High School Football:
Saturday, November 14, 1998
By Gary Steiner
Two teams that rarely play each other met in the opening round of the Group 2 playoffs. It would be Delran's high powered offense, averaging 30 points per game, versus Hammonton's stingy defense, averaging just under 3 points per game. A balanced attack of run and pass for Delran would prevail with their defense stopping Hammonton's powerful running game, as the Bears stunned the undefeated Blue Devils 23-8 to move on to play Gloucester in the semifinals.
Delran scored first in this game, after the Blue Devils went three and out on their first possession. The Bears drove down to the Hammonton 3-yard line simply by handing the ball to Chris Pell, who had long runs of 15 and 21 yards. But the Blue Devils held them to a 4th and goal at the 3, so the Bears elected for the field goal. Ryan Molinaro's kick was good, giving the Bears a 3-0 lead at 6:47 in the 1st quarter.
On their next possession, the Blue Devils were unable sustain a drive, and were forced to punt. But they got a break two player later when a pass was tipped by Gregg Silvesti and intercepted by John Pyle. This gave them a 1st and 10 at the Delran 28-yard line. But, on a 4th and 8 at the 15-yard line, the Bears' defense held, allowing Delran to take over on downs. Delran went three and out, Molinaro's punt being downed at the Hammonton 42-yard line. Three plays later, on a 3rd and 11, Delran's Chris Umbrell intercepted a pass and ran it in for the touchdown. Molinaro's point after was good, making the score 10-0 with 7:16 left in the half.
Again Hammonton went three and out, Bob Durham punting to the Delran 32-yard line. Four plays later, Ted Trump threw a pass to Vinnie Marino who ran it in for a 57-yard touchdown. With the extra point, Delran led 17-0 with 4:31 left in the half.
Hammonton turned the ball over on their next possession when Silvesti fumbled on a 3rd and 9. This gave the Bears a 1st and 10 at the Hammonton 37-yard line. The defense held the Bears to a 4th and goal at the 9, where they elected to go for the field goal. Molinaro's second attempt of the day was good, upping the score to 20-0 with 1:17 left.
In the second half, Delran's only score came after the Blue Devils elected to go for it on a 4th and 1 at their own 20-yard line, but were stopped by the Bears. The Bears only managed 1 yard out of the next three plays, setting up Molinaro's third field goal of the game, putting Delran ahead 23-0 with 6:18 left in the third quarter.
The Blue Devils were in the red zone with 7:56 left in the 4th quarter, but were stopped by a Kevin Ramirez sack on a 4th and 9 at the 11-yard line. Hammonton finally managed to get on the scoreboard when Silvesti ran one in from 14 yards out with 1:51 left in the 4th quarter. The 2 point conversion was successful with a pass to Chris Hoffman, but it was to little too late. Delran left a stunned Hammonton crowd with a 23-8 victory.
Photos by Art Redd
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