Nine CAL football teams still alive in playoffs

By TOM WILLIAMS

Nine football teams from Cape-Atlantic League schools have more NJSIAA playoff action ahead after the first week of competition.

Only one CAL team (Absegami) lost a playoff game to a non-CAL school while another (Mainland) played in a game where one CAL team was sure to lose.

Vineland (5-4) rallied to defeat Southern on Friday and will now meet top-seeded Williamstown (9-1) in the Group 5 South semifinals. The two teams met in early September with Williamstown winning a 28-7 decision. The winner will meet the winner of the other semifinal between Hillsborough (8-2) and Lenape (9-1).

In Group 4 South, Ocean City (7-2) will travel to Long Branch (4-5) in one semifinal after holding on for a thrilling win over rival Mainland. Long Branch took advantage of a situation to win a 33-3 victory over Highland, which lost 17 players from its team to suspensions after a school fight. Long Branch won Group 4 Central the last two seasons before being moved into the South bracket. The OCHS-Long Branch winner will face the winner of the other semifinal which finds Millville (5-4) at two-time defending champion Shawnee (7-2).

In Group 2 Central, Pleasantville (8-1) will host Camden (7-2) in one semifinal and Cedar Creek (8-2) will host Bernards (8-1) in the other.

We can probably expect a high-scoring game in one Group 1 Central semifinal between Buena (8-2) and Willingboro (9-1). Buena advanced with a 63-10 win on Friday and Willingboro won its game, 61-0.

Two Non-Public CAL schools will see their first action this week when Holy Spirit (4-4) will host St. Mary (4-5) in Non-Public 2 on Friday and St. Augustine (6-3) will travel to Seton Hall Prep (8-1) on Saturday in Non-Public 4.

St. Joseph (8-1) will be idle again this week and will finally make its playoff debut on Saturday, Nov, 23 in Non-Public 2 against the Morris Catholic-Immaculate Conception winner.

One other area team, that is no longer a CAL school, moved into the semifinals. Hammonton (8-2) will host Middletown South (4-4) in Group 4 Central.

So, the second round of the football playoffs has one rematch, an over two-hour bus ride for St. Augustine, a 90-minute trip by Ocean City and the possibility in three groups (Group 4, Group 2 and Non-Public 2) that two teams from CAL schools could meet for the championship.

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