Saturday, December 4, 2004
By Vincent Lewis
There’s much to say about a team winning a championship and trying to defend that title could be considered a very tough uphill battle. Teams always have to compensate for the loss of graduating seniors, coaching changes and sometimes injuries. The Spartans from Deptford High School could be entered into this category and their amazing quest to repeat relied on them coming away with a victory against a determined Moorestown football squad. In a very entertaining South Jersey Group 3 championship game, Deptford’s late fourth quarter touchdown run by DaJuane Collins was the deciding score against the Quakers. Deptford captured their second straight title with their 28-21 victory.
Moorestown has impressed everyone but themselves this year by making it to the finals. In every game during the playoffs, the Quakers were considered the underdog, but don’t tell that to the players and coaches on the team. Moorestown was the lower seed in every game leading up to their match up with Deptford. The Quakers started out this game continuing to impress by scoring the game’s first touchdown on an Al Pierce 20 yard run. That score was enough to quiet the home crowd, but only for a moment.
It has not been an easy path to the finals for the 11-1 Spartans football team. Despite their record, Deptford found themselves trailing again in the first quarter. Last week against Pemberton, the Spartans watch their opponent move the ball down the field and eventually scoring an early touchdown against their defense. Moorestown enjoyed their brief lead only for several minutes, that was until Calvin Corsey first tied the game and then Collins’ 70 yard run put Deptford ahead 14-7 in the first quarter. That was also the score at the half.
Moorestown didn’t let an apparent remarkable touchdown reception but ruled incomplete by Bobby Murray during the first half linger in their memory too long. Andrew Steele tied the game in the third quarter on a 16 yard touchdown run and Pierce’s second rushing touchdown of the game put the Quakers ahead 21-14 in the final quarter. But the offense line continued to open wholes for Collins to do what he has done all season long. Tying the game with more than six minutes remaining, Collins broke open a 47 yard touchdown run that got the home crowd right back into this game. The cheers got even louder when Deptford recovered a fumble and marched down the field to score the game winning touchdown by Collins.
Coach Al Orio had a lot to say about his team’s accomplishments before, during and after their football season. He mentioned that this year’s championship was definitely a lot hard to win due to the fact of losing twenty-three seniors. All of the coaches to a moment to reflect on all of the sacrifices, hard work during the summer and conditioning the players did during the season and each coach was proud of their success.