■ Buena DBs David Bond (6 feet, 175 pounds) and Mike Britt (5-6, 155) vs. Lower Cape May QB Dylan Harrison (5-11, 168). The Caper Tigers aren’t a throwing team. Harrison only attempted six passes last week despite playing from behind the entire game against St. Augustine. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy night for the Chiefs’ secondary. It means they need to be on their toes and ready to make big plays when Harrsion does drop back to pass. Buena has two interceptions this season and they forced Ocean City to rely exclusively on its running game last week, so the Chiefs are capable of dictating an opponents’ offense. If the game is close late, Lower Cape May might need to nurse the clock as well. That’s why Ocean City attempted to throw against Buena.
■ Buena LBs Neal Nelson (6-2, 210) and George DiBiase (5-8, 155) vs. Lower Cape May RB Chris Rivera. Rivera was the leading rusher last week for the Caper Tigers against St. Augustine, gaining 78 yards on 12 carries. The Chiefs will need to hold him to a lower average than 6.5 yards per carry. Nelson and DiBiase are two highly athletic linebackers who are always around the ball making big plays. Both are solid tacklers as well. Buena’s front line has been strong through the first two games and they’ll need to be good again, but the second level of the defense will likely be asked to make a lot of big plays tonight.
Keys to the Game
■ In high school football, the idea of a trap game isn’t as prevalent as in college and the pros, but this one would qualify for Buena. The Chiefs are young and on a roll, on the road, favored against a team that has struggled this year. The seniors and leaders on the team need to make sure the focus is there and the team is ready to play. A performance similar to the first two weeks should produce a favorable result for Buena.
■ On the field, Buena’s defense needs to keep limiting the big play. The Chiefs have played a bend-but-don’t-break style through the first two weeks, evidenced in a major way in the team’s goal-line stand against Ocean City last week. Still, they have given up yardage, and since the offense is more of a grind-it-out squad, a shootout is not ideal. The defense needs to have a shutdown effort tonight, and it’s capable of doing so.
■ Offensively, the Chiefs need to keep spreading the ball around. Five players have had multiple carries in the first two games, and defenses are forced to guess. Late in the game against Ocean City the team fed DiBiase the rock consistently, but it was working and the junior doesn’t cough up the ball.
■ Confidence: Lower Cape May is scratching its head after a couple of one-sided losses while Buena has come out victorious twice already this year.
■ Coming to play: A team with nothing to lose is dangerous, and the Chiefs need to be aware that games aren’t played on paper, and just because they’re favorites doesn’t mean the Caper Tigers are just going to roll over and give the game away.
■ On the road: This is the first game away from the friendly confines of the John J. Zucal Athletic Complex, and with a lot of young players on the team, the bus ride and an unfamiliar locker room aren’t routine just yet.
Lower Cape May 7
— Patrick Buganski