2022 Week 1 (New Jersey)

2022 Week 1 (New Jersey)

Week One was a trip east to New Jersey. I had planned this trip in 2021. However, it fell through thanks to a hotel booking issue. Coming out of Covid, the rate for my room had nearly trippled, and the hotel decided not to honor my original booking.

But, this year, I was going to head to Ocean City for three days of football mere feet from the Atlantic Ocean. I had to leave on Thursday, and my schedule was a bit hectic. Lunch with family, and then taking my sister to the airport to fly home. And then, a long long drive to New Jersey. Via Baltimore. I’ll explain.

After departing Pittsburgh International Airport, it was a quick drive through Pittsburgh and a detour down the Blvd of the Allies and schenley Park. A major backup had happened on the Parkway East before the Squirrel Hill Tunnel (not unsurprising at all), and I got through it mostly unscathed. I then got onto the Turnpike, and hightailed it to Breezewood. Stopped for something to drink at Sheetz while meandering through the construction there. And then down I-70 to Maryland and Points East.

I had two options, the ‘new route’ would be I-370 and the MD200 toll road between Baltimore and Maryland, and work my way to Annapolis. But, I wanted dinner at one of the best finds of the 2021 Spring Season: This Is Wings & Seafood.

It has a hint of a Chinese restaurant (they serve rice dishes), but their primary focus is wings and seafood. With burgers and steak sandwiches. I tried the wings before. And they’re decent. But the best bang for your buck is the loaded fries. There’s lots of options. The Steak Loaded Fries and the Shrimp Loaded Fries are both on the menu. But the amalgamation of the two is unable to be beat. And you get a lot of food. The styrofoam to-go container is overloaded with meat. Every bite has a piece or steak or a shrimp with it. And only $13.99? It’s well worth it. Shame there’s no place to sit and eat. It’s strictly to go.

By this point, it was much later than I had wanted it to be. So, I headed southeast from the Baltimore Loop to I-97 to the Bay Bridge. Not to be confused with the Bay Bridge Tunnel, which is in Virginia. From there, it was northeast on US301 to another unclaimed county on my list: Kent County.

This county on the Delmarva Peninsula was especially annoying because there’s no reasonable way to just get it and go. Either from the north or the south. But, I finally had it claimed. Then, it was a quick drive north to I-95 and a quick crossing of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. And I decided to stick to the shortest route, and followed US40 from Carneys Point east to Atlantic City and my hotel in Absecon.

With a quick night, I was off to Ocean City just a few miles south on the Garden State Parkway and east across the Great Egg Harbor Bay to the dry island Ocean City. The stadium is situated in a small space between 5th and 6th avenues. Right behind Ocean City High School. It’s southeast endzone is only a football field or two from the Atlantic Ocean.

#10 – Egg Harbor Twp v. Mainland

After paying to park (I later learned, after the third day, that parking was free in a different lot), I made my way through the media entrance and received my wristband. Got situated on the field, and started the first of many games.

These two teams are from only 6.8 miles apart on the mainland. Mainland, as the name suggests, is on the west side of Great Egg Harbor, while Egg Harbor Twp is just west of that school.

For the matchup, though, it started interestingly enough. A safety that gave a fleeting chance at a 2-0 game, gave way to a 37-0 demolishment of EHT, as they’re known, by Mainland.

After the game, my sun scorched face and arms took a break walking around the field not realizing the concession stand was in the school, and not toward the Ocean. So, I found it, got something to drink and a slice of Manco & Manco Pizza. I was advised to try it and glad the stadium served it. Only $2 a slice. Also, they had Water Ice, which sounds like a misnomer.

#11 – Cedar Grove v. Salem

I took this one in a limited fashion. Sticking mostly to the endzone to watch and get photos when the opportunities presented themselves. This was a blowout. Salem just dominated to the tune of 53-13.

It was now on to the two marquee games of the day. Pennsylvania v. New Jersey. And starting first was Downington West going for Win #600 in program history. A great milestone for the Whippets if they could pull it off.

#12 – Downingtown West v. Highland

Highland scored first, but then it was the Jake Kucera Show. Four touchdowns for the Al Bundy distinction, as the Whippets tallied a 48-13 victory.

Three blowouts. Hopefully the fourth game of the day would prove competitive. It did. Slightly.

#13 – Ocean City v. Neshaminy

The hosts of the weekend were taking on a team from suburban Philadelphia: Neshaminy. It took until the second quarter for Neshaminy to break the scoreless draw. And then tacked on two more touchdowns for good measure. All to win, 21-0 over the hosts. This included a missed FG by Ocean City.

After the game, I took the scenic route back to the hotel. I followed Wesley Ave north through Ocean City to the Ocean Drive Bridge and back around to Longport, and into Atlantic City. Eventually. I then headed to the start of US30, and took that west to my hotel. With just a brief stop at a Wawa. And nothing else.

On Saturday, the day started with what should have been a quick drive to the stadium. It was four all-New Jersey games, and my interest was photographing them, but not so much reporting the live updates. My skin was baked from the unrelenting sun on Friday. And the field’s heat had made my feet unbearable. But, to add to it all, an accident on the GSP had caused the shortest route to now be a nearly 50 minute drive down US9 to the bridge to Ocean City.

I got there just minutes before kickoff.

#14 – Delran v. Wayne Valley

This game featured two new teams for me. And it was a fun one. Delran trailed 10-0, and after an agonizingly long drive resulted in a touchdown, Wayne Valley went quickly to retake the 10-point lead. And held on for a 17-13 victory at the end.

#15 – Washington Twp v. Toms River North

The one thing about New Jersey is their love of townships. In many other states, the areas outside of cities or boroughs are townships. But, aren’t as codified as a location. It just is. But in New Jersey, townships may have their own post offices. Using the Township name. However, in this case, it’s the town of Sewell and Washington Township or Twp is just the school’s name. Egg Harbor Township is a prime example of that.

For this one, I spent most of the game in the endzone and aside from a few trips down the sideline, stuck to the endzone for Toms River North’s 28-21 victory.

Between the 2nd and 3rd games, I had my mind setup for a trip to the ocean. So, I stopped at my truck, dropped off my camera gear and anything not mission critical, and headed the few hundred feet to the beach.

I mostly just stood in the surf letting my hot feet cool in the water. Though the waves continued to broach higher and higher as I stood. Sinking into the sand. I then returned to the boardwalk after washing off said sand. And I had one stop in mind. There were a lot of food shanties. But I had looked it up the night before and found one to definitely try.

It was a little pricy. As I did order the jumbo instead of the regular. But the amount of claw meat that came with it was worth the $24 price tag.

After that, I stopped at a bench area at a street’s vomitory to the boardwalk. Got my socks and shoes back on as they had completely dried (as did my shorts). And then walked back to the truck to get my cameras, and to the field. Just in time for kickoff.

#16 – St. Peter’s Prep v. St. Augustine Prep

This one wasn’t going to be close. Not because the Hermits of St. Augustine Prep were bad, but just because St. Peter’s Prep is that good. This was the first game of the weekend to use the “Ball On” portion of the scoreboard. And then the scoreboard kept turning off and restarting. Eventually, the board stayed off and the score and time was kept on the field. When it finally appeared to be on permanently, it inadvertently had it listed as 42-7. Which would assure a running clock. Though, that was incorrect. The coach for St. Augustine Prep mentioned to an official, that though the running clock was in error, that didn’t mind and wanted it to continue. St. Peter’s Prep would win the game, 41-7 under the running clock of 34 points.

#17 – Red Bank Catholic v. St. John Vianney

The nightcap was much like the other games on the weekend. I’d take this one off, except a few minutes near the end of the game on the sideline. A mismatch that just grew out of hand. Though, leading 33-0 late in the second, the Caseys of RBC, did not score a touchdown, or any points, to institute a running clock in the second half. And despite a touchdown by St. John Vianney, wouldn’t score again. Winning a snoozer, 33-7.

After the game, it was some more driving around. I headed back out to the Garden State Parkway to enter Atlantic City on the Atlantic City Expressway.

A brief stop in town, and then I headed back out US40. Finishing that highway along the route from Delaware to its terminus in the land of gambling and boardwalks.

It was checkout time at the hotel Sunday morning. Each day, the start of the games were staggered a half hour later. Sunday starting its 3 game slate at 11am. I also was going to have another reporter for the opener as Brian Ptsashinski was stopping by for the early game featuring Thomas Jefferson from the WPIAL.

#18 – Thomas Jefferson v. Millville

Despite what one Millville fan said, repeatedly, and at great volume, Thomas Jefferson is not a private school. They are a public school from the south side of Pittsburgh along the upper hills overlooking the Monongahela. Bordering Clairton’s district to the east, and South Park to the west. And have been very successful at football for quite a while.

In this one? Not so much. Maybe it was the trip. The beach. But whatever it was, Millville dominated. And with so many long touchdowns. A 3-0 lead on a FG would seem like ancient history. 70, 65, 94, and 85 yard touchdown passes added to a 70 yard touchdown run. And Millville would win, 41-10.

After this one, it was back to the concessions for something to drink, and when I found out there was, in fact, a hospitality area for media. Which had no signs nor told upon entry. They had food. But it was mostly picked over. The Chicken Parmesan and Gnocci was good, however.

#19 – Cherokee v. Holy Spirit

This would probably be the game of the weekend. And not a far fetched thing to say. Also, possibly the best student sections. I didn’t keep updates going for this one. As I was taking it off, mostly, before the night game to close the weekend. I wish I had. It was a back and forth affair and Holy Spirit had a lead until late in the 3rd when Cherokee would tie it on a long TD pass on the final play. A near scoreless fourth would see Holy Spirit possess the ball and drive deep down field to the promised land. And a short field goal by Mason Forte would deliver them a victory over the Cherokee Chiefs.

#20 – Cedar Creek v. Edison

Cedar Creek was from similarily named Egg Harbor City. A little further inland than Egg Harbor Township. Edison was from the New York City megalopolis. Located to the southwest of Staten Island, it’s one of the old industrial towns.

This one was close, despite the mismatch. Cedar Creek struggled but was in a 21-21 game in the third quarter. And then Edison stole the patent to winning football games. 3 straight, quick touchdowns from 21-14 to 21-35 demoralized an already shaky Cedar Creek club. There was a multitude of injury stoppages that was extend this game uncerimoneously. Mostly just for cramps. It saw the game last longer than three hours. Unlike the other ten games on the weekend. Edison would tack on one more score for good measure, to win 42-21.

After the game, it was a quick walk to the truck, and a long 7 hour drive home. Intending to make it in one long trip. Mostly because, with school closed on Monday, I would be keeping my daughter during the day. And I had to be home by 7am.

With a full tank, getting home was just a matter of staying awake. And I decided to be cheap. Or, cheapish. I stopped at Walmart for some Milo’s and then drove into Pennsylvania along the Atlantic City Expressway and the Ben Franklin Bridge. I decided not to take a toll the rest of the way and followed US202 to US30 through Gap and Lancaster to PA283 to Harrisburg. Along the way, I stopped for a late night hoagie at a Wawa and got ice for the tea. And then drove all the way from near Gap to Clearfield on I-80. Getting there via US322 through Phillipsburg. And then, the final two hours to Ohio and home.

Twenty games in two weekends. Aside from some late season scheduling at playoff events, that might be my new high for the regular season.


2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey

2022 HSF Wk 1 New Jersey


The total trip was 1043 miles round trip. Total expense was $512.36. The largest expense was a hotel for $226.29. Gas cost just $54.13 while food was $166.94. Just slightly above expectation. The lobster roll did that. I spent $60 for parking and $5 for the game program.

Ocean City was my 446th different stadium to watch a High School Football game. Mainland, Egg Harbor Twp, Salem, Downingtown West, Highland, Neshaminy, Ocean City, Wayne Valley, Delran, Toms River North, Washington Twp, St. Augustine Prep, St. John Vianney, Millville, Holy Spirit, Cherokee, and Edison were the new teams for me. Bringing my total to 1,422 different teams.

2022 Statistics

20 Games
40 Teams
5 Stadiums
2 States

25 New Teams
3 New Stadiums

1,422 different teams
446 different stadiums

1,293 total games

For more, and larger, photos from this weekend, click HERE.

For photos from previous weeks and seasons, visit http://www.flickr.com/sykotyk/sets/

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