By TOM WILLIAMS
Coaches: Ocean City’s Kevin Smith is 48-50 in his 10th season, third in Raider history in victories behind Gary Degenhardt and Fenton Carey. DePaul Catholic’s John McKenna is 108-58 in his 16th season. McKenna has announced this would be his last season and he would become athletics director next year.
About DePaul Catholic: The Spartans have not played since Oct. 23 because of COVID concerns affecting them and opponents. The school is located in Wayne, right in the middle of the state – near Paterson. So, don’t be surprised if they look around at the beach and Boardwalk when they arrive. DePaul plays in the North Jersey Super Football Conference with Delbarton, Seton Hall Prep and Pope John. In the 16 years John McKenna has coached, they have played teams from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio and Florida. DePaul’s last game against a CAL team was in 2014 when they defeated Holy Spirit, 42-0, in a state final at Rutgers.
DePaul Update: The Spartans two losses came to #4 ranked Delbarton (24-14) and #5 Bergen Catholic (34-10). They defeated Pope John (31-0) and Seton Hall Prep (34-17). The Spartans returned 18 of 22 starters from last year’s Non-Public 3 state champions. Just the opposite of Ocean City’s last opponent, DePaul uses a pro-set passing attack. They have thrown the ball 105 times in their four games for 1,057 yards and run it 87 times for 358 yards. Senior quarterback Andrew Butler (6-5, 212) has completed 67 percent of his passes for seven TDs. He has been intercepted four times. Butler is considering Boston College, Wake Forest, Penn State and Rutgers. He has five receivers with 100 or more yards led by junior wide receivers Marshawn Ferguson (5-11, 177) with 252 yards and A’khoury Lyde (6-0, 182) with 227 yards and senior tight end Nuccio Lisitano (6-2, 221) with 218 yards and four TDs. Senior Jordan Sellers (5-9, 184) is the leading ground gainer with 197 yards. The offensive line is anchored by seniors Skylar DiFabio (6-2, 307) and Joshua Duran (6-6, 291). Senior safety Joe Fano (6-0, 182) and junior linebackers Qyaeir Price (6-2, 245) and Kenneth Pierce (6-0, 203) have combined for 83 tackles. Price also has 4.5 sacks and Lyde has three interceptions, one for a TD. Senior Matthew Wilderson (5-9, 182) is 11 for 12 kicking extra points and has two field goals, one from 45 yards.
Scoring Averages: Ocean City 42.2, DePaul 22.3.
Defensive Averages: Ocean City 6.2, DePaul 18.8
Complete OCHS five-week stats are HERE.
Tickets – and more: A total of 500 tickets have been distributed, around 300 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 Carey Stadium on Friday. If you do have a ticket, you must be wearing a mask to enter the stadium and stay 6-10 feet apart from other fans. Players on the field may remove masks but all players, coaches and others on the sidelines must be wearing masks.
Live Video Coverage: The video 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: These two schools have never met in football (probably in any sport). Ocean City will be the first public school DePaul has played football since Northern Highlands in 2014.
What’s At Stake: Just the state rankings. The two teams are very close in the NJ.com statewide rankings – OCHS is #14, DePaul #16. There are no NJSIAA playoffs or formal divisions in the West Jersey Football League. This season is really all about the student-athletes just getting a chance to play.
South Jersey Rankings: Ocean City is ranked #5 in The Online 25 rankings. Other CAL schools include #2 Holy Spirit, #6 St. Joseph, #8 St. Augustine, #14 Hammonton and #21 Millville. The complete list is HERE.
Other Rankings: Ocean City is ranked #6 in New Jersey by MaxPreps. DePaul is #11. The Born Power Index makes the Raiders a 6-point favorite in the game.
Last game: The Ocean City-St. Joseph box score is HERE.
Next week: Ocean City is at Pleasantville Thanksgiving morning. DePaul Catholic will host Paramus Catholic on Wednesday night.
This week’s full schedule of CAL teams, including cancellations, is HERE.