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High School Football:
West Deptford Spoils Lindenwold's Opener

Friday, September 14, 2001

By Gary Steiner
SJSports Staff Writer

This was supposed to be an evening to celebrate the opening of Lindenwold football, with the first home game for the new high school. But everyone's thoughts were on the tragedy of three days earlier in New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville, PA. The crowd lit candles, and held a moment of silence before the game. Lindenwold student Felicia Valez sang "God Bless America", and the crowd cheered the start of the game, looking for something to show that our lives could get back to normal.

The visiting West Deptford players had dedicated the game to Nick Brandemarti, a 1997 graduate and former football player who worked at the World Trade Center and is still listed as missing. It seemed that there was plenty of tragedy to go around this day, as Lindenwold junior Blake Burr decided to play only a week after his father Victor had passed away.

Both teams played a little sloppy, showing that their minds may not have been completely on the game. After West Deptford missed a field goal, the Lindenwold Lions had 1st-and-ten at their own 20-yard-line. A fumbled hand-off was recovered by the Eagles' Tom Walls. Three plays later the Eagles' Bill Harker ran it in from the 2 to score the first touchdown on Lindenwold's new field at 7:10 in the first quarter.

West Deptford's second touchdown came on a 45-yard drive that ended when Damon McWhite ran it in from the 7 at the 2:45 mark. A fumble on Lindenwold's next possession gave the Eagles a 1st-and-ten at the 19. A pass from Kyle Mancuso to Harker, followed by Jake Brownell's third PAT gave the Eagles a 21-0 lead with 1:08 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, an interception by West Deptford's Tom White set up an 80-yard drive that was highlighted by two long runs from McWhite, which ended in White scoring on a 4-yard run at 6:58. Another PAT from Brownell made the score 28-0. Lindenwold's first touchdown in the new school's history was scored on the next possession. With 3rd-and-13 at their own 37, Frank Conn threw a long pass to Maurice Cantey for the touchdown at the 3:36 mark. A faked PAT resulted in Kameron Sterling running it in for two and a 28-8 score.

West Deptford scored once more in the third quarter when Harker ran it in from the 4-yard-line to cap off a 46-yard drive. Brownell's 4th PAT put it at 35-8. Lindenwold's second touchdown came at 5:51 in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run by Tahron Brown. A fake PAT allowed Blake Burr to score the final two points in the game, ending the contest at 35-16. It may have been a tough loss for the Lions, but it was great to see the normalcy of a Friday night high school football game.

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