EGG HARBOR CITY – Ahmir Mitchell of the Cedar Creek High School football team sat the first half Saturday afternoon because of a violation of team rules.

The first time the sophomore touched the ball in the third quarter he fumbled.

The next three times he touched it he scored.

Mitchell ran for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass to propel the Pirates to a 21-0 win over Ocean City in the season opener for both Cape-Atlantic League National Conference schools.

Mitchell performance establishes him as a player to watch in South Jersey. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Mitchell line up at running back and wide receiver on offense and played safety on defense.

Mitchell played as a freshman but he was overlooked because Cedar Creek had so many talented skill position players, including Ahmir’s older brother Damon, who started at quarterback. Damon  led the Pirates to a 10-2 record and the South Jersey Group II final last year. He was The Press Player of the Year and is now a freshman at Arkansas.

Like most teams on the first weekend of the season, both Ocean City and Cedar Creek entered their first game with questions.

Cedar Creek because it graduated so many standouts. Ocean City finished 3-7 last year but the Red Raiders won three of their last five games and wanted to see Saturday if they could build on that momentum.

Ocean City had its chances in the first half. The Red Raiders had the ball inside the Cedar Creek 30-yard line three times in the first half but couldn’t score.

Mitchell immediately turned the game in Cedar Creek’s favor when he entered the scoreless contest in the third quarter.

On his second carry, he sprinted down the sideline for a 69-yard touchdown to give the Pirates a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes, 24 seconds left in the third quarter.

On Cedar Creek’s next possession, Mitchell leaped over two Ocean City defenders to catch a 28-yard touchdown pass from Pirates freshman quarterback Jesse Milza.

Mitchell’s final touchdown came on Cedar Creek’s next possession when he ran 65 yards up the middle to give the Pirates a 21-0 lead with 5:06 left in the third quarter.

I've covered high school sports and variety of other events and teams - including the ShopRite LPGA Classic and the Phillies - since 1993.