Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey Football Player of the Week: Southern’s Matt Barnett
Every week this regular season, Shore Conference football fans will have their chance to vote for the Orthopaedic Institute of Central Jersey/Shore Sports Network Football Player of the Week on our website, with over 100,000 votes cast already this season.
The Player of the Week recipient for Week 7 is Southern Regional junior running back Matt Barnett, who ran for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns in just 8 carries - averaging an unreal 22.3 yards per carry - to lead the Rams to a 34-27 Shore Conference Class A South victory over Brick Memorial.
Barnett had touchdown runs of 1, 35 and 53 yards to lead Southern's Delaware Wing-T rushing attack that ran for 344 yards on 32 carries, averaging 10.8 yards per rush. It was Barnett's first 100-yard rushing game of the season and also a career high. He also ran for a 2-point conversion in the win. For the season, Barnett has 468 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns on 52 carries for an average of 9 yards per rush. All eight touchdowns have come in the past four games.
After starting the season 0-3 with losses to Central, No. 1 Toms River North and No. 2 Manalapan, who are a combined 20-1, Southern has won three of its last four games to keep itself alive for a playoff spot in South Jersey Group V. The Rams are currently seventh and have a huge game this week against Lacey where a win could clinch a postseason berth.
Barnett emerged victorious in a tight battle with Brick's John Prato, who had 100 yards rushing and 3 touchdowns on 9 carries along with a blocked punt in the Dragons' 46-6 win over Lakewood. Barnett edged Prato by just over three percentage points with 37.42 percent of the vote. Howell's Dan Cacciatore made a late push for his all-around performance in the Rebels' 22-13 win over previously-unbeaten Freehold Township, and Jackson Memorial's Mike Gawlik was fourth after a 233-yard rushing effort that put him over 4,000 yards for his career.
Football editor Bob Badders can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.