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High School Football:
Camden Catholic Missed Opportunity To Advance In Playoffs

Saturday, November 18, 2000

By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer

The Fighting Irish from Camden Catholic were hosting the Green Knights of St. Joseph of Montvale in a Parochial Group 3 playoff meeting. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead, St. Joseph were shut down for most of the second half giving the Irish a chance for a spectacular comeback against a very good football team. The offense for Camden Catholic would come alive in the second half, but they weren't able to penetrate the Green Knights defense in the red zone and come up short in their attempt to defeat St. Joseph. A late interception and a touchdown by St. Joseph slammed the door on the Irish and come away with a 20-6 playoff victory.

Coming into this game, the Irish knew they had a tough game going up against St. Joseph of Montvale. The Green Knights featured the passing game of Pat Mahon and the running game of John Szucs and Jon McPhee. The Irish would get some relief for runningback Mark Caputi with the return of Marquis Beverly. With that tandem and good defense, the Irish would never feel as if they wouldn't have a chance at advancing to the Parochial Group 3 championship game.

Right from the whistle being blown to start this game, Camden Catholic were giving St. Joseph a defensive battle which kept them in the game early. But the first quarter of this game was highlighted by the big play from the defense. Jon McPhee's picked off a Nick Cangelosi pass deep in Irish territory for a 13-yard touchdown. The Green Knights weren't done with the big plays in the first quarter. Dan Martin chewed up huge yardage on a draw play and broke threw the Irish's first line of defense and put his team into scoring position. St. Joseph would jump out to a 14-0 lead and take it to the half.

With a since of urgency, the coaching staff knew that they would have to come up with big plays of their own. Lined up to kick off the second half, Camden Catholic surprised the Green Knights with an onside kick which was recovered by the Irish. In the backfield for the first time was Marquis Beverly. The offensive line got Beverly enough room to run and the Irish began marching down the field. Camden Catholic would get into scoring position and were faced with a 4th and 1 from the 6-yard line. There was no question when the Irish went for the first down with Cangelosi converting the first down on a quarterback sneak. Beverly would cap off the scoring drive with 7:57 remaining in the quarter with a 3-yard run for their first score of the day. The extra point was blocked and the Irish trailed St. Joseph by a score of 14-6.

That momentum would continue to be in favor of the Irish when the defense came up with an interception and returned the ball down to the 15-yard line. The Green Knight's defense would stop the Irish drive when they failed to convert on a 4th and goal from the 3-yard line. Camden Catholic did not give up as they were again in scoring position with 8:08 remaining in the giving. Trying again to covert a 4th goal from the 8-yard live, the Green Knights again intercepted a pass attempt yard live to ended the threat.

Up until that point, Camden Catholic wouldn't give up any points after their offensive turnovers. With 5:25 remaining in the game, the Irish offense was on the move again. Cangelosi connected a pass reception across the middle and was tackle yet again in St. Joseph territory. Only needing a touchdown and a two point conversion to tie, Camden Catholic were ready to attempt maybe their final scoring drive. The Green Knight's Nick D'Alesandro picked off a pass which put his team in scoring position. McPhee scored from 7-yards out to slam the door on the Irish chance to advance to the finals.

Photos by Art Redd

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