With three games at Rutgers today and four tomorrow, it is very hard to get all seven in when I get home, which is 50 minutes away. Therefore, I will do a quick review of the three games today.
Game 1 – Williamstown-Cherokee: Field position dictated the early outcome of this game, won by Williamstown, 30-16. Williamstown’s first drive was on the Cherokee 45, courtesy of a 5-yard punt. After, a few runs, Doug Brown found Jonathan Wood for 23 yards for first-and-goal on the 6. Turner Inge scored on a 3-yard run to put the Braves in front, 7-0. After forcing a three-and-out, Williamstown started on their 41 and needed four plays to cover those 51 yards with three first downs, including a 26-yard run by Brody Colbert to make it 13-0. They followed up with a 30-yard field goal by Brendan Amico in the middle of the second quarter. Cherokee had a chance before halftime, making it as far as the 13 with a patient passing game and three Williamstown penalties, but their fourth down pass missed an open receiver and gave Williamstown the ball.
After Williamstown punted a botched center snap gave them the ball on the 9-yard line and Inge scored his second touchdown shortly after that from three yards. Cherokee was on the board late in the quarter on a Bill Osborn-to-Caeden Burti pass of 18 yards. Inge then went 53 yards to give Williamstown a first-and-goal from the 7, followed by a 1-yard sneak by Brown. Cherokee closed out the scoring on an 3-yard Osborn pass to Ty Bartum with just under two minutes left.
Williamstown had their way with Cherokee most of the game, much of it on the ground, but were able to throw when needed. Brown is a dual threat at quarterback and Inge is a sophomore who is on his way to a big career for the Braves. Their defense shut down Cherokee’s running game and played without their two starting linebackers from earlier in the season, Brandon Perkins and more recently, Julian Gravener. Cherokee is a young team, as I counted nine underclassmen starting on offense and seven on defense.
Game 2 – Shawnee-Hammonton: Shawnee pulled away from Hammonton aided by three turnovers, all interceptions to beat Hammonton, 34-0.
After a scoreless first quarter, Shawnee scored on a 9-yard touchdown run by Dalton Short. The Renegades followed it up with a 23-yard strike from Evan Welsey to Nate Summerville to make it 14-0 at the half.
In the third quarter, Welsey scored from a yard out and threw for a 44-yard score to Mike Giunta. Then Mike Jarvis hit quarterback Ryan Barts, forcing a fumble that was picked up by Matt Suriano, who went 36 yards for the score. The fourth quarter featured Shawnee running out the clock.
Shawnee showed a big and athletic team – no superstars, but many players who are good or very good. They could move the ball on the ground and through the air. Hammonton is another young squad with eight starters on each side of the ball returning next year and I was impressed by Jaiden Abrams as a runner. In the end, turnovers and penalties did them in.
Game 3 – DePaul-Mater Dei: I did not take many notes in this game, but here is what I remember: the opening drive by DePaul was a good one capped off by a 9-yard touchdown pass from Andrew Butler to De’mere White on the screen. Malik Ingram got Mater Dei on the board in the second quarter with a 2-yard run, but the extra point was blocked. DePaul got in front on a Butler pass to Teddy Afful and a short run by Butler. Mater Dei took points off the ball in between when they accepted a penalty on a field goal and went for the touchdown. However, Ingram was stopped just short of the goal line and the instant replay confirmed the call on the field.
Alex Brown connected with Clarence Lewis for a touchdown with Lewis making a nice grab. Butler found Marshawn Ferguson for a score with Mater Dei returning the favor when Ingram scored from four yards out. That made it 27-19, DePaul after three quarters.
Mater Dei had a chance to tie when Naron Buntin went about 50 yards on the jet sweep, but the 2-yard attempt was no good, making it 27-25. The Seraphs threatened, but DePaul made the key plays from that point on to win the championship.
This was the best game of the day and there is credit to go around. Butler was big for DePaul tonight. I was not that impressed with him in the preseason, but he has shown me in the three games I’ve seen him in that he is a good quarterback. Afful and White were other top performers. For Mater Dei, Ingram is one of the state’s best backs and it seems as if I never see him lose yardage. Another player who impressed me on both sides on the ball was WR/DB Isaac Noguera, who filled in at quarterback in the wildcat when Brown went out injured.