Raider Football – Thanksgiving Notes

By TOM WILLIAMS

It was an impressive way for the Raiders to end a successful season – with a shutout of their long-time rival. The Thanksgiving Day weather was pretty good, except for the stiff wind blowing toward the ocean. It caused a few passes to sail and there were three punts in the game that went 12 yards or less into the wind.

This marked the 98th time the two schools have met since the NJSIAA organized high school sports in 1918. That means the next time they play at Carey Stadium will be the 100th game. Hopefully the constant changes of high school football in New Jersey won’t force the game to be moved off Thanksgiving Day, where it belongs. These two schools have played on that holiday since 1921, except for five years the Greyhounds took off to rebuild their program.     

Defense: Pleasantville came into Thanksgiving averaging close to 30 points per game. Granted, they played most of the game without Ernest Howard, their leading scorer and strong defensive player who was hurt in the first half. And the Greyhound players had been through a traumatic experience when a deadly shooting interrupted their playoff game two weeks earlier. But Ocean City’s defense dominated the Thanksgiving game. Pleasantville ran the ball 27 times for a net 65 yards. Ten of those 27 plays lost yardage. The Greyhounds completed two of 12 passes for seven yards but Ocean City sacked freshman quarterback Marlon Leslie five times for 26 yards, giving their passing attack a minus-19 yards. Matt Christy, Will Drain, Mike Rhodes, Brad Jamison and Mike Williscroft were all involved in those sacks. That all works out to 28 total yards on 44 plays. It was an overwhelming performance.

King Kevin: In his nine years as Ocean City coach, Kevin Smith’s teams have beaten Pleasantville seven times. That is more than any other coach in school history. Ed Woolley and Fenton Carey won six times on Thanksgiving, Gary Degenhardt five times, Mike Slaveski four and both Fred Haack and Tony Galante did it three times. In addition, the last time the Raiders shut out the Greyhounds was in 2011, Smith’s first year, with a 39-0 win at Carey Stadium. Ocean City has three shutout wins on Thanksgiving in the last 30 years and Kevin Smith’s teams have two of them.

20 touchdowns: Junior Joe Repetti threw his 20th touchdown pass of the season early in the second quarter to Brad Jamison over the middle. He became the first OCHS quarterback in 101 years of football to throw that many in a season. Repetti came into the game tied with Al Genz, who threw 19 in 1998. Genz still holds the school career record with 30 but Repetti still has a season left.

The Two Jakes: Jake Schneider caught three passes for 55 yards on Thanksgiving, including a beautiful pass by Ted Grimley on a reverse play. Schneider finished the season with 46 catches (nine off Ryan Taylor’s school record) for 691 yards and 10 TDs. He shares the lead right now for most TD catches by a CAL receiver this year (though Cedar Creek and Holy Spirit players are tied with him and play once more on Sunday). Schneider increased his career receiving yards to 1,239, tied with Taylor for third in school history. He passed Rick Lipford on Thanksgiving. The other Jake (Inserra) was involved in five tackles against Pleasantville to finish as them leader with 90 (145 over two years). But Inserra emerged as a strong runner late in the season. In the last four games he gained 230 yards running the balls after gaining just 20 in the first eight games.

Red shoes: Brendan McGonigle made quite an impact as a sophomore kicker. He kicked two field goals against the Greyhounds, the 32-yarder the longest of his career. McGonigle had four field goals in four attempts this season, tied for the best by a CAL kicker in 2019. He was 34 for 38 kicking extra points, the second most in a season at Ocean City. He has 44 PATs in 49 attempts for his career, the fourth highest career total. And he has two full seasons ahead of him.

Oh, Henry: Ocean City had more good kickers than most teams this year and senior Henry Souto kicked the final extra point against Pleasantville. He was 4 for 4 this season and 12 for 15 during his career. Souto also kicked two field goals in two attempts. In fact, OCHS kickers have made nine straight field goals since the last miss in 2015. Senior Micah Waid, who kicked off at times this season, also kicked an extra point last year.

300 Points: The Raiders finished with 326 points, tying the 2000 team for the fifth most points in a season at OCHS. The 2019 Raiders also outscored opponents by 195 points, the fourth highest margin in school history.

The black pants: The Raiders finished 3-1 in their black uniform pants. They were 4-0 in red pants and 2-2 in white pants.

Kevin Smith says: “I was really proud of our guys for how hard they played. They wanted to send the seniors out the right way and they wanted to show that our playoff run was no fluke. We knew how good Pleasantville was and we wanted to end with a win over a good team. It’s a credit to the players that we were able to do that.”

Links: The complete Ocean City-Pleasantville stats are here. Final OCHS stat totals are here. The video of the game is here. Standings of CAL teams in the West Jersey Football League are here. Links to online coverage of this weekend’s games are here.

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