After being down, 26-6 in the second quarter, Penns Grove scored 29 unanswered points to defeat Willingboro and become the first team in South Jersey to finish 13-0 and win the South Jersey Group 1 bowl game.
First Quarter: Willingboro came right out and made an impression when Au-Shaun Davis connected with Chris Long off the flea flicker for an 80-yard touchdown on the game’s opening play. Things did not get better for Penns Grove when their punt was blocked by Demie Sumo and the Chimeras had the ball on the 30. The drive featured Davis and wide receiver Nasir Murray, with the two connecting for a 9-yard pass on third-and-eight and for a 17-yard touchdown for a 14-0 lead. After a Penns Grove punt, Willingboro had the ball and were faced with a third-and-16 after a sack by Michael James. But Willingboro was able to get the first down and scored on a 5-yard run by Murray out of the wildcat, giving the Chimeras a 20-0 lead. Penns Grove had their best drive to that point, scoring on a 1-yard run by Tyreke Brown, as the quarter ended. A 23-yard run by Brown and a 17-yard run by Jayon Carter.
Second Quarter: Murray took the ensuing kickoff to the 44 and Zaire Clements ripped off a 29 yard run to the 27 and Davis found Murray for 11 yards to the 2 for a first-and-goal. Khaleb McRae was tackled by freshman Zion Cheeks, moving the ball back six yards, but Davis avoided the rush on the next play and found Murray for an 8-yard score and Murray’s third touchdown, putting the Chimeras up 26-6. Kavon Lewis then found Nasir Robinson on the screen for a 60 yard score down the left sideline and Robinson scored a 25-yard touchdown on their next possession, breaking through a hole and outrunning the defenders. The score was now, 26-18, and the Red Devils moved down to the 19, but the half’s last play was an incomplete pass in the end zone.
Third Quarter: Willingboro was movedthe ball to midfield, but on third-and-six, Makhi Scott broke through for a 6-yard sack and the Chimeras were forced to punt. Penns Grove narrowed the gap even more when Carter scored a 38-yard touchdown, keeping his balance along the right sideline.
Fourth Quarter: Willingboro was forced to punt again on a drive that had an 80-yard touchdown by Sumo called back on a penalty. Penns Grove was faced with a fourth-and-1 on the 35, when Carter went five yards to the 30 for the first down. Robinson went 17 yards to the 13 for another first down and the Red Devils went in front for the first time, 27-26, on a 31-yard field goal by Jared McNair. Willingboro’s next drive was intercepted by Albree Stone and returned to the Willingboro 30 with five minutes left. The following Willingboro drive was a disaster, as they were driven back on penalties and had a first-and-37 on their own 3-yard line, eventually turning it over on downs on the 10. What followed was a crazy way of attempting to run the clock out, but Brown scored on a 1-yard run with less than two minutes left to make it 35-26.
Summary: It was a tale of two games, with Willingboro jumping out to their fast start, followed by Penns Grove taking over the game. Penns Grove showed resilience after they were down 20-0 and 26-6. They came back in last year’s South Jersey Group 1 final against Paulsboro, but it wasn’t enough to win. This year, they came back and got the W. Both are young teams: Penns Grove only has three seniors and Willingboro has many back, including Davis, Clement, Long, and Sumo. I wouldn’t be surprised if I saw either or both teams back in this game next year.