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High School Football:
McIlwain's Fumble Recovery Lifts Camden Catholic Over Wilson

Saturday, October 19, 2002

By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Special Correspondent

Before the season even started, there was a game that on paper resembled the makings of two high school football teams playing for their version of a superbowl. High expectations were placed on both the Woodrow Wilson Tigers and the Fighting Irish from Camden Catholic. As the season progressed, only one of these teams has lived up to the predictions that many had expected. Camden Catholic (6-0) would be that team as the Irish won their sixth straight game by defeating Woodrow Wilson 10-0.

Coach Dennis Scuderi started this game off with the no huddle offense pretty much catching the Tigers' defense off guard. Their first play from scrimmage picked up a first down and Camden Catholic's game plan was set in motion. But an under thrown ball by Nick Cangelosi was picked off and Woodrow Wilson had good field position deep in Irish territory. Wilson was unable to take advantage of their situation and gave the ball back to Camden Catholic.

When this game started, it had all the makings of a somewhat high scoring game with the quickness and speed both of these offenses possessed. This game turned out to be a battle of the defenses, as neither team would score a touchdown on offense. Woodrow Wilson would line up for their second series of the game when Robert Webb would fumble the handoff from quarterback Tareq Council which Joe McIlwain was in the right place at the right time. McIlwain recovered the ball at the Irish 47-yard line and broke loose from Council's grip for a 53-yard defensive touchdown and a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Turnovers would hurt Wilson all game as they let a few opportunities slip away. This would also be true for Camden Catholic throughout this game. Wilson had a chance to tie the game when Preston Brown was wide open for a touchdown in the third quarter but the ball was just off his fingertips with 5:22 showing on the clock. Camden Catholic would finally breathe a sigh of relief when Rich Racabaldo nailed a 27-yard field goal with two minutes remaining in the game.

With the win, Camden Catholic has a clear path of going undefeated this season. This would be the Irish's fifth straight shutout of the season with only three game left on their regular season schedule. Woodrow Wilson (3-3) needs to win two of their last three games to finish the season above five hundred. Their remaining schedule is at home against Cherry Hill West and on the road against Paul VI and Camden.

Photos by Art Redd

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