The high school football regular season culminates this weekend. The playoff fields in each enrollment group will be determined after this weekend's games.
Holy Spirit (7-0), Atlantic City (6-1), Hammonton (5-2), Lacey Township (8-0) and St. Joseph (6-1) already have clinched spots. Egg Harbor Township (5-2), Barnegat (4-3); Absegami (4-3), Millville (4-3), Oakcrest (6-2) and Lower Cape May Regional (5-2) are all in contention.
The top eight teams with most power points in each enrollment group make the playoffs. Teams earn power points based on their opponents' wins and enrollment. Here is a preview of this weekend's games (Millville-A.C. is separate story):
Pleasantville (0-7) at Lower Cape May Regional (5-2)
2 p.m. Saturday: Lower would clinch a South Jersey Group II playoff berth with a win. Lower beat Pleasantville 47-6 on Sept. 24. Caper Tigers quarterback Mike Mulligan has completed 48-of-120 passes for 682 yards and nine touchdowns. Jim Hall (92 carries for 540 yards) sparks Lower's running game.
Hammonton (5-2) at Absegami (4-3)
7 p.m. today (97.3 FM): Hammonton needs a win to clinch a first-round home game in the S.J. Group III playoffs. Absegami would take a big step toward qualifying in S.J. Group IV with a win. Hammonton running back Jared Sanchez is one of the CAL's most versatile players with 473 rushing yards and 172 receiving yards.
Holy Spirit (7-0) at St. Augustine Prep (2-5)
7 p.m. today: Spirit is No. 1 in The Press Elite 11. Spartans running back Donta Pollock has rushed for 1,095 yards and 18 touchdowns. Spirit's Nigel Jones averages 7.17 yards per carry. Quarterback Joe Callahan has thrown for 776 yards and 10 touchdowns. St. Augustine comes off its first win of the season - a 38-23 victory over Millville. Hermits running back John Barillo rushed for 242 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Barillo has gained 711 yards on the season.
Mainland Regional (0-7) at Bridgeton (4-4)
7 p.m. today: Both teams have been frustrated by off-field events. Mainland forfeited four wins this week for using an ineligible player. Bridgeton was banned from the playoffs last week because it had four players ejected in an Oct. 22 win over Middle Township. This will be Bridgeton's last game of the season as it does not have a Thanskgiving Day game. Kevin Bunton (684 rushing yards) and Jae DeShields (five touchdown catches) spark the Bulldogs.
Vineland (3-4) at Middle Township (1-6)
3 p.m. Saturday: Vineland has dropped four straight games. A thigh injury slowed running back Brian Winchester (120 carries for 821 yards) in last week's 24-6 loss to Egg Harbor Township. Middle was off last week.
Egg Harbor Township (5-2) at St. Joseph (6-1)
2 p.m. Saturday (94.3 FM): EHT needs a win to boost its playoff chances and possibly get an S.J. Group IV first-round home game. Stephan Thomas (117 carries for 452 yards and eight touchdowns) sparks the Eagles. Quarterback Jon Kopistecki has thrown for 912 yards and six touchdowns. St. Joe is No. 6 in the Elite 11. The Wildcats have outscored their defeated opponents by the combined score of 265-10. Linebacker Pat Casey leads St. Joe with 57 tackles. Phillip Paulhill has four interceptions. St. Joe needs a win to clinch the No. 3 seed in the state Non-Public II bracket.
Holmdel (3-4) at Barnegat (4-3)
7 p.m. today: Barnegat would clinch the second playoff berth in school history and its first since 2006 with a win. Barnegat relies on the passing game with quarterback Nick SanGiacomo (1,592 passing yards, 18 touchdown passes) and wide receiver Mike DeTroia (42 catches for 648 yards and nine touchdowns). Holmdel has lost four straight games.
Toms River South (0-7) at Pinelands Regional (4-3)
7 p.m. today: Pinelands could take a step toward its first winning season since it finished 6-5 in 2004. Pinelands running back Matt McLain is having one of the best seasons of any player in the state with 215 carries for 1,678 yards. Pinelands wide receiver Jake Hartman has four touchdown catches.
Middletown South (6-1) at Lacey Township (8-0)
2 p.m. Saturday:This is a matchup of perennial Shore Conference powers. Lacey has clinched the top seed in the S.J. Group III playoffs. The Lions haven't allowed more than seven points in a game this season. Quarterback Craig Cicardo sparks the offense with 906 passing yards and 396 rushing yards. Middletown's Taylor Rogers caught three touchdown passes in last week's 41-6 win over Brick Township. Middletown beat Lacey 14-0 last year and 27-0 in 2008.
Middletown North (2-5) at Southern Regional (4-4)
7 p.m. today: Southern comes off a 14-0 win over Freehold Township. Billy Shimko rushed for 101 yards and also caught an 8-yard touchdown pass in the Rams' victory.
West Jersey Football League
Clearview Reg. (3-4) at Cumberland Regional (4-3)
7 p.m. today: Cumberland needs a win to boost its S.J. Group III playoff hopes. The Colts have won two straight. Charles Clark has rushed for 381 yards and made 48 tackles. Linebacker Troy Eubanks averages 12.3 tackles per game. Clearview has dropped two straight games.