Erial – In a game that had more than its share of electrifying plays, it was only fitting the outcome wasn’t decided until the waning moments.
Timber Creek and Delsea slugged it out for 47 minutes and 51 seconds with the Chargers clinging to a three-point lead over a Crusaders team that played with grit and determination all game.
Delsea had the ball on the Timber Creek 16-yard line with under a minute left. Twice sophomore quarterback Damir Lomax threw into the end zone and nearly completed both, one was so close the Crusaders sideline erupted thinking they had scored, but the referee ruled the ball hit the ground.
So, with nine seconds left, Larry Holdcraft attempted a 32-yard field goal, but the ball kissed the top of the upright and fell wide to the left.
Timber Creek escaped, 39-36, and it was anything but easy.
“Delsea is never going to be easy,” said Timber Creek coach Rob Hinson, who was honored at mid-field after the game for his 100th win at the school. “In the preseason Delsea wasn’t putting up a ton of points so everybody said Delsea was going to be easy. I said I don’t know what Delsea program you’ve been watching, but Delsea has a great program and they’re never going to be easy.
“They have that veteran offensive line back and they paved a lot of holes for that number seven and he had a game against us that probably no one has had since (Chris) LaPierre of Shawnee 10 or 11 years ago. He had a tremendous game.”
Delsea’s number seven, Aiden Borguet, was incredible. He didn’t score every time he touched the ball, it just seemed that way. The junior fullback had 253 yards rushing and touchdown runs of 68, 70 and 67 yards. And that was in the first half. He finished with 358 yards on 28 carries.
“My linemen, I can’t thank them enough,” Borguet said. “They opened up the holes and I was able to see where I was going, make a cut and take off. They made it easy for me.”
Meanwhile, Timber Creek received a solid performance from all-South Jersey quarterback Devin Leary who was as impressive running the ball, when forced from the pocket, as he was throwing it. He picked up 69 yards on eight carriers and, despite throwing only one pass in the second half, was 14-for-21, 214 yards and two touchdowns.
Returning first team all-South Jersey running back, Kyle Dobbins, who transferred in this year from St. Augustine Prep, ran strong all night and had an 18-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
But it was senior running back Jerome Gibson who did the heavy lifting for the Chargers. He rushed 13 times for 75 yards. He scored the Chargers first touchdown on an 18-yard run capping a 73-yard drive in the game’s opening minutes and added another in the second quarter on a perfectly executed screen play that went for 66 yards. In the third quarter he scored on runs of 13 and 1 yard that enabled Timber Creek to build an 11-point lead, 39-28.
“Tonight it felt like I was carrying the team and usually it is a different story,” Gibson said. “Usually we have a lot of passing yards, but tonight it was me.
“On the screen I thought the end was going to sit there, but he didn’t. I had those three guys in front of me and I had to score. It was the first scoring touchdown I’ve ever had. It felt good, it felt super good.”
The teams traded punches from the outset. First Gibson scored, then Borguet answered with a 68-yard run. Then Dobbins scored and Borguet answered again, this time 70 yard run and Delsea grabbed a 14-13 lead. And still the game was barely six minutes old.
Then Leary hit Jordan Nash with a six-yard pass and Timber Creek grabbed the lead again, 19-14, at the end of the first quarter.
They continued to trade touchdowns in the second quarter, Lomax and Borguet scored touchdowns sandwiched around that Leary to Gibson screen pass and the half ended with Delsea leading, 28-25.
In the third quarter, each of Gibson’s touchdowns came after Delsea turnovers. Then Lomax connected with Shaikya Hannah and Borguet ran for the 2-point conversion setting the stage for the heart-stopping ending.
It was a wild opening night.
West Jersey Football League
Delsea 14 14 0 8 - 36
Timber Creek 19 6 14 0 - 39
TC-Jerome Gibson 18 run (Zach Coluccio kick)
D- Aiden Borguet 68 run (Larry Holdcraft kick)
TC-Kyle Dobbins 18 run (kick failed)
D-Borguet 70 run (Holdcraft kick)
TC-Jordan Nash 6 pf Devin Leary (kick failed)
D-Damir Lomax 1 run (Holdcraft kick)
TC-Gibson 66 pf Leary (kick failed)
D-Borguet 67 run (Holdcraft kick)
TC-Gibson 13 run (Coluccio kick)
TC-Gibson 1 run (Coluccio kick)
D-Shaikya Hannah 23 pf Lomax (Borguet run)