There are likely many people who have no idea that Lacey Township used to be part of the Central Regional School District. When Lacey High School opened its doors in 1981 it meant many outstanding athletes would trade in garnet and gold for cardinal and navy blue. It also began a football rivalry between the schools with the annual game played on Thanksgiving Day for many years and later as a divisional matchup. With the Lions and Golden Eagles now in different divisions the teams no longer play during the regular season but the rivalry will be resurrected this Saturday (June 4) during an alumni football game at Central’s Joseph J. Boyd Memorial Field.
Organized by OT Football the former players from Lacey and Central will meet in a full contact game with kickoff scheduled at 7pm. The teams began organizing back in March and have been practicing for weeks to get ready for Saturday’s clash on the turf. It’s no surprise when it comes to elders Central will have more since their history goes back to 1956. The oldest Golden Eagles expected to suit up are 1974 graduate Rick Pullen and 1976 alum Mike Caputo, who is the police chief in Tuckerton. Among others on the Central roster are Sam Pepe, Kyle Gordon, Jason Prior and quarterback Justin Cherry. School administrator and former Manalapan head coach Tom Gallahue is serving as Central’s head coach and is being assisted by George Steinhauser.
Lacey, who dominated the rivalry between the schools will count on ex-Lions standouts like Justin Pandorf, Bill Exner, Carl Tarricone, TJ Granato, Jarrod Verge, Sean McAndrew and Tom Rickmers. Their oldest player is 1988 graduate Jim Tweed and the coaching staff is made up of Glenn Ross, Derek Stephenson and the only head coach is program history, Lou Vircillo.
Pride is clearly the biggest motivator but both teams are also looking to raise money for causes near and dear to them. Lacey is looking to support youth football in their town while Central’s alumni will donate proceeds to a new trophy case and other needs of the football program.
General admission is $10 with kids 5 and under free.