Due to a family commitment in Pennsylvania, I took advantage of an opportunity to see some high school football in South Jersey. I took in the first half of the Vineland-Cherry Hill East game, went to the birthday party, and then drove over to Winslow to see their game against Cumberland.
The Vineland game featured a very good team against a program that is struggling.
Vineland had possession of the ball after a Cherry Hill East punt on their own 40. Faced with a fourth and two at their 48, Vineland went for it and it was a success as Isaih Pacheco went around the right side on the quarterback keeper and sprinted for a 52-yard score and a 7-0 lead. The Fighting Clan started the next drive on their 23, completed a 26-yard pass to John Garcia, followed by a 49-yard touchdown by Nihym Anderson through the middle, where he outraced the CHE defense.
The Fighting Clan bridged the first and second quarters, scoring when backup quarterback Ryan Shelton went ten yards with the keeper between the tackles to make it 21-0, one minute into the second. Two minutes later, Philip Blackwell returned an interception for a score. Anderson later scored from three yards out to make it 35-0 at the half.
Vineland won the game, 61-6, and you can read a complete game story here for Tom McGurk’s article.
There is a lot of explosiveness on Vineland. Pacheco and Anderson, Rutgers and Maryland verbal commitments, respectively and Maryland had a couple of coaches in attendance. Pacheco only played offense from what I saw and he did get time at running back. They are a good and entertaining squad who will be a factor in South Jersey Group 5 come playoff time. This look like a program that is here to stay, as there are talented players in the underclassmen levels.
A quick note was the presence of Vineland kicker of Carli Kling, a girl who was 5-for-5 on extra point attempts in the first half and her kicks were straight.
I traveled over to Winslow for their Saturday night game against Cumberland, with both teams 0-1 coming into the game and the rain that was coming down ended just before game time.
The game opened with Cumberland returning the opening kickoff well into Winslow territory and ended the drive with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Ta’quan Green to Tyrell Russell. The two-point conversion pass succeeded and the Colts were up, 8-0. Winslow came right back on a 5-yard touchdown run by Demetri Goodwater-Worthington to make it 8-6, with the two-point attempt failing. Cumberland had an opportunity to add to that lead, when a 50-yard pass to Charles Thomas put them on the 24, but the Colts turned it over on downs with six seconds left in the quarter.
The game changed in the second quarter with Winslow exploding for 36 unanswered points. For Winslow it was a coming out party party; if you are from Cumberland, the dam broke.
It started when Prince-Dru Bey found Isaiah Shaw for what looked like a 10-15 yard completion, but a miss tackle enabled Shaw to scoot the rest of the way for the 62-yard score and a 13-8 Winslow lead they would not relinquish. Shortly after that, Marcus Young returned an interception 23 yards for another score and one can sense the game changing. Bey scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with 4:33 left in the half for a 25-6 lead, helped by Shaw returning a punt 12 yards to the Cumberland 33 and Ismael Berry going 24 yards to the one-yard line one play prior to the score. Shaw returned another punt to the 17 and the Eagles scored two plays later on a Donovan Burch touchdown for a 31-8 Eagle lead with two minutes left in the half.
Bey then found Burch for a 70-yard score and scored again with eight seconds remaining when Bey found David Wallace, Jr. in the end zone for a 13-yard score to make it 43-7.
The second half was played on a running clock and Winslow scored when Bey found Shaw for 30 yards. They scored once more on a run for a 55-8 win.
It was an entertaining game with action and I felt for Cumberland; they are a program trying to find its way and there is talent to work with. I wish them the best in the coming weeks (same for Cherry Hill East). Winslow is also trying to get on the winning track and they are closer to arriving there than Cumberland is. They also have some talent starting with Bey. Shaw had a very good game: he can maneuver his way through traffic. One who had a good game on defense was senior defensive end Devin Davis - he had at least two sacks and provided pressure throughout the game.
One thing I enjoyed was the PA announcer, giving his entertaining take on the game. One of his sayings was “the Eagles are soaring and scoring” or vice versa, sounding like Walt Frazier calling a Knick game.
I enjoyed the day and the opportunity to see some South Jersey football and I liked what I saw. Many in the north part of the state forget about the south, but they play some good football.