Few local teams have experienced the postseason success of the Holy Spirit High School football team the past five years.
The Spartans have won three state titles, including two in a row.
Spirit begins pursuit of another state title when it hosts Bishop Eustace at 7 p.m. today in a state Non-Public II quarterfinal.
The Spartans haven't had the calmest of seasons this year.
Coach John Iannucci took over the program and installed the triple-option offense. Spirit lost its fist two games - 22-20 to Hammonton in overtime and 7-0 to St. Joseph.
But after the St. Joe loss, Spirit won five of its next six games behind a stingy defense that has two shutouts and has allowed a touchdown or less in five of its eight games.
Linebacker Jeff Steeb and defensive back A.J. Dawson lead the defense. Each has returned an interception for a touchdown.
Eustace's season has gone the opposite of Spirit's. Eustace won its first two games but has lost six straight since.
Key players for Bishop Eustace: Conneer Bor, QB/DB, 50-of-112 for 721 yards and 109 carries for 345 yards and seven touchdowns; Roy Hansen, LB, 50 tackles, one interception; Jack Brandt, DE, two sacks; Myles Hauser, RB, 64 carries for 275 yards.
Key players for Holy Spirit: Taalib Gerald (above), RB, 85 carries for 530 yards; A.J. Dawson, RB/DB, 48 carries for 490 yards; T.J. Anderson, QB, 9-of-28 for 179 yards and two touchdowns; Liam Nolan, WR, 11 catches for 109 yards; Jeff Steeb, LB, three interceptions.
Keys to victory: There is no fancy game plan for Holy Spirit. The Spartans need to control the ball with their running game and rely on their stingy defense.
Who: Seventh-seeded Bishop Eustace (2-6) vs. second-seeded Holy Spirit (5-3)
When/where: 7 p.m. today at Holy Spirit
Radio: 94.3 FM
What's next: Winner advances to the semifinals the weekend of Nov. 30/Dec. 1 against the winner of tonight's quarterfinal between sixth-seeded Pingry (3-6) and third-seeded Holy Cross (4-4)
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