The Red Raiders celebrate after defeating Mainland last week in the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs. (Photos courtesy of OCHSfootball.com) By TIM KELLYGoogle Maps says Long Branch High School is 85.9 miles from Ocean City. The geographical divide is the most obvious thing separating the Ocean City High football team from its opponent in Friday night’s playoff game, but certainly not the only thing.“I’ll be honest, I don’t know much at all about Long Branch,” Red Raider Head Coach Kevin Smith said following his team’s thrilling 21-14 win in their opening round playoff game at Mainland last Saturday.Of course Long Branch has the same issue in preparing to face O.C.Though Smith has undoubtedly immersed himself in all things Green Wave since then, the Red Raider coach had more pressing matters to deal with at the time, namely directing his team at Mainland. It was decided in the final seconds and avenged a bitter 21-6 loss to the Mustangs in a regular season game the week before.With the win, O.C. earned the right to travel up the Garden State Parkway for a 7 p.m. Friday date at Long Branch (4-5), the sixth-seeded team in the tournament.The last time Ocean City won a playoff game it was 2001, a 21-14 victory over Lacey.“You just added to the storied tradition of the Ocean City-Mainland rivalry,” Smith told his seventh-seeded team after they used a goal-line stand and fumble recovery to knock off their archrivals.Mainland came into the playoffs as the undefeated and untied No. 2 seed.“I couldn’t be more proud of our kids for how hard they played, and for not getting discouraged when Mainland scored first,” Smith said.Smith would be the first to say that’s all history now and fodder for off-season chatter. The nature of the state playoffs doesn’t allow for relaxation, much less celebration. It does cause one to wonder why Long Branch, located in the northern reaches of Monmouth County, is part of the South Jersey Group 4 playoffs.Ocean City dominated the line of scrimmage against Mainland.Why must Ocean City travel closer to New York City than to Philadelphia in order to play a team in the “South” section?Jack DuBoise, assistant director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, said it was part of a new pairing system in which the top seeds of natural geographic regions stay in their normal areas, and the second and third seeds are sent to the opposite region. The next two seeds stay in their home environs and the fifth and sixth seeds are moved.The process, known as “snaking” the brackets, is designed to create a fairer seeding system for all the playoff teams and to avoid blowouts and mismatches, DuBoise explained. However, it comes at a price of sometimes breaking up the traditional regions, as was the case for Ocean City this year.“I think (the snaking process) has worked out well and it has created very interesting matchups,” DuBoise said when reached on Wednesday.Some Ocean City working families, faced with the prospect of trying to arrive in Long Branch by 7 p.m. on a Friday, would probably take issue with that assessment. Yet the fact remains, the Raiders have advanced in the big dance and can make the South Jersey final for the first time since 2000 with a win.Long Branch knocked off third-seeded Highland, 33-3, due at least in part to the fact Highland was missing 17 players for disciplinary reasons. The Green Wave won the last two Central Jersey Group 4 titles prior to being “snaked” to the South region, and they showed their playoff mettle against Highland.Long Branch also has a deceptive record. Even though they are just 4-5, every opponent on the Wave’s schedule is a playoff team.If the Red Raiders can prevail against Long Branch, they would next be matched against the winner of the other semi-final pitting Millville at Shawnee, the two-time defending champions.Ocean City’s Chris Armstrong, right, exults with Brian Beckmann (6) after Armstrong’s game-clinching fumble recovery at Mainland.
Winnebago2742.86 Floyd663031.25 Area Total81180549.81 Butler2 Floyd96 Franklin1592 Kossuth324055.56 Cerro Gordo49717 Mitchell55975.32 Worth12125.53 Worth47 July case countCases before July 1New since July 1% since July 1 Franklin778251.57 Hancock474951.04 Cerro Gordo10239579.48 Floyd6870.83 Hancock62264.58 Winnebago263758.73 Area Total26 Kossuth Mitchell294460.27 Winnebago Worth153268.08 Wright3705512.94 Hancock963 Total % Recovered Cerro Gordo16 Kossuth3244.44 Franklin80350.31 Franklin3 Wright366486.12 Area Total161626 Mitchell Winnebago633 RecoveredNew Recovered Wright1 Confirmed CasesNew Cases Kossuth72 Worth Cerro Gordo131726.35 Butler70379.55 Mitchell731 Butler474146.59 Butler88 Hancock2 MASON CITY — Just shy of 50% of the COVID-19 cases reported in our listening area since the start of the pandemic have come in the month of July.On July 1st, the area of Cerro Gordo and the eight surrounding counties plus Kossuth had a total of 811 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. Since July 1st, 805 more cases have been confirmed.Cerro Gordo County between July 1st and this morning saw 395 new cases, bringing the total as of this morning since the start of the pandemic to 497.26 new cases of COVID-19 were identified in our listening area in the 24-hour period leading up to 11 o’clock this morning — 17 in Cerro Gordo; three each in Hancock and Winnebago; two in Franklin; and one in Mitchell.That brings the area’s total since the start of the pandemic to 1616 — 497 in Cerro Gordo; 425 in Wright; 159 in Franklin; 96 each in Floyd and Hancock; 88 in Butler; 73 in Mitchell; 72 in Kossuth; 63 in Winnebago; and 47 in Worth.29 more people have recovered for an area total of 903, or 55%. No new deaths were reported in our area in the last 24 hours. Looking statewide — five more people have died for a total now of 820; 491 new cases were identified to bring the total to an even 41,000; 303 more people have recovered for a total of 29.166. Deaths Wright425 Floyd2 Area Total9032954.97
Conte, who was cleared by a court of any wrongdoing in 2016, retorted by calling Mourinho a “little man”.– Sanchez is ‘phenomenal’ –Meanwhile, Mourinho, whose side host Stoke in the Premier League on Monday, has refused to rule out a January move for Alexis Sanchez, describing the Arsenal forward as a “phenomenal” player.But the United manager does not want to be drawn on his chances of beating Manchester City to a deal, saying it is not “ethical” to talk about another club’s player in such a way.City are favourites to sign Sanchez, who is out of contract at the end of this season and has made clear he has no intention of staying at Arsenal.Mourinho, whose squad has just returned from a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, said: “I don’t know if it’s ethical or correct to be speaking about players of other clubs.“If somebody speaks of one of my players to tell we are interested, I wouldn’t be very happy.“Sanchez is an Arsenal player. Probably this weekend he is going to defend Arsenal colours so I don’t think it’s correct to say things about Alexis Sanchez.“At the general level, what I can say is myself and the Manchester United board, and the owners, we don’t believe a lot in the January market.“But in relation to Alexis Sanchez, I don’t say a word. The only word I can say is he is a phenomenal player. Apart from that, he is an Arsenal player and I feel I shouldn’t say much more than this.”Share on: WhatsApp Manchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Jose Mourinho on Friday said he felt “contempt” for Chelsea manager Antonio Conte as their toxic public row continues to escalate.The Manchester United manager has traded insults with his Chelsea counterpart over the past two weeks, with their dispute becoming increasingly bitter.“I think when a person insults another you can expect a response. Or you can expect contempt,” Mourinho told reporters.“The first time he insulted me I had a response, a response that I know that touched the point where he really feels hurt.“Then he insulted me for a second time but now I change and now (I have) contempt. And for me contempt means the end of the story.”The enmity between the two men stretches back to early last season, with Mourinho accusing Conte of humiliating him with the scale of his celebrations as United fell to a 4-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge in October 2016.The two managers have continued to snipe at each other since then, with Ander Herrera sent off during a bad-tempered FA Cup quarter-final in London last March, as Conte accused United of trying to stop Eden Hazard by fouling him repeatedly.Conte has also criticised United’s spending, while Mourinho even mocked the Chelsea head coach for having a hair transplant.However, their comments have acquired more bite lately, beginning when Mourinho implied that Conte was a “clown” for his dramatic touchline celebrations, although he later claimed he was not referring specifically to the Italian.Conte then accused the United manager of going senile, with Mourinho responding by referring to the four-month suspension that Chelsea’s manager received in 2012 for failing to report match-fixing while at Siena.