Millville WR DeQuan Bowman (5 feet, 10 inches, 185 pounds) vs. Mainland DB Tom Bradway (5-9, 175). Bowman flashed his big-play ability in grand fashion last week, hauling in a 72-yard touchdown reception with less than two minutes to play in the fourth quarter that led Millville to a 24-19 come-from-behind win over Atlantic City. Bradway is a four-year starter who will roam the defensive backfield in attempts to slow an above-average Millville passing attack.
Millville RB Robert Ennis Jr. (5-10, 158) vs. Mainland LB Colin O’Shea (6-0, 185). Ennis takes over a lot of responsibility this season in the Bolts’ offense as the team’s top ball carrier. His numbers looked good against Atlantic City — 14 carries for 127 yards — but 79 of those came on a third-quarter touchdown run. The Mustangs are equally deep as Millville at linebacker, led by O’Shea, a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference All-Star selection last year.
Millville DT Antoine White (6-3, 252) vs. Mainland C Mike Bucca (5-11, 225). White will be a focal point for all offensive coaches as they game plan for Millville’s defense this season. The defensive tackle is a disruptive force in the trenches capable of foiling any interior running game. The Division-I recruit logged a sack last week against Atlantic City and should see similar opportunities this week. Mainland boasts an experienced line, anchored by Bucca.
Keys to the Game
■ Millville’s offensive line must control the line of scrimmage. With four new starters up front, the Bolts’ front five is an area to watch this season. The group had some struggles early against Atlantic City, but looked much stronger in the second half of that game. Mainland is a veteran-laden team, particularly along the defensive line.
■ The Bolts must establish a ground game. Running the football was Millville’s bread and butter last season, but with a new running back and the remade offensive line, reestablishing that dominance will take time. Ennis Jr. did score on a 79-yard touchdown run last week, but aside from that logged just 48 yards on 13 carries.
■ Win the turnover battle. Millville was very opportunistic last week against a run-and-gun Atlantic City offense, forcing three Vikings turnovers. Mainland will be more conservative in its attack, but the Bolts must still find a way to force the Mustangs into some mistakes at home.
Overcoming the atmosphere: This crop of Bolts have never visited the Mustang Corral, a venue that packs a good crowd thanks to the hometown faithful. Mainland is coming off a 28-0 season-opening win over Pleasantville and Millville represents the team’s home opener. The Bolts will need to be up for this game.
Regaining focus: Millville’s Week 1 win over Atlantic City was an absolute roller coaster ride with the Bolts scoring a late touchdown on a big play to secure the win. Millville won’t want to live on the edge like that too many times this season and can start its journey to consistency with another road win against Mainland.
Millville 26, Mainland 14
— Anthony Coppola