creek. ATLANTIC CITY – In Thomas Kelly’s four years as head coach of the Atlantic City High School football team, the Vikings have always been willing to accept any challenge head-on.

It’s no different this year, as the Vikings open a new season Friday, Sept. 12 with a young team against one of the toughest schedules in South Jersey.

“We’re Atlantic City, so we expect the hard way, we expect the mountain to climb,” Kelly said. “If we do what we’re supposed to do, I think that we can compete in every single game. If the Vikings show up to play Vikings football, we’ll be just fine.”

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Field hockey preview: Vikings take to turf in coach’s debut

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 10, 2014 02:02 pm

fieldhockey1 Bill LeConey/Atlantic City’s Abby Anmuth (left) and Oakcrest’s Teagan Hay compete for possession of the ball during the Cape-Atlantic League opener on Sept. 5. ATLANTIC CITY - The Atlantic City High School field hockey team began a new era Friday afternoon, Sept. 5, playing its first game on the artificial turf field at the Jack Eisenstein Athletic Complex, and its first game under new coach Ali Juliano.

The debut was a successful one for Juliano and the Vikings, who beat Oakcrest 4-1 in the Cape-Atlantic League opener for both teams.

Junior Lillie Cutugno scored two goals for the Vikings, while senior Abby Anmuth had a goal and two assists. Kiersten Campbell scored the other AC goal, and Logan Day scored the lone goal for Oakcrest, denying the shutout bid by AC goalie Izzy Turner.

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Boys soccer preview: Second-half surge lifts EHT in opener

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Written by Staff Reports Wednesday, September 10, 2014 11:27 am

boyssoccer1 Mike Schultz/EHT's Kyle Sullivan (left) and Andrew Fernandes team up to steal the ball from Absegami's Randy Merced along the sidelines. Sullivan, a senior captain, scored a goal and had an assist in the win. EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - The Egg Harbor Township boys soccer team defeated Absegami 3-1 Friday Sept. 5 in the Cape-Atlantic League opener for both teams. EHT's Kyle Sullivan, a senior captain, scored a goal and had an assist in the win.

The teams played a scoreless first half before Gami's Andrew Griggs scored the first goal. EHT answered with a quick goal from junior captain Enrique Fiallos. EHT's Jon Gjyleri scored what proved to be the game winner at 27:25 of the second half when he hit a ball with his left foot that rolled sharply past Absegami goalkeeper Drew Roesch and found the corner of the net. Sullivan added his goal late in the second half to put the game out of reach.

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Mainland girls open season in aftermath of tragedy

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 10, 2014 10:35 am

maingirlssocc1 Bill LeConey/Players from the Mainland Regional and Cape May Tech girls soccer teams hold hands for a short ceremony honoring the memory of former Mainland student-athlete Aisling Cooke before Tuesday’s game. LINWOOD - The game began under cloudy skies and a threat of rain Tuesday at Mainland Regional High School, which fit the mood of a team and a community still dealing with the tragic loss of a young teammate and student.

The Mainland girls soccer team played its first game since the death of freshman Aisling Cooke, who passed away Tuesday, Sept. 2 as a result of injuries sustained in a three-car crash along Rte. 40 in Hamilton Township. She was traveling with her Mainland soccer teammates to a 3 on 3 tournament in Richland when the accident occurred.

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Girls soccer: New season brings new faces, new format

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Written by Bill LeConey Wednesday, September 10, 2014 10:18 am

girlssoccer1 Mike Schultz/The Egg Harbor Township girls battled Middle Township in a Cape-Atlantic League game on Sept. 8. The Cape Atlantic League has changed the way a conference championship is acquired in soccer, doing away with the divisions within the conferences. In the case of the American Conference girls, there are only seven schools, so they will play home and away for twelve games that count towards the championship. In the National, teams will only play once against every other school in games that count towards the championship. There will also be five add-on games that do not count but should be played.

Here are capsule previews of the Current-area girls soccer teams:

Egg Harbor Township

Coach: Christian Wiech

2013 record: 11-6-1

The program is hoping to build off of last year’s CAL American Conference Division 1 title. This is a very senior heavy roster with a lot of young talent. Lexi Magruder should continue to climb the school ranks in goals scored (currently tied for fifth with 18 goals). Stephanie Auble and Rachel Lucia are senior captains and commanders of the midfield, while Camille Howarth is a dominant outside defender.

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Cedar Creek smothers Cedar Grove in steamy opener

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Written by Bill LeConey Sunday, September 07, 2014 12:29 pm

creek1 Bill LeConey/Cedar Creek's Owen Bowles closes in on Cedar Grove ball-carrier Nick Zirolo during the first quarter of Saturday's game. EGG HARBOR CITY – The Cedar Creek Pirates have the word “EAT” emblazoned in big gold letters on the backs of their helmets.

It stands for “Effort. Attitude. Tenacity.” But it could easily reflect the Green Gang’s gluttonous appetite for punishing the opposition on defense, and chewing up yardage on offense.

The Pirates feasted on every section of the buffet Saturday in a 41-0 season-opening win over Cedar Grove of Essex County. The defense was as smothering and oppressive as the July-like heat, and the offense thrived with big plays on the ground and in the air.

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