Few teams enter the playoffs playing as well as Lacey Township.
The Lions, No. 11 in The Press' Elite 11, have won six straight, including five in a row by shutout. Lacey has won those games by a combined score of 171-0.
Lacey looked like anything but a dominant team early in the season. The Lions started 0-2. But both losses were to undefeated teams in Middletown South and Toms River East. Lacey retooled its offense to emphasize the run more than the pass after those defeats.
The postseason is a familiar place for Lacey. The Lions reached the South Jersey Group III final from 2005-07, winning in 2006. Lacey beat Pemberton 28-0 in the quarterfinals that year. The Lions lost to Hammonton in last year's semifinals.
Pemberton also is playing well. The Hornets were 2-2 after back-to-back losses to Paul VI and Camden Catholic. But Pemberton won three of its next four games to make the playoffs.
Sixth-seeded Pemberton (5-3) vs. third-seeded Lacey Township (6-2)
What: South Jersey Group III quarterfinal
When/where: 1 p.m. Saturday at Lacey Township
What's next: Winner advances to next weekend's semifinals against the winner of tonight's quarterfinal between seventh-seeded Moorestown and second-seeded Timber Creek.
Pemberton: Jordan Raynor, QB, 89-of-173 for 1,476 yards and 14 touchdowns; James Monroe, RB, 202 carries for 949 yards and 13 touchdowns; Corey Reeder, WR, 53 catches for 755 yards and nine touchdowns.
Lacey Township: Craig Cicardo, QB, 44-of-68 for 429 yards and five touchdowns and 95 carries for 383 yards and seven touchdowns; Jake Dabal, RB, 128 carries for 818 yards and nine touchdowns; Zach Torrell, RB/DB, 14 catches for 116 yards and four interceptions; Matt Uveges, LB, 51 tackles and two interceptions; Mike Stuppiello, DL, three sacks; Anthony Caputo, DB, four sacks.
Keys to victory: Pemberton, with its talent at the skill positions, will test the Lacey defense. Lacey runs a shotgun offense but emphasizes the run. The Lions will look for continued big plays from Cicardo and Dabal.
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