South Jersey Football Game of the Week: Clearview vs. Highland

South Jersey Football Game of the Week: Clearview vs. Highland
Clearview (1-0) at Highland (0-1), Friday, 7 pm.
 
Background: This is a key game between two contenders in the WJFL Liberty Division. Last year these two teams split. Highland won a 14-6 regular season decision and Clearview captured a 20-0 victory in a South Jersey Group 4 semifinal.
 
In addition to these two teams, defending Liberty Division champ Burlington Township, along with Moorestown are all potential contenders in addition to Clearview and Highland.
 
Highland opened its season with a 34-20 loss to South Jersey’s consensus No. 1 team St. Joseph in a game that was played at Rutgers. The score wasn’t that close since Highland added the final 14 points o the game in the fourth quarter.
 
Junior Johnny Martin led Highland by rushing for 240 yards (10.0 avg.) and two touchdowns. He is among the top players in South Jersey and maybe statewide and has generated his share of Division I interest.
 
Clearview opened with last week’s 14-7 double overtime win over rival Kingsway, in a game that was played at Rowan University. The winning score came on a 29-yard run by quarterback Mike Ancona. Kingsway scored first but Clearview tied the game on Ancona’s 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Rashaan Thompkins with under three minutes left in regulation. Hunter Logan, one of the top kickers in South Jersey, then converted the first of two PATs.
 
Coaches: Clearview’s Steve Scanlon is now 12-1 in his third year. Veteran Highland coach Brian Leary is 28-16.
 
Storyline: Both teams rely heavily on running the ball. Last year Clearview did an excellent job in containing Martin. The Highland’s regular season win played on a muddy field, Martin rushed for 86 yards on 17 carries. During Highland’s playoff loss to the Pioneers, Martin rushed for 61 yards on 13 carries. Martin was kept out of the end zone in three games last year and two of them were against Clearview.
 
Martin is a certified Division I prospect and is Clearview’s Tompkins, a 6-4, 235-pound tight end-defensive end. Last season he was a first-team all-conference choice on defense. His TD reception against Kingsway shows how dangerous he can be.
 
Ancona is a experienced veteran who knows how to run an offense. Highland’s defensive leader is linebacker Brad Small, who had a team-high nine tackles in the opener against St. Joseph.
 
Outlook: This figures to be a tough defensive game. Martin rushed for 2,002 yards last season and Clearview was able to contain him twice. Being able to continue that won’t be easy. He is a true game-breaker. The Pioneers will be doing everything to stop him and make somebody else on Highland beat them. This could e a situation in which the first team to score might win this expected defensive struggle.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci

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