Middle linebacker Matt Schofield became the leading tackler in Barnegat High School history last week.

This week, the senior will try to help the Bengals earn their first-ever home playoff game.

Barnegat (4-3) can put itself in position for a home playoff game with a win at Holmdel (1-6) at 7 p.m. today. The Bengals have already clinched a South Jersey Group II playoff spot. This will be their third playoff appearance, but they've never hosted a playoff game.

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The playoff fields will be officially announced Monday.

A three-year starter, the 5-foot-10 Schofield has 228 career tackles, having broken the previous record of 220 held by 2008 Barnegat graduate Mike Riley.

"I'm not the only one making tackles," Schofield said. "I was hoping after sophomore year (when he led the Bengals in tackles) to break (the career) record. It feels good. I like it."

Barnegat has been known as an offensive team in the past, but this year the Bengals have been sparked by their defense, especially in a 26-2 win over rival Lacey Township on Oct. 2.

Barnegat has not only clinched a playoff berth but could also win the Shore Conference B South title with a victory over Pinelands Regional on Thanksgiving. In a telephone interview Wednesday night, Schofield spoke about a number of topics.

On Barnegat's defense: In the past couple of years, we've blown a lot of games on defense. Being in the middle, I'll admit that. This year we've had goal-line stands. We get off the field. Our offense plays to our defense sometimes.

On the Bengals' defensive line: They've caused havoc in the backfield. They're making a lot of plays. They've been taking care of the offensive line. I've barely gotten blocked.

On the game that changed the Barnegat defense: It was against Lacey. They were on the 1-yard line and about to score. We stopped them on fourth down and we were like, 'Wow.'

On clinching a playoff spot: It feels good. We knew coming into the year that we would be a good team even though a lot of people didn't think we would. We made it to the semifinals last year. We want to do at least that this year.

On the prospect of a home playoff game: That's our next goal. It would be awesome. We pack the stands. It will be out of control.

On a middle linebacker he admires: Obviously, you have Ray Lewis (of the Baltimore Ravens). He's a beast. I don't necessarily look up to him. I don't know the guy. But I like watching him play.

As told to Michael McGarry

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