If Somerville is going to win its second state title of the Vanderbeek/Whitaker era – and head coach Dallas Whitaker’s first – it will have to get through one of the top teams in the state, then beat a team that will have an unplanned week off.
More on that second point in a moment; first things first for the Pioneers.
First comes this week’s South Jersey Group 3 semifinal game for The ‘Ville (8-2, one loss by forfeit) against top-seed Cedar Creek (10-0).
The Pirates are the 13th-ranked team in the state, and the fourth-highest ranked public school behind Millville, Northern Highlands and Rumson-Fair Haven. They average nearly 35 points per game scoring, and have only allowed one team – Winslow – to score double-figures against them. They won their first four games by shutout.
So, it will be a tall order for Somerville, but they good news is, Ethan MacNair – who was injured in the regular season finale against Summit, then sat out last week against Rahway – will be back in the lineup.
It will be the first ever meeting between Somerville and Cedar Creek, which is led by first-year head coach James Melody.
Should the Pioneers beat the Pirates, they would play at third-seed Delsea next week for the South Jersey Group 3 title, most likely Friday night at 7 pm.
Delsea gets a bye this week, advancing automatically to the title game after second-seed Wall pulled out of the state tournament, in response to a hazing scandal being investigated by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. The cancellation of the game was reported by multiple media outlets
Click below to hear Mike Pavlichko talk with Somerville head coach Dallas Whitaker about the Pioneers’ sectional semifinal game against Cedar Creek: