Ocean City, high school cuts ribbon on turf

The Ocean City School District and the city hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept. 23 for the new turf field at Carey Stadium.

By BILL BARLOW

College football fans can get a peek at two teams from the region late next week.

Villanova University and Rowan University will each hold separate workouts on back-to-back days at Carey Stadium in Ocean City. Both events are free to the public.

Villanova, an NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) team, will hold an open practice and scrimmage at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 18. Rowan, a Division III program, will host its annual Brown & Gold Scrimmage the next day at 10 a.m.

Villanova, a member of the Colonial Athletic Association, finished 9-4 overall and advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs last season.

Villanova features lots of local links. Lower Cape May Regional graduate Matt Szczur was a star football player for the Wildcats in the mid 2000s. He’s now playing baseball for the San Diego Padres. The team’s current roster also has a handful of local products, including Millville’s Ed Shockley and Holy Spirit’s Jeff Steeb.

“There are quite a few Villanovans who have houses in Ocean City, Sea Isle City and Avalon,” Villanova coach Mark Ferrante told the Press of Atlantic City. “We’ve had a lot of open practices on our campus the last few Augusts but we didn’t get the traffic we would have liked. So we decided to take the practice to the vacationers.”

Villanova is scheduled to open its regular season Sept. 2 at Lehigh.

Rowan is holding its intrasquad scrimmage in Ocean City for the sixth straight year. Prior to the scrimmage, the Profs will hold a social gathering for alumni at 8 a.m. at Carey Stadium.

Rowan, a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference, finished 6-4 in 2016. The Profs feature several players from the traditional Cape-Atlantic League area, including Eric Morrison (Egg Harbor Township); Dashown Waller (Mainland Regional); Franco Rifici (Holy Spirit); Chris Henchy (Absegami); Kevin Stokes (Oakcrest); and St. Augustine graduate Christian Dawkins, a resident of Ocean City.

Rowan is scheduled to open its season with a home game against Widener on Sept. 2.