Rams Host 7-1 Scotties in NJSIAA Regional Crossover on Thursday Afternoon
SOUTH RIVER, NJ—On Thursday afternoon, Big Central Gridiron will travel out to the friendly confines of Denny Stadium in South River to see the Rams take on Bordentown in an NJSIAA Regional Crossover. South River, which lost 13-0 to North Plainfield at home this past Saturday, is taking on a Bordentown squad that finished the regular season at 7-1, but still didn’t qualify for the state playoffs.
The Scotties of Burlington County concluded its regular season slate with a 48-13 victory over Lower Cape May last Saturday. Bordentown’s only loss of the season was a 40-7 defeat on the road at the hands of undefeated Gloucester City (7-0) on the evening of September 10th. Entering Thursday afternoon’s game, Bordentown has outscored its opponents by a margin of 311 to 95, or an average of 39 to 12 per contest.
Meanwhile, in its 8 games played on the field this season, the Rams of South River (3-6) have been outscored by a margin of 161 to 134, or an average of 20 to 17 per contest. Bordentown has a Strength Index of 63.75, but only had an OSI of 34.4 along with 12.38 power points to have a final ranking of 20, or four spots out of the South Group 2 Playoffs.
South River, which finished ranked 25th in the South Group 2 Super section, had an OSI of 30.38 and 7 power points. The Rams also only had a Strength Index of 45.08. Playing in the Big Central Conference’s Division 2B, the Rams played the likes of Group 3 schools such as North Plainfield and South Plainfield as well as Bound Brook and Bernards, which qualified in South Group 2.
Playing in the West Jersey Football League’s Freedom Division, Bordentown has played 6 of its 8 games versus Group 1 schools. All eight of the Scotties opponents have a combined record of 23-39, or a .371 winning percentage. Meanwhile, South River has played all 8 of its games on the field versus either Group 2 and Group 3 schools, and its foes have a combined record of 28-42, or a .400 winning percentage.
Three of the Rams six losses on the season: Bound Brook (21-20), at Roselle (14-7), and North Plainfield (13-0) have been by a combined margin of just 21 points, or an average of 7 points per contest. Those three opponents have a combined record of 14-12 this season with Bound Brook making the playoffs and North Plainfield (6-3) just missing out.
Entering this contest, South River has collected 1,686 total yards on offense including 746 yards rushing, and 940 yards passing. The Rams are only averaging 3.3 yards per carry while collecting 17.4 yards per catch. Senior QB Ryan Kurtz has directed the offense for the past three seasons, and has completed just under 50 percent of his passes this season for a total of 876 yards and 9 TDs while throwing 7 interceptions.
De’Andre Morris is South River’s leading ground gainer with 464 yards on 106 carries, or an average of about 4.4 yards per rush along with 7 TDs, which accounts for about 78 percent of the Rams TDs on the ground. Freshman Darius Armstrong has contributed with 36 carries for 128 yards. Marcus Granadeiro has 17 carries for 80 yards.
In the passing game, the Rams have been led by senior WR Jeffrey Ferriera and senior TE Jordon Crawford, who have combined to score 9 of South River’s 11 TDs through the air. Ferriera, who also is a threat in the return game as well, has caught 20 passes for 333 yards and 6 TDs including a sensational one handed grab in the Week 1 victory over arch rival Spotswood.
In addition, Crawford, who is also a key player for the Rams on defense with his pass rush, has caught 15 passes for 309 yards and 3 TDs. The senior duo account for 63 percent of South River’s receptions and almost 70 percent of the Rams receiving yards. Joseph Lepore, who also had an outstanding catch in the Rams season opening win over Spotswood, is another key target with 8 catches for 160 yards and a TD.
On defense, the Rams are led by Granadeiro, who has 77 solo tackles, 4 fumble recoveries, and 3 forced fumbles. Ferriera has 34 solo tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, and a forced fumble while Crawford has 26 solo tackles, 5 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble. Sophomore Elijah Abass-Shereef has also helped out with 25 solo tackles and a sack while Lepore leads the team in interceptions with two
Senior Davin Wilson handles the placekicking duties, and has missed both his field goal attempts while converting 12 of 14 extra points. South River has 7 different players that can return kickoffs and punts. In recent year, the Rams have been strong on special teams with a solid return game featuring the likes of Ferriera, Dimere Smith, Travis Thomas, and Terry Outlaw.
On the other side, Bordentown has rushed for a total of 2121 yards and passed for another 254 yards to total 2375 yards of offense this season. The Scotties come into Thursday afternoon’s contest with an average of 8.7 yards per carry, and 4.9 yards per pass. Junior QB Dennis Morolda has completed 60 percent of his passes for 202 yards and 4 TDs while throwing 4 interceptions.
Morolda has also rushed 18 times for 34 yards and 3 more scores. The biggest weapon for the Scotties is junior RB Kerry Nicholas, who has rushed 95 times for 1,240 yards, or approximately 13.1 yards per carry, and 14 TDs. Senior Omari Owes also contributes in the ground game with 60 carries for 486 yards, or just over 8 yards per rush, and 8 TDs. Sophomore Elijah Dean has 30 carries for 203 yards and 3 TDs.
In the Scotties passing attack, Shane Griffin and Ryan Byard both led the team with 10 receptions and 3 TDs while Griffin has the most receiving yards with 157, or 15.7 yards per catch. Byard is averaging 13.8 yards per reception. Junior Brendan Swanson is also a threat with 6 catches for 69 yards, or about 11.5 yards per catch.
Junior Eliot Robinson does the placekicking duties for Bordentown, and he has made his only field goal attempt this season while converting all 33 of his extra points. Michael Poinsett leads the Scotties in both solo tackles and sacks on defense. Swanson, Byard, and sophomore Myles Hansford, lead Bordentown with two interceptions each while Hansford and Owes each have a fumble recovery for a TD, and Christian Montalvo has recorded two safeties.
The key to this game will be how South River’s defense will handle Bordentown’s offense, especially its running game. The Rams will have to find a way to contain Nicholas, Owes, and Dean while making Morolda go to the air more often. Meanwhile, South River will need a strong running attack of its own while getting the usual production in the air from Kurtz, Ferriera, Crawford, and Lepore.
Prediction: South River wins, 24-23.