Saturday, November 20, 2004
By Vincent Lewis
There was a discussion before the game whether Pemberton's passing game would be able to keep up with Deptford's option offense. During the early moments of the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals game, it would seem as if the defenses would have their hands full. Both teams relied on their offensive lines for protection and both scored touchdowns in the first quarter indicating more points were about to come. But as the game began to develop, the Spartans' defense came up big at the right moments allowing the offense to score on a key 97 yard drive. That touchdown was the beginning of Deptford's 28-13 win over Pemberton propelling them into the finals again.
Pemberton advanced to the semifinals with a 7-2 record behind quarterback Ian McCleaf calling the plays on the field. The senior quarterback has been successful putting the ball in the air labeling the Hornets as a serious passing threat. An offense gets even better when they are able to establish a running game and that duty has been given to Lester Goffney who also doubles as the return man.
The Hornets went right to work with the coach’s game plan during their first possession of the game. Landis Williams got pass his defender and came down with a 28 yard touchdown reception with eight minutes remaining in the quarter. Not to be outdone, Deptford use a 51 yard option run by quarterback Sheldon Johnson that eventually set up DaJuane Collins’ 6 yard touchdown run to tie the game. Still in the first quarter, the Hornets moved the ball again but the Spartans defense halted their drive at the three yard line. The offense rallied from that defensive stand and marched 97 yard into the second quarter and scored on Collin’s second touchdown of the day on a fourth and one from the one yard line. Deptford would take that 14-7 lead to halftime.
Each year, a team surprises everyone but the team doing the surprising by upsetting the higher seed. Moorestown was that team from the Group 3 bracket that knocked off the number one seeded Hammonton Friday night. With a day to reflect on advancing to the finals, the Quakers could sit back and wait to see which school they would be traveling to in two weeks for the title.
Deptford started the second half the same way they ended the first with a Collins touchdown run and a 21-7 lead. Pemberton would respond on their next possession when Steve Lewallen caught a 22 yard touchdown reception to get Pemberton to within eight points 21-13 after the missed extra point. But Collins scoring his fourth touchdown of the game put this game out of reach 9:55 remaining in the game.