South Jersey Group 5 FinalCherokee vs. Eastern
Friday, 7 p.m. at Rowan
Previous titles: Cherokee, eight (1985, 1990, 1993, 2005, 2009, 2010 in S.J. Group 4; 1981, 1982 in S.J. Group 3); Eastern, one (2003 in S.J. Group 4).
Coaches: Cherokee, P.J. Mehigan (12th season, 104-28); Eastern, Dan Spittal (14th season, 86-60).
How Cherokee can win: Defensive ends Troy Domenick and Jake Powell must pressure but also contain Eastern QB Tom Flacco. Senior QB Trevor Osler (82-for-117 passing, 1,099 yards, 15 TDs) can spread the ball to top receivers such as Powell (24 catches, 456 yards, 5 TDs) and Matt Curry (16 catches, 164 yards, 3 TDs). RBs Matt Stickney (698 yards, 11 TDs) and Marc Woodard (654 yards, 7 TDs) can gain yards behind a sturdy offensive line led by junior tackle Dan Iannone.
How Eastern can win: Flacco can make big plays with his legs and arm. He is 182-for-299 passing for 2,714 yards and 25 TDs. He also has run for 673 yards and 12 TDs. WRs Keshawn Segers (59 catches, 1,073 yards, 10 TDs) and Cinque Hill (36, 602, 6) are big-play threats. Senior two-way lineman Mike Montemurro leads the way in the trenches.
Fast fact I: Eastern has scored 135 points in four playoff games (33.75 average) in the last two seasons.
Fast fact II: Cherokee senior Ken Ravel (52 extra points, 10 field goals) has set the South Jersey single-season record for kicking points with 82.
- Phil Anastasia