South Jersey Football:
Saturday, November 6, 1999
By Art Redd
There is a class AAA semi-pro football team representing South Jersey in the Mason Dixon Football League. They are from West Deptford and are called the Broncos. With an impressive 11-0 regular season record in their first year in the league, the Broncos finished first in their division and were going up against the well-established Arbutus "Big Red" from Baltimore, MD. West Deptford had little problem in this playoff game, showing their dominance by posting a 33-7 victory to advance to the finals against the Central Virginia Storm.
The Mason-Dixon League was established in 1978 and has grown to 12 teams from up and down the East Coast. The Broncos opponents, Arbutus "Big Red", has been in the league all nineteen years that the league has been in existence, and were the 1998 champions. The four new teams that joined the league this year include the Virginia Mutiny (Manassas, VA), Duplin Raiders (Duplin County, NC), Eastern Shore Blitz (Delmar, DE) and the West Deptford Broncos. Besides the Big Red, the other two teams who have been in the league the longest are the Richmond Ravens (Richmond, VA) and the Central Virginia Storm (Lynchburg, VA). The Goldsboro BullDawgs (Goldsboro, NC), Bay Neptunes (Virginia Beach, VA) and Elkton Mustangs (Elkton, MD) round out the remaining teams.
The Broncos were dedicating this game to Antonio Torres, who has been diagnosed with lymph cancer of the neck. This seven-year-old is the nephew of Broncos' kicker Jeff O'Brick, and has captured the heart of Coach Ben Landi and the rest of the Broncos. With Antonio on their side and a championship run on the line, the Broncos were on the gridiron playing hard nose football and on their way to win their twelfth victory.
Mike Tulane (Collingswood HS) caused havoc for the Big Red offense in the first quarter. After recording a sack, knocking down a pass and recovering a fumble with 6:09 remaining in the quarter, his intensity set up the first scoring drive of the game. Quarterback Marty Cross (Woodrow Wilson HS - Montclair State) lined up in shot gun formation and found George Heller (Triton HS - Albright College) for a 28-yard touchdown reception. After Jeff O'Brick (Pennsauken HS) kicked the extra point, the Broncos jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 3:19 remaining in the quarter. The air attack continued early into the second quarter when Keith Hall (Camden HS) out leaped his defender in the endzone for a 27 yard touchdown reception. Cross' second touchdown pass put West Deptford up 14-0 after the extra point attempt was good. The only blemish of the game for the Broncos was when Arbutus' Jermaine Johnson (Towson State) intercepted a pass and returned it 31-yards for a touchdown.
In the second half, the running game picked up tremendously from Jarvis Perry (Camden HS - Rowan) and Jyi Thompson (Bishop Arch HS - Rowan). The two only had a combined 35-yard rushing in the first half. But Coach Landi called their numbers frequently in the second half and it paid off. The Broncos put together a thirteen play, 90-yard drive that lasted over 9-minutes to take a 20-7 lead. Both Perry and Thompson accounted for 12 of the 13 plays and was capped off with a 37-yard touchdown run by Perry with 5:33 remaining in the quarter. The offensive line created a whole that Perry took full advantage of, and his cut right gave him all the daylight he need to reach pay dirt. The extra point snap was fumbled and never got off the ground.
The Broncos defense continued their dominance when Tulane recorded his third and forth sacks of the game. Not to be left out, James Bailey (Eastern HS - Univ. of New Haven) and Dave Hale (Highland HS) each recorded a sack. Ben Lilies (Kingsway HS, Blinn Univ.) had two interceptions in the game. Brian Randall (Kingsway HS, Delaware State) tipped one of his interceptions in the first quarter right into his hands for the assist. Tulane did get his fifth sack of the game late in the forth quarter.
The run duel of Perry and Thompson continued. This time it was Thompson with a 15-yard touchdown run with 6:07 remaining in the game. Thompson finished the game with 82-yards on 12 carries and Perry rushed for 101-yards on 17 carries. James Davis (Paulsboro HS - Lackwanna Univ.) scored the final points of the game with a 5-yard touchdown run. The extra point was good to cap off the victory for the Broncos.
Photos by Forrest Robleto
©1999 South Jersey Sports Online