This week's local high school football games should be a bit more intense. The past two weeks most teams played interdivision games or nonleague opponents. This week, nearly every team faces a division rival. Division opponents tend to be more familiar with each other. These games mean more because the first goal of any team is to win a division championship. Attractive division matchups between Atlantic City and Absegami, Mainland Regional and Ocean City and Southern Regional and Toms River South highlight the schedule. By Michael McGarry
No. 11 Absegami (1-1) at Atlantic City (2-0)
7 p.m. today (97.3 FM): Atlantic City is 2-0 for the first time since 2005. Vikings running back Radi Tolbert has rushed for 174 yards and caught passes for 137 yards. Absegami, No. 11 in The Press Elite 11, comes off a 42-7 loss to No. 1 Holy Spirit. Rutgers University-bound running back Ben Martin has rushed for 181 yards on 39 carries. Atlantic City hasn't beaten Absegami since 2007.
Millville (1-1) at Egg Harbor Township (1-1)
7 p.m. today (94.3 FM): Stephan Thomas, one of the most versatile players in the CAL, leads EHT. The running back and defensive back has rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns this season. Quarterback Shaq Lee sparks Millville's spread offense. Lee has thrown three touchdown passes, two of them to receiver Roy Bell.
Vineland (2-0) at St. Augustine Prep (0-2)
7 p.m. today: Vineland looks to start 3-0 for the first time since 2003. The Fighting Clan have outscored their first two opponents 57-0. The Vineland offense produced nearly 300 yards in both games. St. Augustine relies on junior running back John Barillo (54 carries, 248 yards, two touchdowns).
Ocean City (0-2) at Mainland Regional (1-1)
7 p.m. today (98.7 FM): One of the region's top rivalries regardless of sport. Ocean City hasn't beaten Mainland since 2004. Mainland kicker Jim Cooper has booted 35- and 34-yard field goals this season.
Oakcrest (1-1) at No. 8 Hammonton (2-0)
Noon Saturday: The Hammonton defense has allowed just three points this season. Running back Jared Sanchez has scored five touchdowns. The Blue Devils have won six straight, dating back to last season, and are No. 8 in the Elite 11. Oakcrest rallied to beat Millville 23-13 last Friday. Brandon Bell (RB/LB) leads Oakcrest with 108 rushing yards and 3.5 tackles for losses.
Lower Cape May Regional (1-0) at Pleasantville (0-2)
7 p.m. today: Lower opened its season with a 25-3 win over Cape Henlopen of Delaware last Saturday. Lower running back Jimmy Hall rushed for 156 yards and two touchdowns. The Caper Tigers have won two of their last three games dating back to last season. Quarterback Josh Evans and running back Dontaye Rivera lead Pleasantville.
Bridgeton (1-1) at No. 1 Holy Spirit (2-0)
7 p.m. today (1240-AM): Holy Spirit is No. 1 in the Elite 11 and has outscored its two opponents 91-7. Running back Donta Pollock has rushed for 368 yards. Safety Joe Sarnese leads the defense with 25 tackles. Bridgeton quarterback Tamar Jackson threw three touchdown passes in a season-opening win over Pleasantville two weeks ago. But he missed last week's 26-16 loss to Egg Harbor Township with a sprained ankle.
Buena Regional (0-2) at Middle Township (0-2)
Noon Saturday: These teams have struggled so far. Buena standout quarterback and running back Donetae McKinnon missed last week's game with an ankle injury. Middle Township features a run-oriented offense.
Central Regional (0-2) at Barnegat (2-0)
7 p.m. today: Barnegat is averaging 34.5 points per game. Quarterback Nick SanGiacomo has thrown for 679 yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Mike DeTroia has 12 catches for 317 yards and four touchdowns. Central lost to Pinelands Regional 48-20 last Friday.
Toms River South (0-1) at Southern Regional (1-1)
1 p.m. Saturday: Quarterback Eric Sullivan threw for two touchdowns and Billy Shimko ran for a score and caught a touchdown pass as Southern beat Colts Neck 26-14 last Sunday. Toms River South lost to Toms River East 40-10 two weeks ago.
West Jersey Football League
Delsea Regional (2-0)
at Cumberland Regional (1-1)
7 p.m. today: Delsea, the defending South Jersey Group II champion, is No. 6 in the Elite 11. Cumberland quarterback Steve Garron threw two touchdown passes in last Friday's 26-14 defeat of Highland Regional.
at Pitman (1-1)
7 p.m. today: Pitman edged Salem 14-8 last Saturday. Quarterback Zak Barrett threw for 178 yards and a touchdown in Wildwood's 14-12 loss to Clayton last Friday.