By TOM WILLIAMS
Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 36-47 in his ninth season as a head coach. He is tied with Mike Slaveski for the fourth most wins in Raider history. Absegami’s Dennis Scudari Jr. is 56-76 in his 14th over all season, 54-58 in his 12th season at Absegami. He also coached two seasons at Middle Township. Smith’s teams are 3-2 against Absegami and Scuderi’s are 4-3 against the Raiders.
Absegami Update: The Braves lost to Mainland (26-7) and Cedar Creek (48-20) but both games were tied in the third quarter. Sophomore Ray Weed (5-9, 179) is the quarterback. He has rushed for 98 yards and has scored a touchdown. He has completed 42 percent of his passes for 324 yards and two TDs. As a freshman last year, he threw 10 TDs and ran for five. Weed was also a district wrestling champion. Junior Jordan Marcucci (5-10, 188) has caught one TD pass and returned a kickoff for a score. Junior Ryan Wilkins (5-10, 176) also has caught a touchdown. Senior Quin McLaughlin (5-10, 186) is the primary running back. Absegami returned four starters on the offensive line led by senior Dan Panegos (6-0, 244). The defense is anchored by junior Isaac Ingram (6-1, 193), an all star defensive end last year Sophomore A.J. Silipinia (5-8, 163) is the Absegami kicker.
OCHS Stats: The totals through three games are here.
Offensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 42.0 per game, AHS 13.5
Defensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 0.0 per game, AHS 37.0
History: The Raiders lead Absegami, 16-15, in the all-time series with one tie. Ocean City has won the last two years, including a 9-0 win in Galloway Township last year.
What’s At Stake: Ocean City is 2-0 and in first place in the Independence Division of the West Jersey Football League. Absegami lost its only division game. If the Raiders win they will not play another division game until the end of October at Oakcrest and Mainland in back-to-back weeks. A win by the Braves would keep them alive in the division race.
NJSIAA Power Rankings: In the system used to determine playoff qualifiers, Ocean City comes into this week as #16 in South-Central Group 4. If the playoffs started this week, the Raiders would be at Brick Township (1-2) in the first round of the Central Jersey playoffs. Absegami is #22 in Group 3 and would not qualify. The playoffs begin the second weekend in November.
Rankings: Ocean City is ranked #23 in the Online 25, the team’s first appearance in the rankings since 2001. On the MaxPrep website, OCHS is ranked #119 in the state and #4033 in the nation. Absegami is #226 in the state and #7979 in the USA. The full Online 25 rankings are here.
Smith on Absegami: They will be the best team we have faced so far. On offense, they throw the ball well and have a physical rushing attack. On defense, they are tough up front. It will be a big challenge for us. We will have to play four good quarters to win.
Live Radio: The game will be broadcast live on 106.3 FM and can be heard online here.
Live Video: The audio from the radio broadcast will be part of live video, produced by Matt Ulmer and Bill Shallcross, and can be seen here, along with the videos of other OCHS games.
Next week: Ocean City will travel to Richland next Friday night to play St. Augustine Prep in a non-division game. The Prep is currently ranked #6 in the Online 25. Absegami goes to Hammonton next Friday night.