The Barnegat High School football team finds itself in the same spot as last season.

The Bengals will play at West Deptford in a South Jersey Group III semifinal at 7 p.m. today.

Barnegat lost at West Deptford 56-7 in last year's South Jersey Group II semifinals.

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Barnegat players and coaches believe they are more prepared for tonight's game than they were for last year's matchup.

"You're always nervous (before a game)," Barnegat quarterback Mark McCoy said, "but it's not like we haven't played (legitimate) teams like West Deptford this year. We've been in playoff mode since week two."

Barnegat also believes it is better equipped to defend West Deptford's Wing-T offense this year. Defenders can have trouble finding and tackling ball carriers the first time they face a Wing-T offense.

Barnegat has won four straight and six of their last seven games. McCoy threw for 374 yards and three touchdowns as the Bengals beat Pt. Pleasant Borough 35-31 in last Friday's quarterfinal.

West Deptford, No. 10 in The Press Elite 11, has won six straight with the last five of those victories being shutouts. West Deptford's only defeat was 31-21 loss to top-seeded and undefeated Haddonfield on Sept. 30.

Key players for West Deptford: Gerald Towns, FB/DE; Josh Roane, OL/DL; Josh Cornelius, RB; Jamil Pollard, OL/DL; Jake Hannan, QB.

Key players for Barnegat: David Smithman, RB, 131 carries for 748 yards; Mark McCoy, QB, 84-of-144 for 1,576 yards and 14 touchdowns; Pat Moran, WR, 37 catches for 711 yards and five touchdowns; Ryan Morris (above), TE/LB, 15 catches for 290 yards; Matt Schofield, LB, 86 tackles; Chris Stoma, LB, 81 tackles.

Keys to victory: Barnegat needs to do what few teams have done against West Deptford this season - find a way to score points. The higher the score the better it is for Barnegat. The Bengals do not want to allow West Deptford to control the ball and clock with its powerful running game.

Michael McGarry

South Jersey Group II semifinal

Who: Third-seeded Barnegat Township (6-3) vs. second-seeded West Deptford (9-1)

Where/when: 7 p.m. today at West Deptford

Admission: $3 adults and $2 students and senior citizens

What's next: Winner advances to the final Dec. 3 at Rowan University against the winner of tonight's other semifinal between fourth-seeded Cinnaminson (7-2) and top-seeded Haddonfield (9-0).

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