Warriors host Florence in state grid playoffs

Football teams will meet for second time in 7 days


It is deja vu for the New Egypt High School football team as the Warriors head into their first home game in the NJSIAA state playoffs at 7 p.m. Nov.12.

On Nov. 5 the Warriors saw their threegame win streak snapped in a 21-0 loss at Florence.

New Egypt will now host Florence (5-3) in the first round of the Central Jersey Group I state playoffs. The Warriors (6-2) are making their third state playoff appearance in four years.

New Egypt is the No. 2 seed in the section. Shore Regional High School of West Long Branch is the No. 1 seed in the section.

“It’s crazy,” New Egypt coach Luke Sinkhorn said. “I knew this [rematch] was going to be a possibility [before playoff pairings were released on Nov. 8]. It’s good to try to get revenge, but it’s like any other game.”

And a big one for seniors Lyle German, the center and defensive lineman, and quarterback Dylan Wills. Both played in the Warriors’ two previous playoff losses, to South River in 2007 and to Asbury Park in 2008.

The winner of the Florence vs. New Egypt game will play the winner of a matchup pitting Dunellen against South River.

“The theme for us is that this has been a year of firsts,” said German. “We were 6-2 and won the division [West Jersey Football League Freedom Division] for the first time, it’s our first home playoff game, and now we are going for our first playoff win.”

“We always play well at home,” said halfback Jamel Smith. “We haven’t lost there yet [in four games].”

“All I’m saying is that it will be a different outcome,” said German.

But Smith, who spearheads the triple option offense, and the rest of the unit need to perform better than they did in their last game against Florence.

After driving to the Flashes’ 5-yard line on their opening series, a Wills pass was intercepted at the goal line and the Warriors never seriously threatened again. Smith was held to 41 yards rushing and Tyler Miller led the way with 57 yards.

“We have to play harder for four quarters, a full game, after we were losing only 7-0 going into the fourth quarter last week,” said Sinkhorn. “We had a couple of turnovers and penalties and just broke down in the fourth quarter.”

“We didn’t play our best game and we need to prove to our fans we’re better,” said Wills. “It’s a good environment to play at home [this week]. They [Florence] came out with more fire and energy in the second half [on Nov. 5], and that’s what we have to do this game.”

Sinkhorn said the key is sustaining drives, and he has faith his team will bounce back as it did after its previous loss to Willingboro, another shutout setback, when it reeled off three straight victories before the game against Florence.

Defensively, linebackers Rigo Morfin, Kevin Mason and Miller lead the way as the Warriors report no significant injuries on either side of the ball.

German is joined on the offensive line by tackles Aaron Reed and Shawn Reynolds, and guards Joe Puza and Morfin. Wills hands the ball off to Pascal Dieujuste, Smith and Miller, while Dylan Horner and Ken Massa are the ends. Horner is the kicker and Smith punts.

Dieujuste, German, Reed and Puza are down linemen on defense, while Horner, Smith, Massa and Wills are in the secondary.