SJSports Online
High School Links

Football Links

Group 1 Championship:
Red Raiders Hold Off Thundering Herd

By Gary Steiner
SJSports Staff Writer

The comment, "It's not raining today!" was frequently shouted from the visitor's stand. The day was clear, cold and windy, and the Woodbury fans were looking forward to a rematch after losing to Paulsboro 14-8 in their regular season contest.


Paulsboro won the toss and elected to kickoff. Woodbury ran it back to the 35. After a 5 yard rush followed by a 5 yard offsides penalty, Woodbury's Lamar Sturdivant broke free with a 35 yard run to the Paulsboro 25. Another run by Sturdivant would give Woodbury a 1st and goal on the 9 yard line. Unfortunately, when #9 was tackled, his knee was twisted in a direction that it wasn't designed for. After a lengthy delay, the Herd's star player was driven off the field in an ambulance and taken to Underwood Hospital with 9:37 left in the 1st quarter.

When play resumed, it would take the Herd three plays before quarterback Ryan Kent hit Shawn Harvey in the end zone for a touchdown. Harvey is also their kicker, but he could not score twice in a row as the point after attempt was blocked, leaving the 6-0 with 9:21 left in the 1st.

Woodbury's kickoff was squibbed, rolling to the Woodbury 49. But Paulsboro was unable to make use of the excellent field position, and after 3 plays had to punt. Against the strong wind, Jarod Claybourn's punt only traveled to the 21 yard line. Two successive option keepers by quarterback Ryan Kent took Woodbury down to the 1 yard line. But, two penalties coupled a sack by the Raider's Vaun Clayburne pushed Woodbury back to a 4th and goal on the 17. The Herd elected to go for it, but was stopped by another sack from Clayburne to give Paulsboro the ball on downs at the 25.


The Raiders again were unable to move the ball, and were forced to punt. Woodbury got a 27 yard return from Paris Minor to the Paulsboro 46 However, a fumble on an option pitch gave the ball back to the Raiders. Again Paulsboro went 3 and out. This time the Herd blocked the punt to get the ball at the Paulsboro 45, but again fumbled on their first play. The Raiders got the ball at the end of the 1st quarter on their own 45.

With a 4th and 1 on the Woodbury 46, the Raiders fumbled giving the Herd the ball back to the 49. After a 10 yard pass to Martin Johnson moved them to the 39, Woodbury's quarterback was sacked on a 3rd and 10 by the Raiders' Reggie Lewis. There was a bad snap on Woodbury's punt, which gave Paulsboro the ball on the Woodbury 25 yard line. After moving the ball down to the 13, the Raiders' Richard Gaines ran it in for a touchdown. The point after was wide right, leaving the score 6-6 with 6:45 left in the 2nd.

Next, Woodbury went 3 and out, and punted. However Paulsboro fumbled on their next possession, but Woodbury again was not able to move the ball, and punted it back. Paulsboro's Richard Gaines broke a 32 yard run to the Woodbury 43. Quarterback Vernon Sharper hit Troy Bennett with a pass to take them down to the 16, then connected with Solomon Sheard for another to give them a 1st and goal on the 8 yard line. But Woodbury held, forcing Paulsboro to kick a field goal. Vernon Sharper's attempt was good, making the score 9-6 at the half.

To open the second half, the Raiders' Demien Green ran the kickoff back to the Woodbury 20 yard line. Paulsboro next fumbled, which the Herd recovered on the 14. The Raiders' defense rose to the occasion, sacking Woodbury, causing a fumble which was recovered by Reggie Lewis in the end zone for a touchdown. The extra point was good, giving the Raiders a 16-6 lead with 10:00 left in the 3rd.

After a 3 and out, Woodbury punted, but the Raiders were called for roughing the kicker, giving the Herd a 1st and 10 on their own 41. After a sack by the Raiders' Holloway gave the Herd a 4th and 15, forcing them to punt. But Paulsboro fumbled the ball back. Woodbury got a 28 yard run down to the 3 yard line, where Paris Minor would run it in for a touchdown. The Herd attempted a 2 point conversion, but Paulsboro held, making the score 16-12 with 3:26 left in the 3rd quarter.

With the kickoff, Paulsboro got the ball back at their own 29 yard line. But a holding penalty took them back to the 19, a fumble back to the 13 yard line, and a failed screen pass lost back to the 9. The Raiders punted, but the wind only allow the ball to travel to the 36 yard line. This field position allowed the Herd to open the 4th quarter with a pass to Shawn Harvey that took them down to Paulsboro's 14 yard line. Three plays later, on a 4th and 9, the Raiders' Vernon Sharper intercepted a pass in the end zone, stopping the Woodbury drive.

Both teams exchanged punts, but neither could sustain a drive. The Herd got the ball back with 16 seconds left in the 4th quarter, but a sack by Paulsboro's Vaun Clayburne ended the game.

©1998 South Jersey Sports Online