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.
When I looked at their records, I wasn't surprised that they finished the wrestling season not only as champs but also undefeated.
Eastern senior Rob Deutsch won the 119-pound title and finished the season with a 42-0 record.
Camden Catholic sophomore Thomas John Miller won the 135-pound crown, which capped the season with a 43-0 record.
Top seeds in the NJSIAA state individual wrestling championships Friday night have a bye in the prelims. However, they still have to wrestle in a pre-quarterfinal round to advance to Saturday morning's quarterfinals.
South Jersey's top, top seeds are last year's state runners-up from Willingboro: Tyler Scotton and James Green.
The Region 7 wrestling tournament was postponed until Wednesday because of snowfall in the area surrounding Robbinsville, someone in school administratiion told me. Robbinsville didn't have much snow.
Region 7 is one of the most competitive of the eight regions that make up the state and there are a couple of weights that offer intriguiging possibilities.
At 119 pounds Burlington Township's Kevin Devoy, who placed second in District 26, will be fighting to advance from Wednesday's pre-quarterfinals to the quarterfinals. He wants to meet up with top seed Rob Deutsch of Eastern. Deutsch defeated Devoy in the district final.
When I asked Haddonfield quarterback Kevin Davis how the Bulldogs turned a 3-point halftime deficit into a 38-27 win over Willingboro Friday night, he threw boquets to the offensive line.
"I think people underestimate us," Davis said. "We are a very powerful football team. I'd like to give the success to my offensive line. Without them I'm nothing. Our backs are nothing.Our wide receivers are nothing."
So here goes: Senior Drew Lynch is at center, senior Jacob Reisman at right guard, junior Carson Stack at left guard, senior Matthew Porter at right tackle and junior Jimmy Cashman at left tackle. Senior Alex Walter is at tight end.
Today Randy Taylor returned my call questioning his ignoring South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania football players in his list of top recruits in the nation.
Taylor, director of recruiting for the National Collegiate Scouting Association, listed scholastic athletes from Central PA to California in his top 150 recruits for the class of 2011. In doing so, the veteran recruiter ignored players such as St. Augustine kicker Chris Gough and Willingboro defensive back Matt Dash.
"When we do these lists it's important to know that it's just the top 150," Taylor said. "You can get that out of one state."
The Williamstown girls’ soccer team has received a scare from Tri-County Conference rival Highland twice this season — and survived both times, thanks to the scoring of Briana Molino.
Yesterday, the seventh-ranked Braves (11-1) needed a pair of second-half goals from Molino, including the go-ahead score off a pass from Danielle Spinuzza with 10 minutes remaining in regulation, to rally for a 2-1 home win.
Williamstown goalie Ashley Winkelspecht gave up a first-half goal, but went on to stop nine shots to make the comeback possible. Tartans’ keeper Leighanna Milby also turned in a strong effort, making 11 saves.
The teams’ initial meeting last month saw the Braves use two goals by Molino to claim a 2-1 overtime victory.
In other Tri-County action:
Third-ranked Gloucester Catholic turned up its attack in the second half to pull away from visiting Glassboro, 4-0. Chelsea Duffy scored twice, with Paige Maloney and Abby Zweigle adding one goal each.
Missy Trafton and Mackenzie Landon struck for second-half goals to make fifth-ranked Clearview a 2-1 winner over visiting Kingsway.
Mentioned: Clearview Regional High School | Glassboro High School | Camden County Technical Schools | Cherokee High School | Kingsway Regional High School | Shawnee High School | Bishop Eustace | Eastern | Gloucester Catholic | Highland | Ocean City | Pemberton | Seneca | Williamstown | Willingboro | Doane Academy
Gloucester Catholic and host Glassboro battled through 98 scoreless minutes before the Catholic boys’ soccer team finally squeezed out a 1-0 double-overtime triumph the Tri-County Conference.
Ryan Casey scored the goal off a corner kick with two minutes left in the second overtime period, and the Rams earned their sixth shutout of the season.
Also in the Tri-County, Kevin Calloway scored a goal and assisted on goals by Max Crisman and Bill Tompkins, steering Clearview past host Kingsway, 3-0. Goalie Steve Keane made seven saves for the Pioneers (10-0-1).
Salem used Zach Costroff’s nine-save goaltending to collect a 2-0 shutout at Wildwood. Rob Lindenmuth and Michka Tosan scored the Rams’ goals.
Mentioned: Clearview Regional High School | Camden Catholic High School | Lenape High School | Lower Cape May Regional High School | Cherry Hill High School West | Pitman High School | Kingsway Regional High School | Pennsauken High School | Buena | Gloucester | Gloucester Catholic | Middle Township | Pemberton | Salem | Timber Creek | Wildwood | Wildwood Catholic | Willingboro | Washington Twp.
Rancocas Valley’s season-long reign as the top-ranked boys’ soccer team in The Inquirer’s South Jersey ratings may be in jeopardy after Delran knocked off the visiting Red Devils, 1-0, Wednesday.
The Burlington County League Liberty Division rivals were locked in a defensive struggle until the Bears’ Ali Gocmez scored off an assist from Jackson Machado with 4 minutes, 8 seconds left in the second half.
Brad Schmidt made four saves and protected the goal for the Bears (8-2), ranked No. 9 in South Jersey. The loss was the first for Rancocas (8-2), which built an 11-8 edge in shots, since a 3-2 setback at Salesianum (Del.) on Sept. 19.
Also in Burlington County, visiting Burlington Township (2-5-3) held No. 8 Cinnaminson (5-2-2) to a 1-1 standoff. The Pirates’ Eric Tricocci scored in the fifth minute, and Township knotted the score on Kwincy Brown’s goal with 11 minutes left before halftime.
Matt Peak managed an unassisted goal in the seventh minute, and Holy Cross’ defense made it stand up for a 1-0 win over visiting Northern Burlington. Goalie Mario DeClerico made 14 saves.
Mentioned: Rancocas Valley Regional High School | Holy Cross High School | Cinnaminson High School | Absegami | Atlantic City | Burlington City | Burlington Township | Delran | Florence | Gateway | Haddon Heights | Hammonton | Maple Shade | Moorestown Friends | Northern Burlington | Paul VI | Pemberton | Riverside | Vineland | Willingboro
Ally Stathius opened the scoring with 15 minutes left, off a pass from Tara Ballay, and Ballay added an insurance goal on a breakaway with eight minutes to go as visiting Delran (4-5, 2-4) upset eighth-ranked Rancocas Valley, 2-0, in a Burlington County League shocker.
Breanna Brown made 10 stops in shutting down the Liberty Division-leading Red Devils (7-2, 5-2).
In other Burlco action:
Kathleen Wolff’s shot from the top of the box in overtime found the net, making host Moorestown a 4-3 winner over Bordentown. The teams combined for five goals in a wild second half, which saw the Scotties’ Alexis McTamney score twice.
Mentioned: Rancocas Valley Regional High School | Holy Cross High School | Cherry Hill High School East | Haddon Township High School | Moorestown High School | Mainland Regional High School | Audubon Jr./Sr. High School | Absegami | Bordentown | Delran | Egg Harbor Township | Florence | Gateway | Haddon Heights | Lindenwold | Maple Shade | Northern Burlington | Sterling | West Deptford | Willingboro | Overbrook (NJ)