The Middle Township High School football team has emerged as one of the Cape-Atlantic League's most intriguing teams this fall.
The Panthers can take a big step toward defining their season when they play undefeated Cedar Creek at 1 p.m. Saturday in a CAL National Conference game.
Middle (3-2) has its most wins since it finished 3-7 in 2009. The Panthers' two defeats are to St. Augustine and Absegami, who have a combined record of 9-2.
Middle has already established itself as a talented spoiler. The Panthers can become contenders for the conference title with a win Saturday.
Here is a preview of Middle vs. Cedar Creek and the rest of this weekend's contests.
Middle Township (3-2) at Cedar Creek (5-0)
1 p.m. Saturday: Zack Vogelei ran for five touchdowns as Middle beat Ocean City 41-21 last Saturday. The Panthers also feature Nigel Case (59 carries for 437 yards). Quarterback Damon Mitchell leads Cedar Creek with eight touchdown runs and eight touchdown passes.
St. Augustine Prep (5-0) at Buena Regional (3-3)
7 p.m. today: These teams used to play the night before Thanksgiving. St. Augustine running back Calvin Cass leads the CAL in rushing with 116 carries for 1,107 yards. But defenses just can't focus on the run as Hermits quarterback Alex Hughes has completed 64 percent of his passes. Buena has dropped three straight.
Bridgeton (3-3) at Pleasantville (0-5)
7 p.m. today: Bridgeton is still in contention for a South Jersey Group III playoff spot. Bulldogs sophomore running back Stefon Bowman has rushed 95 times for 461 yards. Pleasantville defensive back Ronnell Moore returned an interception 60 yards for a touchdown for the Greyhounds' only touchdown in last week's 53-6 loss to Cedar Creek.
Vineland (2-3) at Ocean City (0-5)
7 p.m. today (98.7 FM): Vineland beat Lower Cape May 24-14 last Friday as sophomore running back Isaiah Spencer (57 carries for 502 yards this season) ran for two touchdowns. Ocean City features the running of Frank Woolley (188 carries for 474 yards).
Egg Harbor Township (2-3) at Millville (3-2)
7 p.m. today (1440 AM): Millville is No. 11 in The Press Elite 11. Both teams are South Jersey Group V contenders. Speedy Millville running back Rob Ennis has rushed 100 times for 669 yards and nine touchdowns. Quarterback Rashon Sorrell has thrown five touchdown passes - three of them to DeQuan Bowman. EHT has dropped two straight. Defensive lineman Eric Wiafe leads a physical EHT defense with 22 tackles.
Mainland Regional (2-3) at Hammonton (3-2)
7 p.m. today (94.3 FM): Both teams need a win to improve their South Jersey Group IV playoff chances. Mainland shut out Oakcrest 27-0 last Friday as Brett Edmunds ran for two touchdowns. The Mainland defense allows on average 14 points per game - third lowest in the conference. Hammonton relies on the running of David Williams (seven touchdowns) and passing of Christian Mortellite (five touchdown passes).
Holy Spirit (2-3) at Lower Cape May Regional (1-4)
7 p.m. today: Lower quarterback Frank Zeigler has rushed 128 times for 826 yards and seven touchdowns. He will be facing a Spirit defense that allows 12.4 points per game - fourth lowest in the CAL. Running back /defensive back A.J. Dawson averages 9.9 yards per carry.
Southern Regional (3-2) at Brick Memorial (5-1)
7 p.m. today: Southern looks to bounce back from last week's 21-19 loss to undefeated Lacey Township. The Rams face another tough opponent in Brick Memorial, which started 5-0 before losing to Toms River North 30-25 last week. Southern wide receiver Mike Gesicki averages 17.7 yards per catch. Linebacker Nick Munafo (33 tackles) leads a stingy Southern defense.
Barnegat (3-2) at Pt. Pleasant Borough (4-2)
7 p.m. today: This is a key game for Barnegat to stay in contention for the B South title as well as a South Jersey Group III playoff spot. The Bengals have won two straight. Quarterback Cinjun Erskine, a Holy Spirit transfer, made his Barnegat debut in last week's 16-7 win over Central Regional. He completed 4-of-8 passes for 45 yards and also ran 20 times for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Pinelands Regional (0-6) at Jackson Liberty (3-2)
7 p.m. today: Pinelands comes off a 42-0 loss to Monsignor Donovan. Jackson Liberty has dropped two straight.
Jackson Memorial (1-4) at Lacey Township (6-0)
1 p.m. Saturday: Lacey is No. 3 in the Elite 11. Quarterback Tom Kelly leads an offense that averages 42.3 points with 1,013 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes. Running back Kyle Spatz has rushed for 749 yards and 10 touchdowns.
West Jersey Football League
Wildwood (4-2) at Gloucester City (4-1)
7 p.m. today: Wildwood comes off a 32-20 loss to Schalick. Wildwood running back Wesley Hills has carried 143 times for 1,536 yards. Tonight's winner will take a big step toward making the South Jersey Group I playoffs.
Woodrow Wilson (0-5) at Cumberland Regional (2-4)
7 p.m. today: Cumberland made a late defensive stop to defeat Highland Regional 19-12 last Friday. Colts running back De'han Milledge (101 carries for 673 yards) sparks the Cumberland offense. Wilson has scored six points or less in three of its five losses.
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