Friday, December 3, 2004
By Jerome Michaels
There's a lot to be said about a team who has made it to a championship game and then come away with the victory. Both of these teams in tonight’s South Jersey Group IV championship game have a bit of experience with winning and losing that final game. Last year, Washington Township was that team in the finals but coming away with the tough loss to Eastern. This year, the Renegades from Shawnee quickly erased any doubts of capping off an undefeated season with a victory at home against the Minutemen. Three first half touchdowns were more than enough to post a 26-13 win to finish the season with a 12-0 record.
The offense for Shawnee found out early that they could move the ball against their rivals from the Burlington/Olympic American Division. After an excellent return by Evan Francks deep inside Township territory, the Renegades were able to muscle their way across the goal line when Luke Bonus scored on a 3 yard run. The defense gave Shawnee’s offense another chance which the Renegades too full advantage of. Quarterback Fred Linett connected with Kassidy Smith for a 17 yard touchdown reception and Shawnee ended the first quarter with a 13-0 lead.
Washington Township was a team that has proven that they knew how to win when trailing in a game. The Renegades knew that and continued to put points on the scoreboard just in case. Luke Bonus’ catch and run widen Shawnee’s advantage with a 57 yard touchdown bringing the score to a 19-0 margin. The Minutemen continued to stick with their ground game and it paid off before halftime. Ryan D'Imperio finished off Township’s first scoring drive with a 4 yard run and narrowed their deficit to 19-7 at intermission.
The second half of this championship game was a bit different than the first with the defense coming up big at the right moments. It was until the fourth quarter when the defense caused a turnover and recovered a fumble setting up Shawnee’s next offensive score. This time scoring on a rushing touchdown, Smith’s 6-yard run was just the beginning of the celebrations for the Shawnee faithful. Township would add late touchdown reception, but by that time the crowd were already holding up the championship trophy.