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High School Football:
Second Half Surge by Shawnee Completes Their Comeback Season

Sunday, December 8, 2002

By Jerome Michaels
SJSports Special Correspondent

It has been done before, but it's always special when you are involved. Seeded in the fifth position of this year's group 4 bracket, the Renegades from Shawnee had an uphill battle going up against the first and second seeded teams. After stunning the top seeded Toms River North with their overtime win, Shawnee waited until the second half of this game to finally put points on the scoreboard. The Renegades pushed 14 unanswered points across the goal line against Washington Township to capture their first South Jersey Group IV title in school's history. The final score of 14-10 was Shawnee's eighth straight win of the season.

Coach Tim Gushue has watched his team in this position several times during his career at Shawnee. Last year, the Renegades lost to Jackson (who went on to win the title) in the semifinals. The year before, that same team from Jackson defeated Shawnee in the finals losing by a touchdown preventing them from capturing that elusive title. Well this year was a different story as they have been surprising doubters all season long.

Township took advantage of a turnover in the first quarter setting up a 25-yard field by Shaun Logan. Another turnover started the Minutemen's next scoring drive. With 1:49 remaining in the half, Dan Holmes' 4-yard run gave Township a 10-0 lead. The Renegades again looked as if they would come so close and that bus ride home would be a long trip.

Starting from their own 29-yard line, Shawnee marched right down the field and scored with 1:23 showing on the game clock for the third quarter. Rick Engels rushed for a 3 yard score and Shawnee was right back in this game. The Renegades' defense would do their job keeping Township off the scoreboard. The championship title and game winning score was recorded by Engels determination. After picking up a key fourth down play, Shawnee's quarterback Bill Kurtz pass, and a catch and run by Engels put the Renegades ahead for the first time of the game. The defense held and Shawnee celebrated their first title ever.

Photos by Mark Fletcher

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