■ Vineland DLs Adrian Rodriguez (5 feet, 10 inches, 275 pounds) and Zayn Itayem (6-1, 250) vs. St. Augustine QB Jose Tabora (6-0, 175) and RB Lamont Harris (5-7, 180). Tabora and Harris lead the area in both passing and rushing yards, respectively, this season. Tabora has thrown for 416 yards through two games and Harris has rushed for 386, proving the Hermits have multiple ways to hurt opponents. Rodriguez and Itayem have done a good job disrupting plays in the backfield this year, and they’ll need to do more of the same against the Hermits.
■ Vineland C Eric Villar (6-1, 245) vs. St. Augustine NT Justin Welsh (5-11, 215). Welsh has been impressive in two games, admirably clogging the middle to prevent opponents from having any running room inside. The Fighting Clan did a nice job pounding the ball between the tackles against Buena, but were stuffed against Pleasantville. The Fighting Clan must be able to run inside to balance the offense’s attack. Villar needs to win the battle against Welsh for that to happen.
Keys to the Game
■ Vineland needs to control the clock and keep St. Augustine’s powerful offense on the sidelines. The Hermits run a Chip Kelly-like, up-tempo attack and have effectively kept defenses on their heels for more than a year now under coach Mark Reardon. The best way to counter that is with long, clock-consuming, drives. The Fighting Clan have shown they can run the ball this season. Ben Anderson (28 carries, 267 yards), Daivon Seymore (18-162), Chris Atoki (8-71) and DaQuan Cosby (11-46) have all had varying degrees of success, and they need their “A” games for Vineland to keep up.
■ Vineland needs to take advantage of opportunities. Last week in the first quarter, Pleasantville had five penalties for more than 55 yards and also threw an interception, yet Vineland went into the second down 7-0. The Greyhounds gift-wrapped a potential big lead for Vineland, and the Fighting Clan couldn’t capitalize. If St. Augustine is gracious enough to turn the ball over or hurt itself with penalties, the Fighting Clan must make the Hermits pay.
■ Vineland must play fundamentally sound. The Fighting Clan had two touchdowns called back against Pleasantville because of penalties.
Pressure: Vineland has none. Against Pleasantville, the Fighting Clan were trying to avoid being the first team to lose to the Greyhounds since 2009. Vineland isn’t supposed to beat St. Augustine. The Fighting Clan are huge underdogs and should be able to play fast and loose.
Home cooking: Vineland opened up with two straight road games, and haven’t yet had the support of the home crowd. Coach Dan Russo has pumped his team up all around town, and the community could play a key role if it shows up in force.
St. Augustine 42,
— Josh Friedman