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Marquee Matchups: Teams head for a different kind of playoff season

Marquee Matchups: Teams head for a different kind of playoff season

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The fall season is winding down and many area high school teams are beginning to shift their focus from the regular season to the playoffs. COVID-19 has drastically changed the look of this postseason as sectional and state tournaments were abandoned temporarily in favor of regionally based tournaments. The Holy Spirit football team leads an area contingent of teams that will begin title runs this week. Here’s a quick look at some of the top games featuring local schools.


West Jersey Football League - Championship Pod

(3) Winslow Township (5-0) at (2) Holy Spirit (5-0)

6 p.m. Friday, Nov.13

Holy Spirit, the No. 1 team in The Press’ Elite 11, begins its quest to become the top team in the West Jersey Football League. The traditional sectional tournament was scrapped this year due to COVID-19, so instead conferences from around the state created regional tournaments. The Spartans won all five of their games this season to earn a spot in the WJFL’s championship pod. Spirit will host Winslow with the winner advancing to face the winner of the other semifinal between Lenape and Cherokee.

Patrick Smith leads the Spirit offense. One of the top running backs in South Jersey, Smith has run for 1,211 yards and 12 touchdowns in an abbreviated season. Trevor Cohen has thrown for 471 yards and five touchdowns. Michael Francisco and A’Johnnie Rembert lead the defense. Francisco has 17 tackles with three sacks and Rembert has nine tackles with a team-leading four sacks.

Field Hockey

South Group, East A — First Round

(10) Oakcrest (0-6-1) at (7) Cedar Creek (2-4)

Noon Saturday, Nov. 14

The intra-district rivals meet again in the first round of the East A bracket of the South Group. The Creek won 3-0 in the most recent meeting between the schools Oct. 7. Rachel Dutton led the way with two goals in that game. Paige Bonner added a goal and MaKenzie Baggstrom chipped in with two assists. Goalie Sidney Dunleavy had nine saves in the shutout. Katie Haye leads Oakcrest offensively with two goals this season. Cedar Creek has won four of the last five meetings between the teams.

Boys Soccer

South Group, West C — First Round

(9) Middle Township (4-4-1) at (8) Lower Cape May (5-3)

Noon Saturday, Nov. 14

The Cape May County schools square off in the first round of the playoffs. Lower and Middle played Oct. 10, with Lower holding on for a 1-0 win in that game. Jordan Pierce scored the game’s only goal on an assist from Miguel Valencia. Ryan Anderson had 16 saves for the shutout. Pierce has nine goals and six assists this season and Velencia has six goals and seven assists. Middle features a balanced attack as 11 different Panthers have scored this season. Max Gilbert has five goals and two assists. Senior Gavin Quinn has four goals and three assists.

South Group, West E — First Round

(13) Lenape (0-6-2) at (4) Egg Harbor Township (10-1)

Noon Saturday, Nov. 14

Egg Harbor Township is No. 7 in The Press’ Elite 11 and will look to end Lenape’s season for the second straight year. The Eagles beat Lenape 4-3 in the first round last season. Ahmad Brock is one of the most dynamic players in South Jersey and leads a deep Egg Harbor Township team. Brock has 21 goals and seven assists. Jayden Guy has eight goals and 11 assists, Dominik Warda nine goals and five assists and Niko Rubio seven goals and 10 assists.

Girls Soccer

South Group, East B — First Round

(9) ACIT (2-7) at Bridgeton (2-6)

2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16

ACIT travels to Bridgeton for the first round of the playoffs Monday. Arianna Young had four goals and an assist in a 5-1 win against Pleasantville on Nov. 5. Gabriella Cotto also scored. Goalkeeper Paola Bonilla-Gonzalez had five saves in the win. Young leads the team with six goals this season. The winner of the game between ACIT and Bridgeton will advance to face Millville on Wednesday. Millville is No. 6 in The Press’ Elite 11.

South Group, East A — First Round

(9) Wildwood (2-9) at (8) Lower Cape May (1-4)

2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 16

This first round pairing features a matchup of two Cape May County Schools. Lower Cape May has just one win during this abbreviated season but the Caper Tigers have one of the toughest schedules around and are better than their record shows. Joanna Bonney leads the team with two goals this season. Kaydence Oakley paces the Wildwood attack with nine goals and three assists this season. Jenna Hans has eight goals.

Regular Season

Absegami (7-3) at Cedar Creek (4-3-1)

4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 13

The intra-district rivals face off for the second time this season. Absegami won the first meeting 2-1 on Oct. 22 as Chimaka Wokocha scored both goals. Kylee Alvarez had an assist. Absegami goalie Rebecca Silipena is among the area leaders with five shutouts this season. Corrinne Morgan leads Cedar Creek with 14 goals this season. Goalkeeper Olivia Vanelli has four shutouts.

John O’Kane was a member of the sports staff at The Press of Atlantic City for 12 years. O’Kane was the recipient of the John Vogeding Memorial Award in 2019 for “excellence in journalism,” awarded to a member of the media for their contribution to the sport of wrestling.

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