Football playoff preview: No. 6 Pingry at No. 2 Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit quarterback T.J. Anderson looks for the hand off during their game against Millville held at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon. Photo/Dave Griffin

The Holy Spirit High School football team's season has unfolded in an odd way.

The Spartans have been among the best teams in South Jersey, but there have been disappointing losses to rivals St. Joseph and Atlantic City and no signature win.

Spirit can erase those disappointments in the next two weeks. The Spartans are two wins away from their third straight state title.

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Second-seeded Spirit hosts sixth-seeded Pingry (4-6) in a state Non-Public II semifinal at 7 p.m. today.

As has been the case all season, Spirit tonight will rely on one of the region's top defenses.

The Spartans have allowed a touchdown or less seven of 10 games. Spirit defeated Bishop Eustace 35-0 in the quarterfinals on Nov. 16.

Pingry (Somerset County) upset third-seeded Holy Cross 24-20 in the quarterfinals. It was just Pingry's second football playoff win in school history and its first since 1988.

Key players for Pingry: Tim Landers, QB/DB, 53-of-116 for 839 yards and six touchdowns; John Dugan, RB/DB, 147 carries for 729 yards and six touchdowns; Ryan Toomey, RB/LB, 106 carries for 531 yards and five touchdowns; Jordan Flannery, DL, 65 tackles; Kyle Walker, LB, three sacks.

Key players for Holy Spirit: Taalib Gerald; RB; Jeff Steeb, RB/LB; A.J. Dawson, RB/DB; T.J. Anderson, QB; Liam Nolan, WR; Steve Domonoski, OL.

Keys to victory: Holy Spirit doesn't have to do anything that it hasn't done in any of its other wins. The Spartans will try to use their stingy defense to shutdown Pingry. On offense, Spirit will try to minimize turnovers and move the ball behind the running of Dawson, Gerald and Steeb and some timely passes from Anderson.


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