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High School Football:
Dramatic Overtime Win Gives West Deptford Their First Title

Saturday, December 7, 2002

By Art Redd
SJSports Staff Writer

There were several key decisions that both of these teams made throughout this South Jersey Group 2 championship game. All in West Deptford will remember the one choice made by coach Clyde Folsom. "The community has been waiting for this for 45 years. We can't enjoy this one by ourselves. We have played this one for everyone who's out here right now", mentioned an exuberant coach after the Eagles defense stopped Buena's two-point conversion attempt to win this game. West Deptford would not be upset that their coach wanted to give thanks to the community before congratulating the team first in their 21-20 overtime win.

It was no surprise that both of these teams would continue to do what they have been doing all season long, and that was to just run the ball. West Deptford's Tom Walls and Buena's Andrew Mack has led their team throughout the season with their running ability and strength to bulldoze their teams to their final game of their high school football season. Both of these players were responsible for sending this game into an extra period and both players responsible for the drama that unfolded during the exciting overtime.

With the game tie at the end of four quarters, the West Deptford Eagles and the Chiefs from Buena had to use overtime to decide who would take home the title. West Deptford's offense lined up first from the 25-yard line and began with a 5-yard run by Walls. Expecting the 6'3" 225lbs fullback to get the ball again, senior quarterback Kyle Mancuso dropped back and was stopped for a 3-yard loss. On the very next play, Mancuso took the snap and surveyed the field for an open receiver. He found none and tucked the ball and scramble 23-yards for the touchdown. After the all-important extra point attempt was good, the Eagles would look for their defense to come up big after posting a 21-14 lead.

Buena has had the luxury of lining Mack up as the quarterback with his passing abilities to go along with being the leading rusher for the Chiefs. Mack accounted for the first touchdown of the game by passing the ball. Finally after an eight play drive, Mack plunged in from a yard out to trail by one. On the road and wanting to end this game now, coach George Maxwell decided to go for the 2-point conversion. With the ball placed on the 3-yard line, Mack was the man with the ball when the snap went into his hands. Running through the tackles and mud, his moment pushed him just short of the goal line with the official right on the spot to where his knee was ruled down before his body crossed the line.

Once the team and home crowd was given the news that West Deptford had won this game, the celebration began and the Eagles had captured their first group title in the school's history. There were a few fans that had leaped out of the stands, over the snow piles and onto the field thinking about pulling down the goal post. That didn't happen, as they would join the rest of the crowd congratulating the players for their outstanding efforts.

When this game started out, it looked as if the Chiefs would have their way moving the ball down field. Buena marched 56 yards on the opening drive of this game and scored on a 2-yard reception to Patrick Moore from Mack. That fourteen plays scoring drive consumed over seven minutes off the first quarter clock. The drive was highlight by a key 4th and inches run by Mack to set up a 1st and goal from the 9-yard line. The Eagles would fail to score on their first possession of the game.

Sticking to their game play, West Deptford continued to give the Chiefs a steady diet of Walls up the middle, to the left and then right. Accounting for twenty of the 47-yard scoring drive, Walls eventually tied this game at seven when he scored on a 1-yard run with 4:35 remaining in the half. The extra point attempt was a bit further than normal because of an equipment violation, but it was good to knot this game even.

Buena would start the second half with another time-consuming drive, but this time ended at the Eagles 11-yard line. West Deptford would capitalize and score quickly late in the third quarter on Walls 48-yard touchdown reception from Mancuso.

A personal foul penalty set up Buena's game tying score when Mack tossed a 43-yard reception to Moore who was tackled out of bounds at the 3-yard line. Mack would score on the next play tying this game for the second time.

The end of this overtime game saw opposite ends of emotion all over the field. The Buena fans had a disadvantage viewpoint when the final decision was ruled. Thinking the 2-point conversion was successful drew a loud cheer from the Chiefs side of the field. Then came the reaction from the official's call that stunned Buena and gave the home team more than enough reasons to celebrate.

Photos by Mark Fletcher

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