Beating the Bye Week [PODCAST]
It may have taken a few weeks, but a perennial high school football power is back on track after their latest Friday night victory.
The Holy Spirit Spartans are back at .500, putting up consecutive wins including an 18-0 shutout of Absegami on the road. Head coach John Iannucci credits their recent success to the team settling into a comfort zone.
It may not exactly be comfortable on the offensive side of the ball just yet, but the Spartans defense is taking opposing teams to the wood-shed. Coach Iannucci took some time to explain what's working so well on defense and special teams, and what the team expects after gaining a little momentum.
The Cedar Creek Pirates are all the talk of the Cape-Atlantic League's National Conference. While Coach Tim Watson's undefeated bunch (4-0) is setting their sights on their next opponent, the schedule has granted the team a weekend off from football.
Not content to stay out of Friday night's action, a trio of merry Pirates set a course for our Admiral Nissan Studios to join the South Jersey Sports Report. They talked about their fast start, a victory over cross-town rival Oakcrest and which potential rivalry game is already circled on their calendar.
We also asked them why the team is buying in so well on defense (20 points allowed through four games), and what it's like to have play-maker Damon Mitchell running the explosive offense under center. They also shared their thoughts on being a part of the first senior class in the history of Cedar Creek High School, and why the time is now to leave a legacy behind.
When it comes to ranking high school football talent, one man's word is gospel.
It's Tom Lemming's 'Prep Football Report', a perennial list of the top-ranked high school players throughout the nation. Since the late 1970's, Lemming's personal scouting report has helped deliver valuable information to bridge the gap between high school prospects and college coaches.
He joined us on the South Jersey Sports Report to highlight his travels in seeing more than 2,000 premier players every season, and explain how the college recruiting process has evolved with the rise of the internet and social media.
Find out which high school year he says is the most important for aspiring college players, and why one class may be out of luck when it comes to earning a scholarship.
He also shared some of his favorite memories from his 34 years of scouting, including a few of the best high school players he's ever seen (his top quarterback may surprise you).
The past few years could have been considered by many football fans to be the dark days for New Jersey's most mainstream state school. The same program that produced first-round products like Ray Rice and Anthony Davis failed to rise to expectations since an 11-2 season six years ago.
Yet even with their beloved head coach off to the NFL this offseason, Rutgers football has returned to relevance, and the AP Top 25 , in 2012. SNY Rutgers beat writer Matt Sugam breaks down the start of an unexpected season, and the revival of college football in New Jersey.
One former high school athlete etched her name in the record books many times before graduating in 2006. Now Danielle Hagel will have another permanent place in school history, after a special induction ceremony into the Oakcrest Sports Hall of Fame.
We spoke to Danielle about her tremendous honor, her favorite memory from playing in the Cape-Atlantic League and why her love for competition has kept her in the area as a local coach.
And as always, we check in with South Jersey Hall of Fame sports reporter Tom Williams for what's going on across the Cape-Atlantic League. He tells us about a prominent coaching hire at Mainland, the most surprising team in the CAL American Conference and which team could have the best defense in South Jersey.
Listen to this week's show:
John Iannucci, Holy Spirit Spartans head football coach
Danielle Hagel, Inducted into Oakcrest Athletic Wall of Fame
Matt Sugam, SNY Rutgers football beat writer
Cedar Creek Pirates in our Admiral Nissan Studios
Tom Lemming, Creator of the nationally-acclaimed Prep Football Report
Tom Williams, South Jersey Hall of Fame sports reporter
We’d also like to congratulate the South Jersey Athlete of the Week:
Could there have been anyone else as deserving? The man leading the resurgence in Wildwood has punched in 13 touchdowns in just a two-week span, and a total of 21 in an early 2012 season.
It’s all right here, on The South Jersey Sports Report. Listen every Saturday, 9-11 a.m. on 97.3 ESPN-FM or 973espn.com
Follow Tyler Donohue on Twitter @SouthJerzSports.