Barnegat High School quarterback Mark McCoy, left, looking for some room to run during a game against Lacey Township last month, has thrown for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns this season heading into tonight's playoff game.

Anthony Smedile, Oct. 8, 2011

Barnegat plays its first home playoff game tonight.

Its opponent won't have far to travel.

The Bengals host Shore Conference rival Point Pleasant Borough.

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Barnegat started 0-2 but has won five of its last six games. The Bengals have been known for their offensive prowess in the past. But this year's team features a stingy defense.

Point Pleasant comes off an impressive defensive performance. The Panthers clinched a playoff spot with a 36-0 win over Manchester Township last Friday.

Key players for Point Pleasant Borough: John Dunbar, QB, 146 caries for 961 yards and 15 touchdowns; Jack Vitale, RB; Chris Oliphant, DB; Kurt Van Benschoten, MLB.

Key players for Barnegat: David Smithman (above), RB, 114 carries for 658 yards; Mark McCoy, QB, 72-of-124 for 1,202 yards and 11 touchdowns; Pat Moran, WR, 32 catches for 536 yards and four touchdowns; Ryan Morris, TE/LB, 14 catches for 282 yards; Matt Schofield, LB, 77 tackles and three sacks; Vinny Calderon, DL, 46 tackles and 3½ sacks; Jordan Salt, DB, five interceptions.

Keys to victory: Barnegat must find a way to slow Point Pleasant's triple-option offense. The Bengals haven't seen that offense since they faced Monsignor Donovan in a preseason scrimmage.

On offense, Barnegat's passing game could give Point Pleasant troubles.

Who: Sixth-seeded Pt. Pleasant Borough vs. third-seeded Barnegat (5-3)

When/where: 7 p.m. today at Barnegat

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

Radio: 105.7 FM

What's next: Winner advances to next weekend's semifinals against the winner of tonight's quarterfinal between seventh-seeded Pemberton and second-seeded West Deptford.


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