Vineland LT Zach Banks (5 feet, 11 inches, 182 pounds) and LG Eric Bluitt (5-11, 194) vs. Pleasantville DL Maurice Wilkes (6-3, 281). The Fighting Clan will have their hands full containing Wilkes, a blossoming sophomore who possesses size and quickness and could emerge as one of the National’s best in the future. Vineland ran most of its rushing plays to the left of center Mark Chaney, the same territory as Wilkes. On offense, look for Pleasantville to run the ball behind its massive left tackle.
Vineland LBs vs. Pleasantville RBs Hassan Calloway (5-7, 185) and Reese Pearson (5-9, 185). The Fighting Clan linebacker crew of Lance Bryant (6-1, 174), Calvin Stiles (6-0, 205), E.J. Marreo (5-7, 182) and Jaquon Ledbetter (5-9, 183) were busy in the season opener as Buena’s running backs consistently advanced to the second level of the defense with ease. Calloway and Pearson could present a big problem with their speed — both have been clocked at 4.5 seconds in the 40.
Vineland RB Isaiah Spencer (5-10, 167) vs. Pleasantville LB Mike Forster (6-1, 220). Spencer has the quickness to turn any carry into six points. He showed that ability last week, ripping off a 43-yard TD run vs. Buena. Forster is the promising newcomer on the Greyhounds’ defense. The transfer from Holy Spirit is quick to the ball and will look to neutralize Spencer’s speed.
Keys to the Game
■ Vineland must establish a productive ground attack. The Fighting Clan rushed for 163 yards in the opening week, but never sustained any momentum over long stretches as only two drives entered the Buena 40. Last season, the team rolled up a season-best 282 yards against the Greyhounds.
■ The Fighting Clan must do a better job at tackling. The inability to make tackles cost Vineland in the season opener and each of the three scrimmages this season. The weakness hasn’t just prolonged opponent’s drives, missed tackles have led to too many big plays.
■ Vineland must get a lead and finish the job. The Fighting Clan let Pleasantville hang around too long last season. They trailed 12-7 late in the third quarter before they delivered the knockout punch in the second half.
Shot of confidence. Coming off a demoralizing 20-6 loss to Buena at home, Vineland needs to put together a strong bounce-back performance. Expectations for a winning season are still within the grasp of the Fighting Clan, but a win tonight is crucial.
Block, block, block. Vineland must win the battle up front and create holes to ignite the running attack. Despite not having an upperclassman on the line, Pleasantville’s big men might have more experience than the Fighting Clan. That means Vineland’s big boys will have to outwork their opponents.
Home cooking. The home crowd at Gittone Stadium didn’t have much to get excited about in Week 1, but Vineland could use some strong support this week. The Fighting Clan will hit the road for the next two weeks and then have their bye week. The next home game won’t be until Oct. 12 vs. Lower Cape May.
— Tom McGurk