Raiders play for spot in SJ final

By TOM WILLIAMS

Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 40-49 in his ninth season as a head coach, fourth in OCHS history in wins. Long Branch’s Dan George is 143-88 in his 22nd season. He also has more than 400 victories as a wrestling coach.

Long Branch Update : The Green Wave is only 4-5 but all nine of its opponents (10 counting Ocean City) have qualified for the playoffs. They defeated a short-handed Highland, 33-3, in the first round. Senior Jermaine Corbett (5-9, 187) does a little bit of everything. He has five rushing touchdowns, three as a pass receiver, and has returned a kickoff, punt and interception for a score. Monmouth and Rutgers are interested in Corbett, who led the state with more than 2,000 rushing yards last year and scored 25 times. Senior Kyle Davidson (6-1, 188) is the quarterback, a transfer from Berean Christian School in Walnut Creek, California. He has thrown eight TDs and run for three others. Junior Jayon Farrar (5-10, 166) has caught three touchdown passes and junior Ba-Sean Fraser has caught two. Senior Jah’Kwan Gordon (5-11, 177) and junior Karon Laws (5-8, 150) have both run for two touchdowns. Seniors Tracey Taylor (6-2, 243), Matt Guidetti (6-3, 286) and Vince Mandica (6-2, 251) anchor the offensive line. In addition to Corbett in the secondary and Gordon at linebacker, the defense features end Jayson Glasper (6-1, 220), one of the top defensive linemen in the Shore Conference, and junior linebacker Andrew Conklin (5-11, 180). Junior kicker Santiago Cortes (5-9, 169) has kicked eight extra points in 15 tries.

OCHS Stats: The totals through nine games are here.

Offensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 31.0 per game, LBHS 23.1

Defensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 9.2 per game, LBHS 24.2

History: Ocean City and Long Branch have never played in football. It will an 85.8 mile trip for the Raiders (about 90 minutes) which is the sixth longest ride any Ocean City team has ever made to play football.

GPS: If you are going, set your satellite navigation system for 391 Westwood Avenue, Long Branch, 07740.

What’s At Stake: Advancing to the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 4 final. The winner of Friday night’s game will play the winner between Millville (5-4) and Shawnee (7-2) next weekend for the title.

Rankings/Predictions: On the MaxPrep website, OCHS is ranked #68 in the state (they moved up 17 places from last week) and #2841 in the nation. Long Branch is #60 in the state and #2652 in the USA. The Raiders are No. 25 in the Online 25 rankings, the Green Wave is not ranked. Those complete rankings are here. In the Born Index, Long Branch is favored by 8.3 points. NJ.com predicts a Long Branch win, 27-20.

Kevin Smith on Long Branch: “Long Branch is very fast and very physical. They are the two-time defending Group 4 champ in Central Jersey so they know how to win in big games. It will take our best effort to beat them.”

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 Bill Shallcross, and can be seen here, along with the videos of other OCHS games.

Next week: The winner will play for the NJSIAA Group 4 championship, either at Millville or at Shawnee. The loser will be off until Thanksgiving – Ocean City will host Pleasantville and Long Branch will visit Red Bank Regional on Nov. 28.

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