Southern football team's win helps southern Ocean County community heal after Sandy - High School Football

Southern football team's win helps southern Ocean County community heal after Sandy - High School Football

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The Boys Basketball Elite 11

A ranking of teams in the Cape-Atlantic League; Colonial Conference; Burlington County League; Olympic Conference and Tri-County Conference. Also ranked are Shore Conference teams that compete for South Jersey titles. Rankings selected by The Press high school sports staff based on staff observation, research and interviews with players and coaches.

1. Paul VI (1) 4-0

2. Holy Spirit (3) 4-1

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Southern football team's win helps southern Ocean County community heal after Sandy

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Posted: Sunday, November 11, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 11:08 am, Sun Nov 11, 2012.

STAFFORD TOWNSHIP - Tony Kampert slept at the Ship Bottom Volunteer Fire Company's headquarters eight times over the past two weeks.

The volunteer firefighter and Southern Regional High School senior football player is back at his home in Beach Haven now, but he said Hurricane Sandy "destroyed" the first floor. Electric heaters provide the only heat in the house.

Kampert got a break from it all Saturday afternoon when he traded in his firefighter's gear for football pads and helped the Rams beat Toms River East 41-20 in a Shore Conference game.

"I just love coming on the mainland," Kampert said. "It feels good to step on the field."

Dan Higgins, another senior, completed 16-of-18 passes for a school-record 266 yards and three touchdowns for Southern, which is ranked No. 9 in The Press Elite 11. The Rams unofficially earned the sixth seed in the South Jersey Group V playoffs and will play at third-seeded Washington Township in the first round next weekend. Washington Township is No. 10 in the Elite 11.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association will officially announce the playoff pairings today.

"We knew this was going to be a big win, especially for our community, and it would help out real well, ease everything over," Higgins said. "We've gone through a tough time, everyone here, and we want to help our community out (with) this win and see how far we can go in the playoffs."

Coach Chuck Donohue had been concerned before the game about how his team would respond after two weeks off due to the hurricane. The Rams did not even practice that first week. The school has been closed and will reopen Monday.

Southern's first offensive play Saturday went for no gain. But there would be no slow start.

On the next play, Higgins threw a perfect deep ball down the middle to wide receiver Mike Gesicki, who caught it in stride for a 49-yard touchdown.

The Rams went on to score touchdowns on all five of their first-half possessions before resting most of their regulars in the second half.

"I feel much better," Donohue said. "I'm glad we're back into a groove. It's just a load off."

Gesicki, a 6-foot-6, 250-pound junior with several NCAA Division I scholarship offers, finished with three catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

Higgins completed passes to six receivers, including running back Abe Gonzalez, who had four catches for 85 yards and scored two TDs.

"The offensive line did a great job," Higgins said. "With throwing, we set up the run. With running, we set up the pass and everything, and the whole offense worked well today."

Instead of charging admission to the game, Southern asked for donations of supplies for disaster relief. During the game, cheerleaders walked through the stands collecting monetary donations. They ended up with $3,590 for Southern and Toms River East to split.

Kampert wasn't the only member of the Southern team who saw the devastation of the hurricane first-hand. Evan Osborne, a Southern senior who has served as team manager since suffering a spinal injury as a sophomore, is a volunteer firefighter in Stafford Township, where he lives. He said he has worked "around the clock" since the hurricane, sleeping at the fire house for almost a week straight.

"I think we're going to rally around the community through the playoffs," Osborne said.

Contact Jason Mazda:


Toms River East 0 7 0 13-20

Southern Regional 13 21 0 7-41


SR-Gesicki 49 pass from Higgins (Yaiser kick)

SR-Bissey 4 run (kick failed)


SR-Gesicki 20 pass from Higgins (Yaiser kick)

TRE-Gudzak 5 run (Caporale kick)

SR-Gonzalez 48 pass from (Yaiser kick)

SR-Gonzalez 7 run (Yaiser kick)


TRE-Gudzak 57 run (Caporale kick)

SR-Yaiser 10 run (Yaiser kick)

TRE-Gudzak 3 run (kick failed)


Rushing yards 239 130

Passing yards 100 255

Penalties-yards 6-45 3-28

Turnovers 2 0


Rushing-Toms River East, Gudzak, 21-210, Caporale 13-15, Torres 4-16, Gallagher 5-11, Spadaro 1-(-3). Southern Regional, Yaiser 14-56. Gonzalez 7-34, Bissey 8-15, Higgins 2-2, Weisz 7-21, Arocho 1-2.

Passing-Toms River East, Caporale 8-97, Gudzak 1-2-1-3. Southern Regional, Higgins 16-18-0-266.

Receiving-Toms River East, Rosengrant 3-30, Gudzak 5-67, Caporale 1-3. Southern Regional, Gesicki 3-94, Gonzalez 4-85, Hem 4-36, Boero 1-17, Yaiser 1-11, Speziale 1-12.

Records-Toms River East 1-7, Southern 6-2.

© 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Cape-Atlantic League National Conference

School Conference Overall
St. Augustine Prep 7-0 8-2
Bridgeton 7-1 8-3
Cedar Creek 6-1 7-2
Buena Regional 5-3 5-5
Ocean City 3-4 4-5
Middle Township 2-5 3-6
Vineland 2-6 2-7
Pleasantville 1-6 2-7
Lower Cape May Regional 0-7 0-8

Cape-Atlantic League American Conference

School Conference Overall
Holy Spirit 7-0 10-0
St. Joseph 6-1 9-1
Millville 6-2 7-3
Hammonton 5-2 6-3
Atlantic City 3-4 4-5
Absegami 2-5 4-5
Oakcrest 1-6 2-7
Mainland Regional 1-6 3-6
Egg Harbor Township 1-6 2-7

Shore Conference A South

School Conference Overall
Jackson Memorial 6-1 7-3
Brick Township 5-2 8-3
Toms River South 5-2 7-3
Brick Memorial 4-3 6-4
Lacey Township 3-4 5-5
Southern Regional 3-4 4-5
Toms River East 1-5 3-6
Toms River North 0-6 1-8

Shore Conference B South

School Conference Overall
Barnegat 5-1 9-1
Central Regional 5-2 5-4
Monsignor Donovan 4-2 4-5
Lakewood 4-3 6-3
Jackson Liberty 3-4 4-5
Manchester Township 3-3 3-6
Pinelands Regional 1-5 1-8
Pt. Pleasant Boro 1-6 1-9

West Jersey Football League Royal Division

School Conference Overall
Camden 4-0 9-1
Delsea Regional 4-1 9-2
Woodrow Wilson 3-1 4-5
Bishop Eustace 1-4 5-4
Cumberland Regional 1-4 1-8
Deptford 1-4 1-8

West Jersey Football League Classic Division

School Conference Overall
Pennsville 5-0 8-2
Salem 4-1 5-5
Gloucester 3-2 3-6
Clayton 1-3 3-6
Pitman 1-3 2-7
Wildwood 0-5 2-5

Scoring leaders

Name School Total points
Lamont Harris St. Augustine Prep 126
Stefon Bowman Bridgeton 110
David Hood Absegami 108
Christian Tutela Lacey Township 100
Taalib Gerald Holy Spirit 96
Cappadonna Miller Bridgeton 92
Ryquell Armstead Millville 90
Rob Ennis Millville 90
Cody Sampson St. Joseph 84

Rushing touchdowns

Name School TDs
Lamont Harris St. Augustine Prep 21
Stefon Bowman Bridgeton 16
David Hood Absegami 15
Taalib Gerald Holy Spirit 14
Ryquell Armstead Millville 13

Passing touchdowns

Name School TDs
Tom Kelly Lacey Township 19
Jose Tabora St. Augustine Prep 19
Jamir Prevard Atlantic City 16
Ty Mindish Mainland Regional 13

Receiving touchdowns

Name School TDs
Christian Tutela Lacey Township 14
Austin Francisco St. Augustine Prep 12
Alex Padovani Hammonton 7
Isiah Graves Atlantic City 7
Jim Brennan Mainland Regional 7
LaDarrell Dixon Oakcrest 7

Field goal leaders

Name School Number Longest in yards
Jon Kubricki Pinelands Regional 5 36
Ryan Ulrich Barnegat 4 37
Joe Stadnicki Ocean City 4 38
Franco Rifici Holy Spirit 4 27
Alex Padovani Hammonton 3 30
Ryan Davis Cumberland Regional 3 47
Kyle Snow St. Augustine Prep 3 32
Mike McGarry
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James Clark
  • James Clark
  • Assistant Soccer Coach at St. Augustine Prep
  • James Clark has been writing about soccer for various media outlets, including The Press of Atlantic City, for 15 years. The Northfield resident coached travel teams in the South Jersey Soccer League for a decade and is currently an assistant soccer coach at St. Augustine Prep. Clark's blog will appear three times a week and daily during this summer's World Cup.