High School Football:
Saturday, November 13, 1999
By Art Redd
If you were in the Cherry Hill area and smelled smoke on Saturday afternoon, it came from Camden Catholic High School. Not only were smoked sausages being cooked on the barbecue grill, but also the Irish football team was smokin' their opponents on the gridiron. Camden Catholic got to host the quarterfinal state Parochial Group 3 playoff game against Paramus Catholic. The Irish defense didn't allow a touchdown in their 20-6 win.
This was a game that the Irish felt they could win. There were people wondering if Camden Catholic got by the Pallatines, could they compete against the powerhouse St. Joseph, Montvale. Coach Dennis Scuderi had his players prepared to play this game and it showed on the field. Senior Brian Cassano was able to find the open receivers with success in the Irish's air attack.
Paramus started the game's opening kickoff by marching right down the field. Starting from their own 25-yard line, junior quarterback Anthony Campanile got his team well into Irish territory on their sixth play of their drive. Faced with a third and goal from the fifteen-yard line, Matt Wilson and Kellen Holly combined to stop the rushing attempt to force Paramus to attempt a 35-yard field goal. With 3:52 remaining in the quarter, Paramus was ahead of Camden Catholic 3-0. The Irish also had much success on their first possession of the game by also getting all the way to the Paramus 5-yard line. When their drive continued into the second quarter, their fourth and goal passing attempt from the four-yard line was deflected.
Camden Catholic, on their second series of the game, got on the scoreboard quickly. Cassano connected on four straight passes that covered 45 yards. The drive took just a minute and fourteen seconds with included a 9-yard pass to Dave Madden with 7:58 remaining in the half. The extra point attempt was no good, but the Irish were ahead 6-3. The defense picked up and got the Irish offense back on the field when Paramus was forced to punt after four plays. The air attack continued which featured a key fourth and nine completion to Tony Gravinese with 3:06 remaining in the half. Now on the 15-yard line, Camden Catholic was unable to put any points on the scoreboard. The halftime ended with the Irish holding a three-point lead.
As the second half started, Paramus repeated what they did in the first half's opening kickoff. With 5:29 remaining in the third quarter, Ed Albert kicked a 25-yard field goal to tie the game at 6-6. But Camden Catholic did a repeat of their own. Again scoring on four plays, Cassano started the drive with a 44-yard pass to Cesar Concepion. The two connected again on a third and thirteen to take a 13-6 lead. That's how the third quarter ended.
The Irish defense was dominating throughout this whole game. Mike Carlino along with Matt Wilson were constantly in the backfield of Paramus. Cassano had the confidence in his receiver's ability to get open for the reception in the fourth quarter. They started a scoring drive that covered 85-yards that saw Cassano complete four straight first downs. The drive ended when Gravinese caught a 6-yard touchdown pass with 6:26 remaining in the game. That would be the final score with the Irish advancing to the semifinal matchup with St. Joseph, Montvale next Saturday.
Photos by Art Redd
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