The winner of the resumed playoff game between Camden and Pleasantville on Wednesday will advance to the Central Jersey Group 2 finals.
But there will be a downside to the victory in the game at Lincoln Financial Field as well.
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The team that emerges victorious from the game that was interrupted by gunfire that injured three people Friday night at Pleasantville will lose the ability to fully compete in one of the most important games on its regular-season schedule, the annual Thanksgiving Day meeting with an old rival.
That’s because the Central Jersey Group 2 finals will be held Saturday, Nov. 30, with Cedar Creek facing the Camden-Pleasantville winner for the sectional title.
That would prohibit the Camden-Pleasantville winner from fully participating in its annual Thanksgiving game two days earlier.
“We’d likely make it a JV game,” Camden coach Dwayne Savage said.
Camden was leading Pleasantville 6-0 with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter when gunshots erupted Friday night in the Pleasantville bleachers, creating a chaotic scene that resulted in the postponement of the remainder of the game.
Camden has a 7-2 record. The Panthers have won one sectional title in football, capturing the South Jersey Group 4 crown in 1976.
Pleasantville has an 8-1 record. The Greyhounds have never won a sectional title in football.
Camden plays crosstown school Woodrow Wilson every Thanksgiving morning in a renewal of one of the richest rivalries in South Jersey sports.
Woodrow Wilson athletic director Will Hickson also indicated that if Camden were to advance to the Central Jersey Group 2 final, the Thanksgiving Day game would likely be a competition between mostly junior-varsity players, although the Tigers’ starters could see some limited action.
The Camden vs. Woodrow Wilson game has been played since 1933.
“It’s a big deal,” Savage said of the annual game known in Camden as the Turkey Bowl. “I’d hate to see that happen, but I’m just trying to focus on this game [vs. Pleasantville]. I have to think about that one before I worry about Thanksgiving.”
Pleasantville coach Chris Sacco also indicated that his team likely would use JV players on Thanksgiving in the renewal of its rivalry with Ocean City if the Greyhounds were to advance to the sectional final two days later.
The Pleasantville-Ocean City series in one of the oldest in South Jersey, dating to 1917.
The Thanksgiving Day game for the winner of the Camden and Pleasantville game could be further impacted by the status of their old rival’s seasons.
Ocean City plays Shawnee this Friday night in the South Jersey Group 4 title game. If the Red Raiders win that game, they would advance to the regional title game the weekend of Dec. 5-8.
But if Shawnee wins, the Thanksgiving game vs. Pleasantville would be the last game for Ocean City’s seniors, and the team might opt to play some varsity players for some portion of the game.
The same situation applies to Woodrow Wilson. The Tigers host Somerville in the South Jersey Group 3 title game this Saturday. If they win, they would advance to the season-ending regional title game the weekend of Dec 5-8.