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South Jersey Football:
Lynx Try To Weather Storm; Championship Berth On The Line

Saturday, October 28, 2006

By Rich Quiñones
South Jersey Lynx Football Correspondent

Camden, New Jersey (South Jersey Lynx) – The South Jersey Lynx have come too far to stop now. And when they step onto the field Saturday night against the Nashville Storm, destiny’s darlings with try to weave some more magic out of their gallant hats for a chance at the NAFL Championship. With a win against the Storm, South Jersey will earn a berth in next week’s championship game in Orlando, Florida. But one step at a time is all the Lynx are thinking about, and it starts against a formidable foe in the (11-1) Storm, who come in as the Southern Conference champions.

The Lynx have done it the hard way when you consider the events that transpired last Saturday night in Williamstown, NJ. With their hopes and dreams pinning on the outcome of a game against their most heated and hated rivals, South Jersey showed once again why they are the definition of heart and soul. Clinging to a 14-13 lead with under three minutes to go against Central Penn, Edward Dover made the Mystic Defensive Play of the Year, intercepting a pass and returning it 93 yards for a score and sealing a 21-13 win over the Piranha. And when Marty Cross took a knee to run out the clock, South Jersey sent the defending champion Piranha home with a bitter loss in their collective mouths, which spilled over into a grade school tirade the following day on the club’s website. The boys from Harrisburg knocked the Lynx from the field conditions to their so-called lack of professionalism. However, the only thing the Piranha didn’t knock was their team’s poor performance which including four turnovers, a botched extra-point and a lack of fight, heart, and courage on the gridiron when it mattered the most – in crunch time. But as they say, that was then and this is now. There is one more hill to climb. One more game at home in front of the best and most loyal fans in the league.

Dubbed the “Legion of Lynx”, South Jersey fans are loud and non-stop for 60 minutes, waving towels and ringing cow bells as if ringing in the New Year. Saturday night, they will be the “12th man” – they will be needed more than ever. On the field is a different story. With a defense that plays with a massive chip on its shoulders, South Jersey has shut down some of the best offenses in the region. Last week, the Lynx shut down the Piranha, limiting the offense to just 182 yards. The secondary has stepped up big time; intercepting seven passes the past two weeks. With the weather forecast calling for high winds and a brisk chill, passing will be at a minimum. But that might just benefit the Lynx, as the Storm’s run defense has a penchant for giving up big plays and big gains.

The Lynx will rely heavily on the rushing attack of the new three-headed monster in Fidel Napier (who is still nursing a sore ankle), Dawain Ford and Rodney Paige to wear down the Storm’s front seven. The passing game is also poised for a big night. Lynx head coach Lester Cream Jr. might have Cross operate from the no huddle offense, utilizing short passes on quick routes. Edwin Diaz, Luis Cortes, Samuel Ruh and Maurice Taylor all run very crisp and precise routes and all four are deep home run threats for Cross, who was very effective rolling out of the pocket against Central Penn. After last week’s emotional win over the Piranha, Cream knew that the job was not completed. “This was a huge win, I am so proud of my guys, but we still have work to do. We want to be champions,” said a happy Cream, who was like a father watching his son score the winning touchdown.

The game has the makings of a low scoring affair, which again benefits the Lynx. South Jersey has allowed unprecedented 3.8 points per contest in 2006. They have allowed just 29 points in four playoff games. No team in NAFL history has dominated defensively like the Lynx have this season. The Lynx have a four game stretch in the latter parts of the season where only one team passed the club’s 50-yard line. Somewhere the 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers; the 1985 Chicago Bears; and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens are all smiling, as they can only appreciate this group of determined men and the stinginess they show on the field. The phrase bend, but don’t break does not apply to this bunch – they never bend and they never break. They as a core unit will have another shot Saturday night at Eastern High School in Voorhees, NJ, to show that they are not to be reckoned with. One more hill to climb. One more game to show the world that the journey is not yet completed. One more win before the promise land shows itself. One more defensive stop and off to Florida, for fun, sun, and a shot at the championship.

NAFL Round 4 - Eastern Conference Championship

Central Penn Piranha 13
South Jersey Lynx 21


1st Quarter
CPP - Emne'ko Sweeney 12 yard run (Andar Rehm kick) (5:45)

2nd Quarter
SJL - Dawain Ford 3 yard run (Tom Parks kick failed) (14:53)
SJL - Peter Fountain 15 yard pass from Marty Cross (Ford 2pt. reception) (0:28)

4th Quarter

CPP - Roger Talley 24 yard pass from Mark Jarmon (bad snap no attempt) (10:23)
SJL - Edward Dover 93 yard interception return (Parks kick) (2:25)

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