|High School Football:
Mayers Carries Cherokee Past Camden Catholic
Saturday, September 15, 2001
By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer
The excitement of high school football could be felt at Camden Catholic were the Irish were hosting the Cherokee Chiefs. Both of these teams were regarded as legitimate contenders in winning their divisional title. In a very close game through two quarters, the Chiefs began to take advantage of every Camden Catholic mistakes to pull away for a 27-7 victory. Sean Mayers accounted for all of the touchdowns scored by Chiefs including a 66-yard run that finally put the game away.
For most of the area high school events, the start of their games began with a moment of silence for the friends and families of the victims of the tragedies in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. The singing of "God Bless America" and the National Anthem could be heard throughout the stadiums and playing fields. This game started out by both teams gathering together at midfield, side by side, showing their unity during this time.
Coming into this game, the Irish knew their main objective was to stop the running game of the Cherokee Chiefs. That responsibility relied solely on the shoulders of senior running back Sean Mayers. The game plan was apparent by head coach John Scott, and that was to shove Mayers straight into the heart of Camden Catholic's defense. Rush after rush, tackle after tackle, Mayers kept coming even when the Irish defense came up big.
Both teams were unable to move the on their first possession, resulting in three plays and a punt. The Chiefs took advantage of a short punt and were deep into Camden Catholic's territory. A key defensive sack by senior defensive end Tom Cassano forced the Chiefs to make a field goal attempt. That kick was no good, but their next drive resulted in the first score of the game. Senior quarterback Blake Letchford converted on a key run to set up Mayers first touchdown. On the fifth play of the series, Mayers scored from 16-yards out and with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter Cherokee led 7-0.
Cherokee took advantage of a turnover by Camden Catholic when a fumbled snap was recovered at midfield late in the first quarter. The Irish defense forced their opponent to punt the ball at the beginning of the second quarter. Punter Adam Scanzano took snap, but then scrambled to the Irish 34-yard line for a key first down. That's when Mayers went to work gaining ten yards at a time picking up first downs. Finally, faced with a third and goal from the 8-yard line, Mayers scored to give Cherokee a 14-0 lead with 9:24 left to the half.
Being down didn't stop Camden Catholic from putting together a scoring drive of their own. Senior runningback Marquis Beverly started the Irish's 8-play scoring drive with a 25-yard run to the Chiefs 36-yard line. Beverly was the hot hand on this drive as he got his team to the 14-yard line. Three plays later, junior quarterback Nick Cangelosi found senior receiver Terrance Long in the endzone for an 11-yard touchdown reception.
Right at the beginning of the second half, the Chiefs went right to work with Mayers wearing down the Camden Catholic's defense. On a 14-play drive, Mayers widen the Cherokee advantage when he scored from the 1-yard line. On their next possession, Mayers put the game out of reach when he bolted down the right sideline for a 64-yard touchdown run.
More photos coming soon!