GLASSBORO – Back in December, Ricardo Patterson dreamed that he would be able to finish his high school football career playing on the turf at Rowan University.
The object of Patterson’s desire was to compete for the South Jersey Group 2 championship, but it wasn’t to be.
Instead Patterson’s Willingboro High School team lost by one point to Cedar Creek and it was the Pirates who went on to play for the championship.
On Thursday night, Patterson felt he got some vindication for that playoff disappointment.
The Chimeras’ wide receiver caught a 60-yard touchdown pass on a flea-flicker thrown by Cinnaminson’s Shaun Davilla.
The third-quarter score was the back-breaker as the Blue team went on to record a 19-7 victory over the White squad in the 26th annual Adam Taliferro Foundation all-star football game played at Rowan.
“I really take pride in this game,” Patterson said. “I felt in my senior year I was supposed to be here. Instead this feels like my championship game.”
Seeds for the touchdown connection were planted earlier in the week.
The Willingboro coaching staff was familiar with Davilla, because he played quarterback against the Chimeras for three years as a conference opponent.
Moreover, Davillia and Patterson were roommates during the practices sessions leading up to the game, and they wanted to create something special.
“That play was from my offensive coordinator, Matt Perry,” said Willingboro coach Steve Everette who led the Blue squad. “We wanted to put in some trick plays, and we knew the Davilla kid.
“We’ve had to try to defend him, so we knew he could throw it. We figured we’d let somebody else worry about defending against him this time.”
The play began with Cedar Creek quarterback Jesse Milza taking the snap. He then threw to the right side to Davilla who found Patterson wide open down the field, and he put the ball right in his hands.
“We tried it (Wednesday) and we executed it perfect in practice,” Davilla said. “We went through it a few times. We have a lot of great athletes here and we showed what we can do.”
Davilla credited Patterson with selling the play.
“He did a beautiful job getting open,” he said. “The cornerbacks bent like we thought they would, he did what he did. He did a great job of executing and scoring.”
For his part, Everette was not surprised to see Patterson come up with a big play. The coach says he had been a productive player throughout his career at Willingboro.
“Rico had a great season for us,” he said. “The kid catches everything. He made things easy for us (tonight) because he knows our offense.
“He was able to go out and explain it to the other receivers and he just made the transition smooth for us.”
The blue dominated play most of the way on both sides of the ball.
They took the lead for good on their first possession when Cedar Creek kicker Pat Moran booted the first of his two field goals, this one a 35-yarder.
Soon after that, things began to unravel for White.
The squad got pinned down on its own 1-yard line and, on the first play from scrimmage, Burlington City’s Eric Best scooped up a fumble on the 3-yard line.
It took only one play, Reggie Jean-Charles of Holy Spirit running in from there to put the Blue ahead 10-0.
Jean-Charles would make several other strong runs that helped Blue control the offensive tempo through much of the game.
“Three years ago I wasn’t even starting in high school, so I wasn’t expecting to even be here,” Jean-Charles said. “The feeling feels great. I’ve only practiced with these guys for four days, but it felt like we practiced much longer than that.”
With the help of Blue Team MVP, linebacker Jon Vega (three sacks and a fumble recovery) of Hammonton spearheading the defense, the White squad was unable to ever get much going on offense.
Paulsboro quarterback Kyle Jones made some nice runs in the second half, trying to get a spark going, but the team was thwarted by penalties and turnovers.
“We put the ball on the ground a lot,” said Deptford coach Chris Crowley, who led the White team. “It’s hard to get things done when you’re inconsistent.
“You have a lot of kids coming in from different systems. We felt good about this, but we just didn’t play well.”
The White team finally did get on the board on its final possession. The score came on a nice 18-yard run by Overbrook’s Marques DeShields with 6:05 minutes to play in the game.
DeShields appeared to be hemmed in a couple of times, but did some effective broken-field running to spoil the shutout.
Defensive lineman Michael Moten of Woodbury was named the White team’s MVP.