GLASSBORO – When it came right down to it, the Delsea High School football team was able to do enough things right to win a championship game.
“Our offense, people stepped up,” said Crusaders quarterback Mason Maxwell. “We got our jobs done when our backs were against the wall.”
Delsea won its fifth South Jersey Group 3 championship in the past six years Saturday with a hard-fought 29-28 win over Woodrow Wilson in a game played at Rowan University.
The win was the 200th of Delsea coach Sal Marchese’s career.
Aiden Borguet led the way with two touchdown runs. His 1-yard burst and an extra point kick by Larry Holdcraft early in the fourth quarter provided the winning margin.
Wilson quarterback Nick Kargman threw three touchdown passes for the game. He completed 25 of 39 passes for 302 yards.
Kargman had his team ahead 28-22 late in the third quarter after the Tigers rallied from an early two-touchdown deficit.
“The momentum was on their side late in the first half and the beginning of the second half,” said Maxwell, who threw a crucial 49-yard touchdown pass to Shaikyi Hannah in the third quarter. “I’m going to go back and watch the film and try to find out how we pulled this out.”
Delsea’s go-ahead score came on the next drive after Woodrow Wilson had taken its lead on an 11-yard pass from Kargman to Travon King.
For the most part, the Crusaders were unable to control Wilson’s passing offense, but they did manage to hold the Tigers off the board in the fourth quarter.
“I think our kids showed a lot of guts,” said Marchese. “They played hard offensively and defensively and they did everything they could to get the win.”
Delsea was hurt badly when center Tom Maxwell was injured in the first half. That caused a reshuffling of the line, and seemed to slow the Crusaders momentum, just as Wilson picked up its pace.
The Tigers hit for 14 points in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Jario Ramos and an 11-yard pass from Kargman to Travon King, but they could not get a big play in the fourth quarter.
Ramos also scored on a 20-yard pass from Kargman in the second quarter.
Wilson had a chance to regain the lead late in the game when they drove the ball to the seven-yard line. But a tipped interception by Tymir Kizee on a fourth-down play ended the threat.
“The kids played hard,” said coach Peston Brown. “We put ourselves in a position to win the game, but hats off to Delsea they made the plays when they had to.”
Delsea jumped out to a 15-14 halftime lead in what amounted to a tale of two quarters.
The Crusader got off to a 15-0 start on a first-quarter, 20-yard touchdown run from Borguet. and they extended it to two scores when Kizee added a 10-yard run on the second play of the second quarter. A Borguet run produced a 2-point conversion.
That score was set up when Hannah recovered a fumble that set up the Crusaders on the Wilson 31-yard line.
But after that all the momentum was on the side of the Tigers who suddenly came to life behind Kargman’s long-range passing attack.
The quarterback was aided by two fine scoring catches, the first on a 27-yards pass to Stanley King to get his team on the board.
Kargman followed that up later in the quarter with a 20-yard scoring pass to Ramos with 3:29 left in the half.
Delsea had a chance to extend the lead with one last second-quarter drive, but the Wilson defense held firm.
S.J. Group 3 Championship
Delsea 7 8 7 7 -29
Woodrow Wilson 0 14 14 0 -28
D: Aiden Borguet 20 run (Larry Holdcroft kick)
D: Tymir Kizee 10 run (Borguet run)
W: Stanley King 27 pass from Nick Kargman (PF)
W: Jairo Ramos 20 pass from Kargman (Fadil Diggs pass from Kargman)
D: Shaikyi Hannan 49 pass from Mason Maxwell (Holdcraft kick)
W: Ramos 1 run (Stanley King pass from Kargman)
W: Travon King 11 pass from Kargman (KF)
D: Borguet 1 run (Holdcraft kick)