WOODBURY – As season openers go, this contest would earn high marks as far as Paulsboro High football coach Glenn Howard is concerned.
His talented Red Raiders, the defending South Jersey Group 1 champions, invaded Woodbury High Saturday morning to face a long-standing traditional rival and rolled past the Thundering Herd by a 32-0 score in a West Jersey Football League Memorial Division contest.
Howard can be thankful for solid performances from two-way end Santino Morina, who dominated on both sides of the ball, along with running back Dehron Holloway and a terrific offensive line in front of him.
“Not bad for an opening game, especially against an impressive team like Woodbury,” said Howard. “Our offensive and defensive lines really came off the bell well, and we had some individuals take advantage of that.”
Morina, a junior, certainly was one of those players coach Howard had to love in his lineup Saturday. The two-way lineman brutalized a solid Herd offensive line for three sacks and two fumble recoveries. He followed a first quarter fumble recovery by hauling in an acrobatic 20-yard TD reception from quarterback Colin McCarthy to give the Raiders an insurmountable 19-0 advantage at that point.
Morina and defensive teammates Douglas Blue-Eli and Robert Glocker limited Woodbury quarterback Andre Parker to 11 completions, 69 yards and an interception, while thwarting the Herd ground game to just 69 yards as well.
“Those guys were incredible, just incredible,” Howard said. “They will keep improving. They’re a hard working bunch.”
Morina ended the first quarter on a high note. On defense, he surged into the Woodbury backfield and forced a fumble on a handoff, recovered the ball, and bolted 14 yards to the Herd 20 yard line before being tackled. He stayed on the field to line up as a tight end, and then quickly hauled in a leaping 20—yard TD score with just :22 seconds remaining in the quarter for a 19-0 lead.
“The fumble recovery was probably the key because it helped us get momentum for the touchdown on the next play,” said Morina.
“But I definitely liked scoring the touchdown!” he smiled.
Holloway took advantage of the Raiders' dominance displayed by their offensive line. The senior RB rushed for 150 yards on 26 carries and one TD while also scoring on a 66-yard screen pass from quarterback Colin McCarthy, who himself finished with 124 yards passing and two TDs in the air along with a rushing touchdown.
Holloway could not be stopped in first quarter action, scoring both his touchdowns to help the Raiders out to a fast 12-0 lead.
“Dehron (Holloway) and his linemates looked sharp,” said Howard, whose Raiders were upset by Woodbury in last season’s Memorial Division clash that cost them a division crown. “They were up against a very talented team and this was not an easy game. I’m sure we will see Woodbury again in the Group 1 playoffs down the road.”
While Holloway was the offensive star in the rushing department, junior Tyhere Dowd also turned in a solid afternoon. Dowd rushed for a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, the game's final score, while hauling in four receptions for 23 yards.
The visitors carried a 19-0 lead into the locker room at halftime, and then closed out the second half with touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters.
The Raiders will travel to Glassboro next weekend for a possible tough matchup in WJFL action while Woodbury will visit Pennsville.
WEST JERSEY FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Paulsboro 19 0 6 7 – 32
Woodbury 0 0 0 0 -- 0
1st: Paulsboro: Dehron Holloway 3 run (kick blocked)
1st: Paulsboro: Dehron Holloway 66 pass from Colin McCarthy (run failed)
1st: Paulsboro: Santino Morina 20 pass from Colin McCarthy (Ricky Wolf kick)
3rd: Paulsboro: Colin McCarthy 1 run (pass failed)
4th: Paulsboro: Tyhere Dowd 24 run (Ricky Wolf kick