By TOM WILLIAMS
Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 44-50 in his 10th season, the fourth most wins in Raider history. Cedar Creek’s Jim Melody is 0-2 in his first season. He was offensive coordinator at Union High School last year, the North Jersey Group 4 champions. Union is the school that built its football stadium on the roof of the school. Smith’s teams are 0-4 against Cedar Creek.
Cedar Creek Update: The Pirates have lost to Pleasantville, 21-19, and to Holy Spirit, 41-0. In the Spirit game, Patrick Smith ran for 362 for the Spartans to set a new Cape-Atlantic League record. Cedar Creek lost some valuable players to graduation, including QB Lou Barrios (2668 yards & 34 TDPs last year) and wide receivers Max Melton and Manny Reid (combined 1409 yards and 17 TDs last year). But they have a talented, young team led by junior JoJo Bermudez (5-10, 171), a first team all star last year and one of the most dangerous offensive threats in the CAL. Bermudez has scored three times this year, including a kickoff return. He scored 10 receiving TDs last year and also scored twice on defense. Taking over the quarterback spot is junior Dylan Simpson (5-11, 172), who has thrown for 191 yards over the first two games. Bermudez and senior Frank Hofman (5-8, 177) carry the ball and junior Elijah Smalls (6-3, 183) is a wide receiver. Senior Avani Martinez (5-10, 239) and juniors Kevin Dougherty (6-1, 212) and Perry Parker (5-10, 205) anchor the offensive line. On defense, junior C.J. Resto (5-11, 173) was a first team all star at middle linebacker last year and junior defensive end Will Marable (6-1, 242) was an all star. Senior kicker Taylor Manning (5-10, 168) has 99 career kicking points, including nine field foals. He is in the top 20 all-time in CAL kicking points.
Scoring Averages: Ocean City 48.5, Cedar Creek 9.5.
Defensive Averages: Ocean City 3.5, Cedar Creek 31.0
Tickets – and more: A total of 500 tickets have been distributed, 200 of them to Ocean City. Most of those have been made available to OCHS football players, band members and cheerleaders. There will be no tickets available at the stadium. If you do not have a ticket, do not come to Cedar Creek on Saturday. If you do have a ticket, you must be wearing a mask to enter the stadium. Players on the field may remove masks but all players, coaches and others on the sidelines must be wearing masks.
Live Radio: Live play-by-play will be broadcast over 97.3-ESPN, New Jersey’s No. 1 sports radio station.
Live Stream: Live video, including the radio play-by-play, produced by Matt Ulmer and Bill Shallcross, can be seen HERE, along with more than a decade’s worth of videos of other OCHS games.
History: Ocean City has never defeated Cedar Creek in four meetings. The Pirates won, 22-13, in 2017, the last time the two schools met.
Smith on Cedar Creek: “Cedar Creek will be the most athletic team we’ve faced yet. They are very fast at the skill positions and they are aggressive on defense. We have to do the fundamental things well – blocking and tackling – and not turn the ball over or give up big plays to beat them.”
What’s At Stake: Unless the NJSIAA reverses itself and allows championship playoffs to be held, there is nothing really at stake this season. And there are no formal divisions in the West Jersey Football League. This season is all about the student-athletes just getting a chance to play.
South Jersey Rankings: Ocean City is ranked #8 in The Online 25 rankings. Other CAL schools include #4 Holy Spirit, #5 Hammonton, #6 Millville, #7 St. Augustine and #9 St. Joseph. The complete list is HERE.
Other Rankings: Ocean City is ranked #21 in New Jersey by MaxPreps. Cedar Creek is #64. The Born Power Index makes Ocean City a seven-point favorite in the game.
Last week: The Ocean City-Oakcrest box score is HERE.
Next week: Ocean City will host Millville next Friday at 6pm. Cedar Creek will travel to Buena next Friday at 6pm. This week’s full schedule of CAL teams is HERE.