Home Youth jerseys Delsea keeps unbeaten record intact and wins WJFL independence title

Delsea keeps unbeaten record intact and wins WJFL independence title

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GLASSBORO — Demonstrating its ability to be “dirt-resistant” has allowed the Delsea Regional High School football team to shake off an uncharacteristic slackness and keep its spotless record intact.

The Crusaders, No. 2 in the South Jersey Mean 15 rankings, overcame four turnovers and a double-digit deficit to earn a 33-27 win over upset St. Joseph on Friday night at Rowan University.

It certainly wasn’t pretty at times, but Delsea showed a lot of character with their comeback.

“Every Delsea team has to be tough if you’re going to win anything,” said senior two-way lineman Ashton Blose, who was sacked for a 23-yard loss in the game. “We showed a lot of tenacity to overcome all this adversity from the start.

“Everyone is aiming for the best dog. We just have to keep improving as we work towards that end goal of a state championship.

After:Football HS: Scores, schedule for the 2022 season

Delsea (8-0) ticked one thing off his to-do list with Friday’s win, winning the West Jersey Football League Independence Division title. And his journey to the division penthouse has been a tough ride that the team hopes will pay dividends as the games get even bigger in the weeks to come.

“We were never ready for a fight last year,” said junior running back Wayne Adair, who scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including the go-ahead with 52 seconds left. “We played a very difficult schedule this year. We’ve been in dogfights all the time. Winning the (division title) is one goal, but the end goal is to win a state championship.

“Coach (Sal) Marchese always says that the teams have nothing to lose when they play us, so they are dangerous. But I see it is that we are also dangerous.

Delsea played anything but clean football in the first half when they committed turnovers on three consecutive possessions, including a pair of fumbles in the red zone, and handed out a fourth gift to start the third quarter.

After overcoming a 14-0 deficit, the Crusaders restored the lead when St. Joseph completed a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the first half as James Steel carried a 38 prayer yards from James Mantuano.

“Don’t panic,” Marchese told his players at halftime. “We played a very sloppy game, but they showed a lot of heart to overcome all those blunders.

“We are an extremely tough team. These kids are tough, they are committed and I can’t say enough about them. But man, oh man, we have to play better than that. We have to play much cleaner and much smarter football, if we want to go anywhere. »

Coaches clash

In what was the first-ever meeting between two of South Jersey’s elite programs, Marchese and St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco spoke at length before the game. The two coaches have combined for 589 wins, including a South Jersey record 356 for Sacco.

“Two great programs, possibly the best two of the last 30 years in South Jersey,” Marchese said. “Look at the history, the traditions, the championships, I told Coach Sacco before the game, it’s an honor to play against you. It’s old school and does a great job.

“He’s one of the coaches I looked up to along with Clyde Folsom and Pete Lancetta when I came up through the ranks. I had faced Clyde and Pete before, but never had the opportunity to play Coach Sacco.

The feeling was mutual for Sacco towards Marchese.

“I always looked up to his father, he was like an idol to me,” Sacco said. “And Sal is right there, following in his footsteps. It’s a class act, who does it the right way.

Three things we learned

∎ Delsea’s Jared Schoppe might be one of the toughest running backs to slow down. He rushed for three more touchdowns, giving him 17 for the season. He rushed for 153 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the fourth time this season.

“He’s tough as nails,” Marchese said of Schoppe. “He’s a throwback, he’s a kid who could have played in the 90s when everyone was tough.”

Delsea’s running game shows no signs of slowing down either. The team rushed for over 350 yards in the game, including 172 for Adair.

∎ If you’re a St. Joseph fan, you may be out of nails. In each of the last six games, the winning margin has been less than seven points, including a thrilling 29-28 victory last week when the Wildcats scored 17 points in the final six minutes for the win.

Kicker Trevin DelGozzo, who netted the game-winning field goal against Lenape last week, scored two more field goals, including a 36-yard tying game in the fourth quarter.

St. Joseph was able to celebrate his only “home” game of the season at Rowan. The Wildcats celebrated with homecoming festivities.

∎ St. Joseph will be tough in the playoffs. Although they are few in number, the Wildcats have plenty of quick-hitting abilities to send their opponents into shock. The team had three plays for 30+ yards, including Hail Mary’s touchdown play to end the first half.