By TOM WILLIAMS
Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 37-47 in his ninth season as a head coach. St. Augustine’s Pete Lancetta is 228-77-2 in his 29th overall season, 13-12 in his 3rd season at The Prep. He ranks second all-time in wins at CAL schools and is 7th all-time in South Jersey. Smith’s teams are 0-5 against St. Augustine and Lancetta’s are 7-0 against the Raiders, including six wins while at Hammonton.
St. Augustine Update : The Hermits upset St. Joseph (28-12) and lost to State College PA (20-17), Lenape (20-7) and Shawnee (14-7 in OT) – a very tough schedule. And all four games were on the road. Sophomore Austin Leyman (6-1, 180) is the quarterback. He has completed 43 percent of his passes for 227 yards and one TD. He has been intercepted twice. Sophomore Nasir Hill (5-11, 189) leads the team in rushing (151 yards, 2 TDs) and receiving (175 yards, 1 TD). But The Prep has another big offensive weapon (with emphasis on “big”) in senior Isaiah Raikes (6-1, 321), whom they use in short-yardage situations. A Texas A&M recruit, Raikes has gained 131 yards and scored once. Raikes is a tackle on defense and joins linebacker Adam Heston (6-1, 191) and defensive back Tom McLeer (5-11, 154) on that side of the ball. The offensive line is anchored by junior Jake Ketschek (6-4, 308) and senior Chandler Bird (6-1, 278). Junior Luke Snyder (5-7, 139) is 8 for 8 on extra points and has a 38-yard field goal. St. Augustine will have two transfers available Friday night who will be playing for the first time after sitting out the NJSIAA required 30 days – sophomore running back Kanye Udoh (6-0, 202) from St. Joseph and junior wide receiver Carnell Davis (6-1, 168) from Absegami. More than 20 colleges are pursuing Davis including Penn State, Auburn and West Virginia.
OCHS Stats: The totals through four games are here.
Offensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 42.5 per game, Prep 14.8
Defensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 1.5 per game, Prep 16.5
History: St. Augustine leads the series, 5-0, against the Raiders, including a 38-6 win at Carey Stadium last year.
What’s At Stake: The NJSIAA Power Ratings. This is not a division game in the West Jersey Football League. Ocean City is in first place in the Independence Division and St. Augustine is in 5th place in the American Division. Because of the NJSIAA’s “Non-Public Multiplier” the Raiders will get a lot of points for playing the game, win or lose. And The Prep can benefit from beating a Group 4 school with four wins.
NJSIAA Power Rankings: In the system used to determine playoff qualifiers, Ocean City actually dropped after the win over Absegami. The Raiders come into this week as #17 in South-Central Group 4. If the playoffs started this week, the Raiders would not qualify (the top 16 do). St. Augustine is #10 in Non-Public 4 and would open at Delbarton. The playoffs begin the second weekend in November.
Rankings: Ocean City is ranked #23 in the Online 25, appearing in those rankings this year for the first time since 2001. St. Augustine is #5. The Online 25 is the only ranking that includes all of the teams who might play for a South Jersey championship, even those who are generally thought to be Central Jersey schools. On the MaxPrep website, OCHS is ranked #91 in the state and #3431 in the nation. St. Augustine is #30 in the state and #1200 in the USA. The full Online 25 rankings are here.
Smith on St. Augustine: “Against Absegami, we were physical up front and did a good job running the ball and stopping the run. That’s good recipe for success. We’ll have to do the same against The Prep. We can’t let them pound away on us. We need to match their physicality and play fast to have success.”
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 have a bye. The Raiders will host Triton on Oct. 18. The Prep hosts Rancocas Valley next Friday.