Press Football POTY: Damon Mitchell
Mitchell led his team to a 10-2 record after verbally committing to Georgia Tech in the Summer. He ran for 21 touchdowns and 1,027 yards. He threw for 2,205 yards and 22 touchdowns. Mitchell was the leader of this team from the beginning, on and off the field. As a freshman at Oakcrest, Mitchell played running back and linebacker. When Cedar Creek opened its doors, Mitchell jumped at the opportunity to join the Engineering Magnet Program. Football Coach Tim Watson asked Mitchell to play quarterback. Former Absegami QB Mike Isgro, with over 4000 yards passing in each high school and college, tutored Mitchell in all things quarterback. Lessons were learned along with way and culminated with one of the most prolific individual offensive seasons in CAL history. He is the second player to score 20 each of passing and rushing touchdowns. Only two players have ever passed for 2,000 and rushed for 1,000 yards in a single season. The other is Penn State's Bill Belton, a 2009 Winslow grad. Mitchell was being recruited last year as a defensive back. Only Georgia Tech offered him the opportunity to play quarterback. That decision could pay off big for the yellow jackets.
Press All Stars:
9 Pirates Receive Recognition
In addition to being Player of the Year, Mitchell was also first team quarterback. Joining him on the Press of Atlantic City Football All Star First Team was DB Gary Melton. Melton was the leader of a defense that allowed only 12.6 points a game and two passing touchdowns all year. He also scored 26 touchdowns while running for 917 yards and caught passes totaling 903 yards. Nolan Seward was named to the Second Team as a Wide Receiver. Keith Alston and Caleb Graves also made second team as a Defensive Lineman and Defensive Back, respectively. Honorable mention were OL Ben Keating, DL Ralph Colazzo, DB Lasana Toure, and K Emily Kruger.
17 Pirates Recognized as CAL All Stars
Nine First Team CAL All Stars are OL Ben Keating, RB Gary Melton, QB Damon Mitchell, WR Nolan Seward, K Emily Kruger, DL Keith Alston, DL Ralph Colazzo, DB Caleb Graves and DB Lasana Toure. Second Team awards go to OL Jayson Williams, LB Jalil Burrell, LB Dustin Voss, P Matt Conover. Honorable Mention includes OL Jose Flores, OL Nick Catherine, WR/DB Ahmir Mitchell, and DL Trey Blackwell.
Cedar Creek's Dream Season Comes to An End
The Pirates had the Cape Atlantic League's top rated offense and defense. West Deptford had a winning streak that began in 2011 and won the South Jersey Group II Championship last year. The two teams took the field knowing it would be a hard fought battle to the end. West Deptford got on the board first with the first of five touchdowns from Gerlad Owens, but Creek's Damon Mitchell kept pace with a touchdown run of his own. Mitchell added two touchdowns in the second quarter, but the Pirates went into halftime trailing 28-20. Mitchell ran for 103 yards and all four Cedar Creek touchdowns. The Pirates could not keep pace in the second half. Three would-be touchdown drives ended with interceptions for the Pirates. West Deptford didn't make a mistake. The Eagles win their sixth Group II title in the last 11 years. Cedar Creek finishes the season 10-2. The Pirates exceeded area expert's expectations all season long, dominating the CAL on both sides of the ball. Crucial coaching and playing experience was gained by playing West Deptford. With the Eagle's history and the Pirate's bright future, it seems that we will see this matchup in the Group II Final again soon.
Cedar Creek Earns Spot in Title Game
With Cedar Creek's playoff inexperience, many forecasters saw this game being close. Willingboro came out fighting, moving all the way into Pirate Territory on the opening drive. The drive stalled in the endzone, but the Chimeras were successful on a field goal attempt and went up 3-0. Cedar Creek answered on their first possession of the game, Cedar Creek drove down the field. The drive looked like it had stalled when the Pirates lined up for a 4th and ten and Mitchell completed a swing pass to Melton with two defenders closing in. Melton made them both miss and took the ball all the way for the score. Two-Point conversion failed to give CCHS a 6-3 lead. Damon Mitchell intercepted Willingboro' QB Anthony Robbins and returned it to th 5 yard line. Three plays and no yards, it looked like the Chimeras defense would come up big again. Then, on a fourth a goal, Mitchell's pass intended for Nolan Seward was broken up in the endzone, but pass interference was called. An automatic first down gave the Pirates another chance. Mitchell handed off to Melton who took the ball around the left side for the score. The two-point conversion was again no good, but Cedar Creek led 12-3.
The Cedar Creek defense came up big time after time. On the Chimeras' next possession, they drove down to the red zone again. This time Lasana Toure picked off Robbins. Cedar Creek punted back to Willingboro after three plays. Willingboro's next drive was stopped on a 4th and 4 from the 9 yard line when Damon Mitchell broke up a pass in the endzone. Cedar Creek took over with less than a minute in the half. Mitchell completed a strike down the middle to Gary Melton for a 51 yard gain. On the next play, he connected with Nolan Seward to give the Pirates first and goal from the 9 yard line. With 5 seconds left, Mitchell pitched the ball to Melton, Melton flipped it back to Nolan Seward, and then Seward found Mitchell in the back of the endzone as time expired. The two-point conversion was good and Cedar Creek went into the half up 20-3.
The second half was all Cedar Creek. Lasana Toure's second interception of the game set up Gary Melton with a 24 yard TD run. Mitchell then completed a bubble pass to Caleb Graves for a 34 yard score. Pirates lead was then 34-3. On a 4th and 9 on the Chimeras 35 yard line, Cedar Creek lined up to punt, but then sent out the offense. A quick screen to Melton looked to be stopped, but the Pirates RB took it sideline to sideline, broke free and found the endzone for his fourth touchdown of the game. Pirates Kicker Emily Kruger hit her third extra point of the half to end the scoring at 41 for the Pirates. Cedar Creek and Willingboro traded possessions for the last six minutes of the game. Cedar Creek wins its SJ Group II Semi-Final game 41-3. They will play host West Deptford next weekend at Rowan University for the South Jersey Group II Championship.
Cedar Creek Drops Heartbreaker in OT
The area's newest Thanksgiving rivalry lived up to its hype. In August, people around Cape Atlantic League football circled this game as having championship implications. They were right. Cedar Creek and St. Augustine came into the game both undefeated in National Conference play. St. A's lived off of running back Calvin Cass. Cedar Creek's offense has morphed to feature multiple players including Damon Mitchell, Gary Melton and Nolan Seward. Cedar Creek went up 7-0 early on a 45 yard touchdown pass from Damon Mitchell to Caleb Graves. The Prep tied it with a 55 yard pass. The Pirates then scored on defense, but the extra point went wide , making the score 13-7. The Hermits scored another touchdown, this one on the ground, from Calvin Cass. The Prep added two fieldgoals to take a 20-13 lead into haltime. Both offenses exploded in the second half. Gary Melton scored three touchdowns, covering 40, 13 and 49 yards. His third touchdown put Cedar Creek up 34-27. Cass scored on a 10 yard run late in the fourth to tie the game at 34. Each team had one last shot to score, but the game went to overtime. Cedar Creek got the ball first. Five plays later, Mitchell found the endzone. The extra point was wide once again, leaving the door open for St. A's. Calvin Cass had his final 5 of his 52 carries during the overtime. His last rush found paydirt. The Hermit's kicker came on for the extra point. Snap, hold and kick were good. The Prep ended the game 40-41. A well played game by both teams kept a record crowd on the edge of their seats the entire game. Congratulations to St. Augustine. Cedar Creek invites you all to come and support the Pirates against their South Jersey Group Two Playoff Opponent, Willingboro, next Saturday.
The Pirates Win First Playoff Game
Cedar Creek's Offense is one of the top scoring units in the CAL and the state. Damon Mitchell & Gary Melton have gotten plenty of press for their electric scoring plays. But the defense has also been performing well as a unit. The Pirate's defense has allowed just over 7 points a game. Cinnaminson came into the game with a two-headed running attack. Also called the Pirates, Cinnaminson was looking to grind this one out on the ground. In the first quarter, Mitchell marched the Pirates all the way down to the 1 yard line. On the next play, he kept it himself for the first score of the game. Mitchell then hit running back Gary Melton in the flat, and Melton did the rest, covering 78 yards for the score. Cinnaminson came rumbling back and scored on a 59 yard run of their own. That was as close as Cinnaminson would get to Cedar Creek. Mitchell scored twice more, both on 1 yard runs and also tossed a touchdown pass to Nolan Seward, as Cedar Creek won the battle on the high seas and came out with a 34-7 thrashing of Cinnaminson.