Several levels of the Junior Raiders were in playoff action over the weekend.
The Taxi level (kindergarten-2nd grade) was invited to and played for the first time in the Atlantic City Taxi Bowl. Unfortunately, they lost their opening game 27-6 to the eventual champion Vineland Blitz. Coach Frank Rubba commented that it was a great experience for his players all of whom enjoyed playing in the tournament. The team hopes to return next year.
The Ocean City PeeWee team (grades 3 and 4), started its playoff run against the higher seeded Mays Landing Lakers at their home field this past Saturday. The PeeWee team pulled off the huge upset, prevailing with a narrow 7 to 0 victory. Both teams went scoreless through three quarters which also saw the Junior Raiders overcome three turnovers. The defense was flawless, coming up with big stop after big stop. With 4 minutes left in the game, the squad took over on downs, and had many tough runs from running backs Drew Young, Derek Berardis, and Kori Segich. These runs were followed by a perfect pass from David Legette to Stephen Ordille for the touchdown. On the ensuing kickoff, the team recovered an onside kick allowing them to run out the clock and seal the game. The coaches could not be more proud of this group of kids pulling off the upset in the rainy and windy conditions.
The unbeaten JV squad (grades 5 and 6) received a first round bye in the league playoffs, but saw action in their conference championship game against the Absecon Blue Devils at a neutral field in Somers Point. While the defense held firm in the first half, the offense started off the game slowly until late in the second quarter. The team went on a long drive capped off by a beautiful touchdown pass by Jacob Wilson to Jake Schneider with 7 seconds left in the first half. Schneider added the extra point to put the team up 7-0 at the half. The third quarter saw the teams trade possessions until the Junior Raiders put a sustained drive together at the end of the third quarter into the fourth. On the second play of the fourth quarter, JP Patella punched in a short touchdown run from one yard out to seal a 13-0 victory. Once again, the JV team’s defense was dominant, holding the other side scoreless for the eighth time in nine contests. Key tackles were made in the second half to seal the victory by Wilson, Timmy Waller, and Nasir Kelly, along with a spectacular open field tackle on a kickoff return by Ernie Troiano. The JV team’s victory marked the first conference championship by any Ocean City squad since it joined the Atlantic County Football league in 2011.
The second round of the playoffs marches on. The PeeWee team next plays on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 4 p.m. against Somers Point at a neutral field in Northfield. The undefeated JV team plays against Hammonton on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 5:30 p.m. at a neutral field in Somers Point. Directions to the games can be found at the Junior Raiders website, ocjuniorraiders.com.
— By Raymond Patella for the Ocean City Junior Raiders