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High School Football:
Gloucester's Blankenship Rushes Gracefully Past Gloucester Catholic

Saturday, October 20, 2001

By Vincent Lewis
SJSports Staff Writer

What a difference a year makes. Just last year the Rams from Gloucester Catholic were the ones winning this Gloucester City rivalry by two points. This year, Mike Blankenship had other ideas as he seemed to produce positive yards every time he touched the ball. After an early deficit, the Lions came roaring back with a 42-15 rout of the Gloucester Catholic Rams.

Yet another capacity crowd showed up to witness this classic battle that has the alumni from both schools marking this game down on their calendar. Each team was out to prove that they were the team to beat in this city. No matter what their records show in the standings, it's a game that brings together a community giving them something to take their minds off of the tragic events which occurred last month.

The Rams got the game's first touchdown with 5:03 remaining in the first quarter. Keeping the ball on the ground, Gloucester Catholic was determined to march down the field to take the early lead. The key to their scoring drive was when quarterback Jamison Cloud converted on a 4th and inches getting the first down by one chain link. Matt Campbell's 4-yard run on a first and goal gave the Rams a 7-0 head start after the extra point attempt was good.

At the start of the second quarter on their very first play from scrimmage, Blankenship received the pitch from quarterback Keith O'Donnell. Once he headed up field, Blankenship got lose down the left side and out ran the secondary to record an 82-yard score with just 24 ticks into the quarter. The Rams would give Gloucester another opportunity when Vince Londino picked off an interception with 10:44 remaining to the half. That mistake gave Blankenship another chance and he took full advantage of the situation. Moving the down field, the Lions' attempt to keep Catholic guessing by handing off the ball to the fullback. But the end result was Blankenship crossing the goal line with 7:33 showing on the first half clock.

By now the Rams could figure out their opponent's game plan of running the ball. Right before the half ended, it would seem that they could just stop the run to get the ball back. That didn't happen as once again, Blankenship scored with 1:52 remaining. Scott Hillman capped off the drive with the 2-point conversion and a 21-7 lead. Campbell would score his second touchdown of the game for Catholic in the third quarter, but it was all Lions after that.

Once the day was completed, six rushing touchdowns and countless yards collected by Blankenship gave the Lions a Tri-County Conference win. The offensive line had to get the game ball for their ability to create lanes for their star senior running back to get through. The defense for the Lions has been playing well as a team all season. With that combination, no wonder their team has not lost a game this year.

Photos by Art Redd

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