CAL Re-Cap: Holy Spirit Clinches Playoff Berth, Rashad Kinlaw Returns
A few Cape-Atlantic League football squads made statements Friday evening, as conference rivals clashed with playoff stakes on the line. Absegami and Atlantic City enjoyed offensive explosions, while Buena and Middle Township made their mark with strong defensive play.
Here’s a look at the final slate of games in October. Only two weeks remain until postseason action gets underway, so every victory becomes a valuable chance to improve playoff opportunities.
Atlantic City 40, Mainland 16
Vikings quarterback Jarren McBryde threw four touchdowns, including two in the direction of dangerous playmaker Dashawn Reynolds, as Atlantic City (5-2, 4-2 in American Conference) overwhelmed the visiting Mustangs (2-5, 1-5 in American Conference).
The Vikings took a 27-3 lead into intermission when McBryde found Demond Cottman for a six-yard scoring strike as the first half expired. Atlantic City receiver Tyshiek Wright also corralled a touchdown toss.
Reynolds returned a second-quarter punt 88 yards to the end zone. The speedy senior is among CAL leaders with five touchdown receptions.
Vikings running back Eric Sims also scored. Mainland quarterback Tom Bradway connected with Matt Maiman for a late touchdown toss.
Mustangs kicker Jim Cooper drilled a 24-yard field goal, pushing his career total to 27 kicks made. He is three field goals shy of the South Jersey record.
Absegami 47, Hammonton 33
The Braves became the first team since 1989 to score at least 40 points against Hammonton. Absegami (5-2, 4-2 in American Conference) gashed the Blue Devils on the ground, rushing for seven touchdowns.
Tyler Bing reached the end zone on three occasions and teammate David Hood added two scores. The Braves offensive attack was bolstered by the addition of one of the region’s premier playmakers.
Senior Rashad Kinlaw returned to the field for the first time since suffering a broken fibula on Oct. 21, 2011. He reinjured the leg this summer and spent Absegami’s first six games on the sideline.
Kinlaw scored on his first touch of the season, sprinting 17 yards for one of his two touchdowns. He is committed to play college football at Notre Dame.
Hammonton quarterback Christian Mortellite threw three touchdowns in an attempt to keep pace with Absegami’s offensive output. The Blue Devils (4-3, 3-3 in American Conference) playoff outlook suddenly seems a bit muddled.
Millville 40, Oakcrest 29
Sophomore running back Rob Ennis surpassed the program’s rushing record as Millville (4-3, 4-3 in American Conference) improved to 4-0 on the road. Ennis bullied the Falcons defense, gaining 302 yards on the ground.
He scored on a 50-yard sprint to give Millville some breathing room with a 27-14 advantage in the third quarter. Thunderbolts quarterback Rashon Sorrell found receiver Alskee Downing for a go-ahead touchdown.
Oakcrest quarterback Quaashie Jetter suffered an injury and missed much of the matchup, but replacement Danny Smith filled in admirably.
Smith rushed for a touchdown and threw scoring passes to LaDarrell Dixon and Ricky Hess. The Falcons (0-7, 0-6 in American Conference) accumulated a season-high point total.
Holy Spirit 17, Egg Harbor Township 3
Another strong defensive effort allowed the Spartans to clinch a playoff spot. Holy Spirit (4-3, 3-3 in American Conference) has won consecutive non-public South Jersey group championships.
Taalib Gerald scored the game’s first touchdown on a two-yard scamper. Teammate Franco Rifici booted a pivotal fourth-quarter field goal.
Eagles kicker Tim Mason made a 22-yard field goal but his second attempt was blocked by Holy Spirit’s A.J. Dawson. EHT (3-4, 3-4 in American Conference) saw its final drive end when Spartans linebacker Jeff Steeb intercepted a pass.
Dawson scored in the final moments of the fourth quarter to pad the Spartans advantage.