High School Football:
Saturday, October 2, 1999
By Art Redd
Just imagine arriving at the football field, geared up for a classic battle between two Olympic Conference teams and smelling food being cooked on the grill. The Irish Football Club run by the parents of Camden Catholic provides fans at every home game with grilled sausage, meatball sandwiches and more for sale. But it was the Highland Tartans who were hungry enough for a road victory and captured their first win of the season. Highland used the second half to pull away for a 31-8 win.
Coming into this game, Coach Dennis Scuderi wanted his Irish team to continue their winning ways in their third week of the season. Camden Catholic was trying to start a two game winning streak after their first victory last week. The Irish knew that coach Larry Ziemba's Highland Tartans were in search of their first win.
Each team was waiting to take advantage of any opportunities the other team would give them. That's what Highland did when they recovered a fumble off a punt deep in Irish territory. The Tartans used the backfield combination of Brent Tyson and Ayo Saba to pound the ball into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game in the second quarter. Tyson scored on a burst across the goal line to put Highland up 9-0. Sean Pollard got the first points on a 31-yard field goal. The Tartans took full advantage of mistakes to go into the locker room up by nine points.
That backfield combination of Tyson and Saba continued to pound the Irish defense for the next score of the second half. Tyson completed a scoring drive with 9:02 remaining in the third quarter when he scored on a 35-yard touchdown run to put the Tartans up 16-0. By now, everyone was stuffed from the half time meal and the home crowd was looking for something to cheer about. The Irish offense completed a big third and nine in their own territory for a huge positive gain. Senior quarterback Brian Cassano rolled right and completed a pass to senior wide receiver Tony Gravinese for a first down and more. After Gravinese caught the ball, he broke left and continued on for a 75-yard touchdown reception to finally get on the scoreboard. Camden Catholic converted on the two-point play and the Highland lead was cut in half, 16-8.
Most of the time after a big offensive play the defense picks up and makes big plays to get the ball back. The Irish defense did exactly that and got the ball back at their own 11-yard line. But a key interception by the Tartans defense with 3:59 remaining in the third quarter gave Highland excellent field position at the 9-yard line. This time it was Brown's turn to score from the 4-yard line to give Highland a 24-8 lead after a successful two-point conversion pass to Brown from Tyson.
Now with a sixteen-point deficit and a little more than a quarter to go in the game, Camden Catholic sustained a drive that took them into the final quarter. The Irish were able to move the ball well deep within Tartans territory. With 6:24 remaining in the game, the Irish cough the ball up and Highland recovered the fumble to end the scoring threat. Just over three minutes later, Andrew Frazier caught a touchdown pass from Nate Giles to put the game out of reach.
Photos by Art Redd
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