High School Football:
Saturday, September 26, 1998
By Gary Steiner
Collingswood won a long defensive struggle at the home of the Haddon Township Hawks. Ted DiOrio's 4th quarter field goal proved to be the only score, as the Panthers were able to survive the battle with the victory. Both teams ended the day at 1-1, Collingswood after losing the week before to Paulsboro, and the Hawks defeating the Thundering Herd of Woodbury. This makes Collingswood's meeting with Haddon Heights next week even more significant, with Heights being the only undefeated team left in the Colonial Conference.
Collingswood went three and out on their opening possession. The punt was short, giving the Hawks good field position on their own 41. They drove down to the Panthers' 24-yard line, but the defense held on a 4th and 8. Collingswood's next drive was highlighted by a 20-yard run by Brendon Green, but a fumble on a 4th and 4 gave the Hawks the ball back on their own 36-yard line. This time it was the Hawks who went three and out, punting the ball back to the Panthers.
The defensive struggle continued. Haddon Township's Dave Herrera set up a 4th and 20 by sacking the quarterback. The punt gave the Hawks the ball on their own 48-yard line. Their drive was helped along by a long count by quarterback Robert Sherman that drew the Panthers offside on a 4th and 5. Haddon Township's drive was then broken up when Collingswood's Ed Martin intercepted the ball at the 13-yard line. But again, the Hawks' defense took over, with Jackson Fallon getting a key quarterback sack. With 1:40 left in the half, a 46-yard trick play in which a short pass to Sam Dickson was then pitched to Beau Sherry, took the Hawks down to the Collingswood 16-yard line. When the Panthers' defense held, the Hawks Jackson Fallon attempted a field goal on a 4th and 9 at the 15, but it sailed wide right.
In the third quarter it was much of the same, with both teams exchanging punts. A key 35-yard run by the Hawks' Beau Sherry was negated by a clipping penalty. The Hawks were also hurt by two inopportune holding calls.
Collingswood's first drive of the 4th quarter, which was highlighted by a 12-yard Eric Gustafson run, put them deep in Hawks' territory. On a 4th and goal from the 6, Ted DiOrio kicked his game winning field goal with 10:53 left in the game.
For the rest of the game it was a combination of defensive pressure and various miscues that would prevent either team from scoring. On a Haddon Township punt, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Panthers gave the ball back to the Hawks in Collingswood territory. An interception by Dwight Coney put an end to the Hawks' drive. With 1:55 left, Haddon Township fumbled the ball, which made many in the stands think the game was over. But with 0:24 left on the clock, Collingswood fumbled the ball back. This gave the Hawks one last chance. Then the Panthers' Brian Hatz intercepted the ball to end the game. Final score - Collingswood 3, Haddon Township 0.
Photos by Art Redd
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