Pinelands Football Game Is Homecoming in More Ways Than One

Oct 23, 2018
File Photo by: Ryan Morrill The Wildcat's head to the locker room for half-time during a game in 2016.

Homecoming games are usually one of the high points of a high school football season but this Saturday’s Pinelands Regional High School homecoming game is truly something special.

When Pinelands hosts the Keansburg Titans at 1 p.m. on Saturday, it will be the Wildcats’ second home game of the season. Well, sort of.

The ’Cats had played all of their previous 2018 games on the road because their home field is being re-sodded, one of the many projects included in the $53 million referendum passed by Pinelands Regional School District voters in January 2017. The work on the field continues, so the game will be played at the Little Egg Harbor Athletic Complex, adjacent to Ocean County’s Freedom Fields County Park off Route 539.

Still, for just the second time all season the team will play in front of a hometown crowd. And the Wildcats have a chance of pulling off something they haven’t done since 2010: finishing their regular season campaign with a .500 record.

Pinelands comes into the game with a 3-4 record after a 27-15 win over Colts Neck last Saturday.

Senior running back Evan Burton led the way, rushing for 227 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, with the highlight being a 60-yard scamper in the fourth quarter that salted the win away. Senior QB Garrett Brown contributed a five-yard TD run, while sophomore running back Nick DiLeo added a two-yard touchdown rush. Brown, who plays safety on defense, also had an interception.

Like Pinelands, Keansburg comes into the game with a 3-4 record. But the Titans lost last week, 34-6, to Shore Regional.

Homecoming weekend at Pinelands will, of course, include a homecoming dance, the naming of a homecoming court and the crowning of a king and queen. But there will be an additional twist in Pinelands’ celebration: a concert on Friday evening headlined by the band Work in Progress, featuring Pinelands student and “Stranger Things” television series star Gaten Matarazzo.

— Rick Mellerup

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