Farewell South Jersey athletes, coaches, parents, fellow writers and others who have made my five years, five months of covering sports full-time in the area a memorable and enriching experience.
After today, I no longer will be a staff writer for The Inquirer. It's time for me to move on. I have a project that will keep me busy for a year or more and it will occupy most of my time.
The rest of the time? You might see my by-line like this: By Bill Iezzi, For The Inquirer. I'd like that. Hope you do, too.
Mentioned: Burlington County Institute of Technology | Clearview Regional High School | Rancocas Valley Regional High School | Deptford Township High School | Camden Catholic High School | Lenape High School | Glassboro High School | Holy Cross High School | Cherry Hill High School East | Burlington County Institute of Technology | Cinnaminson High School | Haddon Township High School | Gloucester City Jr-Sr High School | Lower Cape May Regional High School | Cherry Hill High School West | Pitman High School | Camden County Technical Schools | Haddonfield Memorial High School | Moorestown High School | Cherokee High School | Mainland Regional High School | Kingsway Regional High School | Shawnee High School | Audubon Jr./Sr. High School | Pennsauken High School | Absegami | Atlantic City | Bishop Eustace | Bordentown | Bridgeton | Buena | Burlington City | Burlington Township | Camden | Cape May Tech | Clayton | Collingswood | Cumberland | Delran | Delsea | Eastern | Egg Harbor Township | Florence | Gateway | Gloucester | Gloucester Catholic | Gloucester Christian | Gloucester County Tech | Haddon Heights | Hammonton | Highland | Holy Spirit | Lindenwold | Maple Shade | Mercer Christian | Middle Township | Millville | Moorestown Friends | Northern Burlington | Oakcrest | Ocean City | Our Lady of Mercy | Palmyra | Paulsboro | Peddie School | Pemberton | Pennington | Penns Grove | Pennsauken Tech | Pennsville | Pleasantville | Riverside | Salem | Schalick | Seneca | St. Augustine | St. Joseph | Sterling | Timber Creek | Triton | Vineland | West Deptford | Wildwood | Wildwood Catholic | Williamstown | Willingboro | Winslow Township | Woodbury | Woodrow Wilson | Woodstown | Overbrook (NJ) | Sacred Heart NJ | Washington Twp.
What a wild boys’ soccer race it is in the Colonial Conference Liberty Division. Haddon Heights is the defending champion and once again a major threat. The other major contenders are Haddonfield, West Deptford and based on early results, it would be difficult to count out Sterling.
Heights and West Deptford played to a scoreless draw on Tuesday, in another example of the great parity that exists.
Already Heights has tied Sterling and West Deptford and beaten Haddonfield. Meanwhile West Deptford has lost to Haddonfield and Sterling and tied Heights. Haddonfield has beaten West Deptford and Sterling while losing to Heights. And Sterling has the win over West Deptford and tie with Heights plus the loss to Haddonfield.
Haddon Heights is an early candidate for most improved football team in South Jersey. It’s only been two games, but the Garnets are halfway to their 2010 win total of four games.
Remember, despite a 4-6 record, the Garnets were a playoff team last year, but one that didn’t own the depth of this squad.
In Saturday’s 34-12 win over Woodbury, Heights used several players carrying the ball. They began by giving junior Brandon Joyner the bulk of the carries. Joyner, after taking off last season to concentrate on basketball, where he is the Garnets’ starting point guard, is back in football mode.
Danyle Heilig, Eastern's field hockey coach, won her 300th game Wednesday in a 10-0 victory over Paul VI in an Olympic Conference interdivisional game.
"I'm very excited, personally, to reach 300 but I look at it as an accomplishment for the program," Heilig said. "I've been the head coach 12 years and 286 of those wins were here, so it's an accomplishment for the program as well as the outstanding players who have contributed."
The other 14 victories were at Haddon Heights in 1998, when the team went 14-2-4.
The first round of the Diamond Classic reflected well on the Olympic American and Cape-Atlantic.
The Colonial? Not so much.
Olympic American teams went 3-1, which was as good as possible since one of those games was a matchup between division rivals Cherokee and Lenape.
Sophomore Nick Sciortino pitched a four-hitter with 10 strikeouts and picked three runners off first base as Haddon Heights beat Audubon, 2-0, Wednesday in a clash of Colonial Conference division leaders.
Steve Sciortino, Nick's older brother, scored the first run by stealing home and drove home the second with a sacrifice fly.
Haddon Heights is 15-1 and leads the Colonial Liberty. The Garnets face Holy Spirit in the Diamond Classic on Saturday.
I wasn't surprised when I looked at the District 28 wrestling seedings and saw Haddonfield lead the pack with five top spots.
The No. 1s are Kyle Klaus (112), Kevin Gregorio (125), Will Dengler (145), Carson Stack (189) and Kris Rahn (215).
Stack has the best record among them, 29-1.
Coach Jeff Eppright talked a mile a minute after his Haddon Heights boys' soccer team did what hadn't been done in 36 years: advance to the state final.
In an intermittent downpour Tuesday night at Washington Township, the Garnets won the Group 2 state semifinal over North PLainfield on penalty kicks. They're scheduled to play Cliffside Park for the crown on Nov. 21 at the College of New Jersey.
"It's been a long time coming," Eppright said. "It was a battle-tested game, a war. We started practicing [penalty kicks] from day one. The penalty kicks added to the whole dramatization.
Senior George Gans scored one goal and set up the other as Haddon Heights beat two-time state champion Delran, 2-1, Thursday in the South Jersey Group 2 title game in boys' soccer.
Gans scored his 30th goals to tie the score at 1-1 early in the second half. He unleashed a great shot with arouns 21 minutes left, and senjior Don lang cleaned up the rebound for the go-ahead goal.
Goalie John Weaver made 12 saves for Haddon Heights, which won its first South Jersey title since 1975.
Not everybody who loses is a loser.
Haddon Heights' field hockey team, for example, fell to West Deptford, 4-0, Wednesday in a Colonial LIberty game.
West Deptford simply was too fast too the ball, which four players pumped in to the cage. Meanwhile, the Eagles' defense was like an impregnable wall.