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Football: Rams Keep Gloucester Memorial AA Trophy in Family

11/23/2017, 4:30pm EST
By Michael Radano SJSD

Gloucester Catholic beat Gloucester for the second straight year in this cross town rivalry

GLOUCESTER – It’s the time of year that everyone likes to talk about family.

News outlets will look for good “family” stories, teams across the pantheon of sports will talk about how it’s important to be a family beyond just a team and families will gather on Thanksgiving mornings to watch football. While it may be a bit cliché, there are some stories that take it to that next level and simply have to be told.

It’s why everyone on the Gloucester Catholic sideline Thursday knew who was getting the ball on 4th-and-1 at the Gloucester 2-yard line. It’s why everyone knew that the two-way senior lineman decked out in maroon and gold would get it again on 1st-and-goal.

“It’s huge, the big guys don’t get the ball a whole lot,” Kyle Murphy said. “We put that formation in during practice this week. I told myself if I get the ball I’m not going to stop at the goal line. I’m happy they called my number today.”

Gloucester Catholic beat Gloucester High, 22-0, and for the second straight season came away with the Gloucester Memorial AA Trophy behind a combined 238 rushing yards on 29 carries by senior Mike McAleer and sophomore Dashaun Harris.

In four years, the Rams (6-4) have endured a lot as this senior class went winless in its first two years and have now posted consecutive identical winning campaigns, something not lost on head coach Casey Murphy.

“I think the way we played today is a testament to this senior class and what they have meant to this program and our school,” said the older Murphy whose younger brother just happens to be the senior lineman who scored the first and only touchdown of his career in the first quarter. “Yeah, Kyle’s my brother and I’m incredibly proud to say he’s my brother, but he’s not alone on this team.

"When they came in as freshman that was my first season. We grew together as a program but we really are a family. You have to be to be successful, and the amount of time we put in as a group makes you more than just a team.”

In a game where there are few if any secrets, Gloucester (4-6) had every intention of ruining the Rams day as the game was more than a little chippy, sometimes nasty on both sides of the ball. In a small town that has always had the rivalry in tact between student bodies, the Murphy boys, who grew up less just one right-hand turn down Market Street, knew this would not be an easy afternoon.

“We expected a physical game,” Casey Murphy said. “We expected them to throw the ball today and it played out like we had hoped. Give our defense a lot of credit. I haven’t been known to be a fan of the spread offense game, but with our skill set, it’s really worked into our favor this year.”

Gloucester Catholic entered the day with a South Jersey best 18 interceptions so fittingly, an interception halted a Gloucester drive and set the wheels in motion for an 11-play 85-yard drive culminated in a 1-yard run by Kyle Murphy.

“We’re well coached and we’re in sync as a unit,” said Harris, who had two picks on the day and surpassed the 1000-yard rushing mark with 1004 to go with a 79-yard touchdown run that put Catholic up 14-0 in the third quarter. “We’re together as a unit. This team is more than just a team. We’re a family and no one can stop us when we work together.”

One final goal was also reached in the fourth quarter when McAleer, who rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries, picked off Catholic’s fourth interception of the day and went 76 yards to make the score 22-0.

“Ask anyone, I really wanted a pick-6 this year,” McAleer said. “I guess I waited long enough.”

With Gloucester unable to find the end zone, the end came quietly and a senior class that’s been through it all left the field with more than just a smile.

“It’s our promise to these seniors that we’re not giving up that trophy,” Harris said.

“I think I’ve been at every Turkey Day game since I was three-years old,’ Kyle Murphy said. “It’s emotional, it’s my last one as a player. It’s crazy to think that I’m never going to step on this field again as a player and in uniform.

“This is the group that turned it around. You have to credit every guy on this staff and on this team. From going from 0-20 to back-to-back 6-4 seasons with two wins over the High. That’s a great couple of years for us.”

West Jersey Football League

Classic Division

Rams 22, Lions 0

Gloucester Cath 0--8--6--8----22
Gloucester          0--0--0--0---- 0

GC-Kyle Murphy 1 run (Mike McAleer run)
GC-Dashaun Harris 79 run (rf)
GC-Mike McAleer 76 int return (Matt Gray run)

Quotable

“This is the group that turned it around. You have to credit every guy on this staff and on this team. From going from 0-20 to back-to-back 6-4 seasons with two wins over the High. That’s a great couple of years for us.”

Gloucester Catholic's Kyle Murphy

Wildcats senior fullback Qwahsin Townsel 32 times for 230 yards and two touchdowns
Haddonfield coach Frank DeLano talks to team after fourth championship in last eight years
Some of the Orio Family – top row (L to R): Al Jr., Al Sr., Pete III, Pete Jr., Andy. Bottom: Brian.

Catholic senior Kyle Murphy

Catholic senior Mike McAleer

Catholic sophomore Dashaun Harris

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