By TOM WILLIAMS
Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 38-48 in his ninth season as a head coach. Oakcrest’s Eric Anderson is 14-22 in his fourth season. Smith’s teams are 1-3 against the Falcons and Anderson’s are 2-1 against the Raiders.
Oakcrest Update : The Falcons defeated Bridgeton (31-0) and Middle Township (13-12). They lost to Hammonton (51-12), Highland (43-0), Egg Harbor Township (7-6), Cedar Creek (42-6) and challenged Mainland before losing, 21-14. Senior Angel Casanova (6-3, 186), a former successful wide receiver, is the quarterback. He has completed 34 percent of his passes for 565 yards and four touchdowns. He has been intercepted 11 times. Casanova is also the leading rusher with 307 yards and four TDs. Senior Nysere Dunlap (5-10, 199) has gained 120 yards and senior Josh Mensah (5-9, 169) has 110. The leading receivers are senior A.J. Reaves (6-3, 187) who averages over 37 yards per catch, and senior Sebastian Terrones (5-7, 162) who has 14 catches for 144 yards. The offensive line is anchored by senior tackle Amir Cherry (6-3, 222) and junior center Jack Walker (5-10, 257). Dunlap, a linebacker, leads the defense with 51 tackles, including 12 for losses, and junior tackle Angel Fisher (6-0, 374) makes it tough to run up the middle. Senior Imaari Andrews (6-2, 177) has returned a kickoff for a TD and has four interceptions, one for a score. Sophomore Dave Connelley (5-11, 161) has 10 kicking points (7 of 12 PATs) including a 36-yard field goal.
OCHS Stats: The totals through six games are here.
Offensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 36.3 per game, Oakcrest 11.7
Defensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 6.8 per game, Oakcrest 25.1
History: Ocean City leads the all-time series, 21-9, but Oakcrest has won two of the last three games including a 20-14 overtime victory last season at Carey Stadium.
What’s At Stake: The NJSIAA Power Ratings and the Independence Division of the West Jersey Football League. Ocean City is tied for first place in the division and needs the win to set up next Friday’s game at Mainland (7-0) as a virtual championship game. Oakcrest could move up into the top 16 in Group 3 if it upsets the Raiders.
NJSIAA Power Rankings: In the system used to determine playoff qualifiers, Ocean City moved up after the win over Triton. The Raiders come into this week as #9 in South-Central Group 4. If the playoffs started this week, the Raiders would travel to Middletown South (2-4). Oakcrest is #20 in Group 3 and would not qualify. The top 16 in each group qualify for the playoffs, which begin the second weekend in November.
Rankings: On the MaxPrep website, OCHS is ranked #87 in the state (they moved up 22 places from last week) and #3397 in the nation (706 places higher). Oakcrest is #199 in the state and #7613 in the USA. Neither team is currently in the Online 25 rankings, which are here.
Smith on Triton: “As always, Oakcrest is athletic. Their quarterback is a play-maker and their linebacker, No. 34 (Nysere Dunlap) is one of the best defenders we’ve seen this season. We will have to handle those two players to be successful.”
Special Event: The game is being played on Saturday afternoon as part of Oakcrest’s Open House starting at 10 a.m. for potential freshmen and their families.
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 Linwood on Friday for what it hopes is a showdown with Mainland. Oakcrest has a bye next weekend.