It’s the South Jersey Group 4 championship game

By TOM WILLIAMS

Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 41-49 in his ninth season as a head coach, fourth in OCHS history in wins. Shawnee’s Tim Gushue is 260-121-6 in his 35th season, fourth among active South Jersey coaches and fifth all-time.

Shawnee Update: Shawnee has one common opponent with the Raiders – the Renegades defeated St. Augustine Prep, 14-7, in overtime and Ocean City lost to The Prep, 35-3. The St. Augustine team that OCHS played, however, included two significant transfer players who were not playing against Shawnee. The Renegades two losses were to Woodrow Wilson (48-0) and Williamstown (17-0), both at home. Sophomore Matt Welsey (5-10, 182) is the Renegades’ quarterback and is highly rated. He has completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,365 yards and nine touchdowns. Senior Jake Barnett (6-0, 183) is the leading running back with 526 yards and 11 touchdowns. Senior Jaylen Horsley (5-7, 147) has 220 yards and three TDs and Welsey has run for five scores. Junior Nate Summerville (6-5, 199) presents problems because of his height. He has caught 33 passes for 594 yards and three TDs. Senior Dom Frigiola (5-11, 177) has 20 catches for 313 yards and two scores and senior Dalton Short (6-2, 200) has 15 catches for 163 yards and three TDs. Seniors Alex Pfeiffer (6-3, 261), Lee Simms (6-4, 332) and Brett Hilgetag (6-1, 275) anchor the offensive line. On defense, senior Matt Papa (6-3, 207) has 82 tackles and has recovered four opponents fumbles, twin brother Tom Papa (6-3, 194) has 43 tackles and four sacks and Short has 62 tackles. Junior kicker Oliver Stern (6-4, 185) has kicked 27 of 30 extra points and has four field goals, the longest from 39 yards.

OCHS Stats: The totals through 10 games are here.

Offensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 30.0 per game, Shawnee 24.5

Defensive Scoring Averages: OCHS 10.3 per game, Shawnee 14.9

History: Ocean City and Shawnee have played just once in football – in the 1996 South Jersey Group 4 championship game at The College of New Jersey. Ocean City won that game, 27-7, in a rain storm.

GPS: If you are going, set your satellite navigation system for 600 Tabernacle Road, Medford, 08055.

What’s At Stake: The South Jersey Group 4 championship. Ocean City is seeking its fifth playoff football title (its first since 1999) and enters the game with an overall record of 15-14 in playoff games. Shawnee has won eight championships (including 2017 and 2018) and has a 38-14 record in playoff games.

Rankings/Predictions: On the MaxPrep website, OCHS is ranked #47 in the state (they moved up 21 places from last week) and #1923 in the nation. Shawnee is #17 in the state and #823 in the USA. The Raiders are No. 21 in the Online 25 rankings and the Renegades are No. 14. Those complete rankings are here. In the Born Index, Shawnee is favored by 11.7 points.

Kevin Smith on Shawnee: “They are two-time defending champions for a reason. They are big, strong, disciplined and well-coached. We will have to play our best game of the season 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: Ocean City will host Pleasantville Thanksgiving morning and Shawnee will travel to Lenape for its Thanksgiving Day game. The winner of the OCHS-Shawnee game will also play the Central Jersey Group 4 champ – either Hammonton or Jackson Memorial – the weekend of Dec. 6-8, probably at either MetLife Stadium or Rutgers, in a “bowl game”.

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