Pinelands Regional Football Team Has Chance for Winning Record

Oct 31, 2018

There’s been a lot of congratulatory talk about Wildcat athletic teams at meetings of the Pinelands Regional School District Board of Education this fall, and for good reason. The girls volleyball team not only shared the Shore Conference B South divisional title with Donovan Catholic for the second straight year, but also repeated as all-around Shore Conference champs as well. Both the boys and girls soccer teams won B South crowns. The field hockey team had a 12-2-1 regular season record, good enough for second place in its division.

At its next meeting, board members may be able to praise another Wildcat squad. Thanks to a victory over a visiting Keansburg team last Thursday that upped its record to 4-4, the Pinelands football team has a chance for a winning season. What’s so special about that? The Wildcats haven’t had a winning season in a decade.

I like to call the 2018 Pinelands football squad “a band of brothers.” That’s because it had everything going against it as the season opened.

The team’s home field was unavailable, as it was being re-sodded, so the ’Cats would have to play most of their games on the road, with its few “home” games being played at the Little Egg Harbor Athletic Complex. The team had also lost its locker room because of construction at the high school building. Not surprisingly given the circumstances, the team had a small summer turnout. Then it had to launch its campaign against Mater Dei, the eventual Shore Conference Patriot Division champs, and suffered an 8-41 beating. Week 2 wasn’t any better, with Shore Regional slapping Pinelands, 31-0.

But this year’s Wildcats never stopped fighting. Indeed, the team is on a roll of late, going 3-1 in its last four games.

Pinelands beat Keansburg 38-20, but that score is actually misleading. The Wildcats had a 31-0 lead at halftime. Indeed, the ’Cats literally ran all over the visiting Titans.

Senior running back Evan Burton gained 168 yards on 27 carries and scored two touchdowns. Sophomore Nik DiLeo added 149 yards and two TDs on 19 carries. Senior QB Garrett Brown, in a role reversal, caught a TD pass, thrown by Pat Edwards, while Sam Cardillo added a field goal and Jack Lawrie contributed an interception.

Pinelands will entertain Lacey on Saturday in a game scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. The visiting Lions come in with a 4-5 record but have been heading the wrong way of late, going 1-5 in their last six games.

— Rick Mellerup

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