GLASSBORO – By his very nature, Shawnee head football coach Tim Gushue is a worrier.
In the days leading up to the South Jersey Group 4 Final at Rowan University on Sunday night, the veteran coach found himself concerned about parts of the Hammonton attack the Renegades had not prepared for in practice.
“I heard that they may be going to an option,” Gushue said. “I was worried we hadn’t worked on it. We just played them and I wanted to be prepared for a different team. You change things as a team for a game against an opponent you just saw.”
Shawnee set the tempo early with a 73-yard touchdown pass from Colin Wetterau to Daveon Robinson in the opening minute and despite some sloppy play, more than a handful of penalties, went on to trounce Hammonton, 41-6, to secure the seventh South Jersey title in school history. All seven have come under the guidance of Gushue, who takes each one as its own entity.
“I can’t say enough about these kids and my staff,” Gushue said. “We have an incredible administration and a support group that makes all the difference. Seven titles is amazing and it all starts with the kids.”
In a season the Renegades battled more than their fair share of injuries, the one constant has been senior quarterback Colin Wetterau. Wetterau threw for three touchdowns, ran for one more and returned a fumble for a touchdown to contribute to 35 of the Renegades 41 points on the night.
“It was important for me to be ready for Friday nights,” said Wetterau, who went 10-for-20 for 252 yards and touchdowns of 73, 36 and 34 yards. “We’re a team and that’s how we play. I’m only able to do what I do because of my great line and a game plan.”
The plan was simple, against a team in Hammonton that on paper had a lot to overcome, Shawnee didn’t want to allow the Blue Devils to stay in the game. Beyond the records, the Renegades were 7-4 overall and Hammonton 5-6 (the first team to reach a group final with a losing record), and beyond the brackets which had Shawnee as the fourth seed and Hammonton the sixth seed, there was just a sense Shawnee was the better team this season.
That status had a lot to do with a 38-6 win over Hammonton in November.
“I talked to them about being overconfident,” Gushue said. “It was a main talking point this week.”
“We did all we could to flush that memory,” Wetterau said. “This is a final, Hammonton was here for good reason.”
So on his first passing attempt, Wetterau went long down the middle to Robinson for the first of his three scores..
“I knew I was open as soon as he snapped the ball,” Robinson said with a broad smile. “I just thought ‘Colin, I’m open.’ He hit me in stride.”
“We scored on that first drive and then struggled on the next few drives so I was a bit upset about that,” Wetterau said. “But we settled in and by half we felt like we were in control.”
A 34-yard pass to Jeremy Fisher made it 21-0 at the half, so yes, the Renegades were in control.
“This is the main objective every year,” Robinson said. “We accomplished what we set out to do."
Renegades 41, Blue Devils 6
Hammonton 0-- 0-- 0--6----6
S-Daevon Robinson 73 from Colin Wetterau (Joe Dalsey kick)
S-Colin Wetterau 1 run (Joe Dalsey kick)
S-Daevon Robinson 36 from Colin Wetterau (Joe Dalsey kick)
S-Jeremy Fisher 34 from Colin Wetterau (Joe Dalsey kick)
S-Colin Wetterau 33 fumble recovery (kick failed)
S-Daevon Robinson 45 run (Dalsey kick)
H-Anthony Fazio 24 from GianCarlo Palmieri (kick failed)