Saturday, November 19, 2005
By Clark Washington
The highly favored Red Raiders from Paulsboro were in a similar position last year for the South Jersey Group I championship. The defending champs Cougars from Schalick defeated Red Raiders by two touchdowns and were looking to repeat as champs this time at Paulsboro. What a difference a year makes as Paulsboro would be without their top running back in DeAndre Fowlkes. The team has put together an impressive nine game winning streak with no losses because Paulsboro had worked together as a unit on the field. But it doesn’t hurt to have Shavon Mears on the team to continue Paulsboro's love to run the ball. The Red Raiders would increase their overall record to ten wins on no losses after defeating Schalick by a 20-3 margin and advance to the group finals against Glassboro.
Last year, Schalick just completely dominated their group playoffs as the number one seed and easily won their two games to make it to the title game. Paulsboro methodically marched their way to meet the Cougars but the players in that game made highlights for the two schools as Schalick defeated Paulsboro. And it’s amazing after graduation sometimes takes way those key players you wish you could keep forever, a team makes it back to the post season the very next year. That would be a direct accomplishment to the coaching staff.
Paulsboro would jump ahead in this game on a 35-yard field goal from Lou Sabastiani with 4:57 remaining in the first quarter. Schalick would march down the field and Tony Latini’s 28 yard field goal attempt tie this game just two minutes later. But the front line of Paulsboro began to win those battles in the trenches and be rewarded for their efforts when Mears scored on a one yard touchdown run just over four minutes remaining in the half. Paulsboro would build on their 10-3 lead during the third quarter when quarterback Paul Giordano completed a pass to Shane Mitchell who found open spaces to run. When Mitchell was finished, he had recorded a 70 yard catch and run touchdown breaking this game wide open. Sabastinai would be successful converting his second field of the game this time from 32 yards away early in the fourth quarter.