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South Jersey Football:
Perfection Intact; Lynx Crush Stars to Roll to 6-0

Saturday, August 26, 2006

By Rich Quiñones
South Jersey Lynx Football Correspondent

WILLINGBORO, NJ (South Jersey Lynx) – The South Jersey Lynx are quickly showing the rest of the North American Football League that they will be a team to reckon with come playoff time. The Lynx used a potent offense along with a devastating defense to crush the Hudson County (NY) Stars, 44-0, at John F. Kennedy Center on a dreary and wet Saturday afternoon.

Marty Cross completed 9-of-14 passes for 230 yards with two touchdown passes – both to wideout Maurice Taylor. Cross also added a pair of rushing TD’s for South Jersey (6-0), which gained well over 350 yards of total offense on the day. Taylor was the recipient of Cross’ stellar day, hauling in a 50-yard TD pass and then a 74-yard TD catch.

“We are just clicking on all cylinders and we are playing well, but we need to keep improving to make a run in the playoffs,” said Cross, who has 14 total TD’s on the season (2 passing, 2 rushing) with just six interceptions.

However, not to be overlooked in the big win was the Lynx’ ground game. Fidel Napier a bruising back gained a franchise record 162 yards on just 10 carries, including a club record 75-yard TD run, while the special teams also got into the action. Edward Dover’s 65-yard punt for a score on the first touch of the game for the Lynx set the tone early on.

After holding the Stars (3-4) to a three and out on the game’s first series, Dover fielded a punt at his own 35-yard line, dogged several tacklers and broke free down the left sideline for a quick 6-0 lead.

Cross was sacked on the ensuing two-point attempt.

The defense continued to manhandle the Stars, giving the Lynx great field position throughout the game. A 35-yard run by Napier on the last play of the first quarter put the ball on the Stars’ two-yard line. On the first play of the second quarter, Cross’ quarterback keeper, gave South Jersey a 12-0 lead.

Cross then connected with Vito Hatchell for the two-point conversion, making it 14-0 in the opening seconds of the stanza and the Lynx would cruise from there.

“Marty has a very strong arm,” said Lynx head coach Lester Cream Jr. “He is a very seasoned player. It seems that he gets better the older he gets. I am waiting to see when he is going to hang it up, but that is no time soon.”

Moments later, Cross hooked up with Taylor for a 50-yard scoring strike and a 20-0 lead after the Lynx failed on another two-point attempt. Cross would later add a 10-yard TD run for a 26-0 lead. However, once again the two-point conversion failed, as the Lynx headed into the locker room with a commanding advantage. During the half it almost looked as though the Stars had enough, as the overmatched team from up north was slow to get onto the field to start the third quarter.

“It was not necessarily them (Hudson County) coming back on, it was just them having taken up a meeting with the referees, and them disagreeing, taking up a little time,” said Cross. “But once they came to terms, we were able to start the second half.”

It might have been a better idea for the Stars to stay in the locker room for the third quarter, as the Lynx continued to pile up points. With the ball on their own 25-yard line, Napier took matters into his own hands, taking the handoff, bouncing to the outside and then exploding through the Stars’ secondary for a gorgeous 75-yard TD run and a 32-0 lead. The play was set up after Cross fired a dart to Hatchell on a quick hitch play, perhaps setting the Stars’ defense up for Napier’s run. With the Stars’ defense crowding the line, Napier took the handoff and raced into the Lynx’ record books.

“Our ground game did pretty well today,” Lynx head coach Lester Cream Jr. said after the big win. “We ran off tackle, we ran up the middle, our ground game looked good. Our tailback (Napier) is a phenomenal player.”

The offense continued the onslaught on the first play of the fourth quarter. Facing a third and long from their own 26-yard line, Cross rolled out and found a wide open Taylor streaking down the left side for a brilliant 74-yard scoring strike.

“It wound up being a man on man and coming out of the huddle, I saw the way they lined up it was obvious where I was going because Taylor is one of our speed guys so not too many people can run with him,” added Cross. “So when I saw him taking off I just hit him with the ball.”

Cross then hit Samuel Rue in the corner of the endzone to convert the two-point conversion, making it 42-0. A safety in the late stages of the contest capped off the scoring for the Lynx, who shut out their fifth opponent of the season.

“Our defense is relentless, they get to the ball. I was concerned about being off two weeks, but they pick it up. They came in like we just had a game last week.

However, there is no rest for the weary as the Lynx as well have one team on their mind. “I let them know that the playoffs are coming up and there is one team out there that every team looks at and that is the Piranhas,” Cream concluded. “We are looking to get on that level in time for the playoffs. A couple of these games are tune-up games as far as I am concerned.

Right now our destiny is in our own hands.

Game Notes: The Lynx have shutout five teams in 2006 (Hudson County twice), which is a club record. The old mark was four set in the 2005 season…Napier’s pair of TD’s were his first of the season…The Lynx played their first of three regular season home games at John F. Kennedy Center.

NAFL Regular Season

Hudson County Stars 0
South Jersey Lynx 44


1st Quarter
SJL - Edward Dover 67 punt return (pass failed)

2nd Quarter
SJL - Marty Cross 2 run (pass successful) SJL - Maurice Taylor 63 pass from Cross (pass failed)

3rd Quarter
SJL - Fidel Napier 84 run (pass failed)

4th Quarter
SJL - Cross 10 run (pass successful)
SJL - Taylor 76 pass from Cross (pass successful) SJL - John Haltiwanger safety

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