HADDONFIELD – In the locker room before the game, Haddonfield Memorial High School football coach Frank Delano huddled with his quarterback, Jay Foley. They had a decision to make.
“Coach pulled me aside before the game,” Foley said. “He said, do we stay conservative or should we be aggressive and take a shot?”
They decided to be aggressive.
On the Bulldawgs first play from scrimmage, Foley dropped back from his own 38-yard line, surveyed the field and found his brother, John, streaking down the right sideline, stepped up and let it go. John Foley reached over a Cinnaminson defender to haul it in and two plays later, Jay Foley hit Drew Gavranich for a 12-yard touchdown and the Bulldawgs led Cinnaminson, 7-0, just three minutes and seven seconds into the game.
Haddonfield would score touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarters, and its defense kept the Pirates off the scoreboard, as the Bulldawgs christened their recently renovated stadium with a 21-0 victory.
It was a good start, one that got the big crowd into the game, and pumped some adrenalin into the defense, not that it needed any. The Bulldawgs defense proved equal to the task, keeping the swift, talented Cinnaminson offense off the scoreboard, stopping the Pirates by sticking to their game plan, creating turnovers and playing good, hard-hitting football.
“We were well prepared for this team,” said Dawgs’ defensive lineman Brandon Collins. “We had a lot of respect for them. We knew how good they were. But, overall, our defensive effort was strong all night and that opening drive by the offense got everybody juiced and it carried over on defense.”
The outcome was a fitting outcome for Haddonfield which was playing on its own field for the first time since 2016. Last year the Bulldawgs played their home games at Cherry Hill West while their stadium was undergoing renovations. It was good to be home.
“You know this whole day felt different,” Haddonfield coach Frank Delano said. “We had to get used to where things were again. But it is good to be home.
“But, in the end, it doesn’t make a difference where you play, Cherry Hill West, Pleasantville or here. Once the game starts, you put the ball down and go. We tell the kids to stay true to who you are. If you’re loud and energetic, stay that way. If you’re quiet, stay that way. Just be who you are.”
After Jay and John Foley hooked up on the opening bomb, tailback Chris Smith carried for three yards to the Cinnaminson 12 yard line, then Foley found Gavranich going right to left over the middle for 12 yards and the lead.
Both teams had decent opportunities in the first half, but turned the ball over. On the Bulldawgs next possession they drove to the Cinnaminson 30 yard line where Jay Foley hit Gabe Klaus over the middle, Klaus got hit at the 2 and fumbled into the end zone where the Pirates recovered. Then Cinnaminson drove to the Haddonfield 34 yard line, but a pass downfield was intercepted by Haddonfield’s David Smith.
Haddonfield committed to the run on the opening drive of the second, marching 67 yards on nine running plays and taking a 14-0 lead on Jay Foley’s 16-yard keeper. Then, on their first possession of the fourth quarter, tailback Alex Kadar scored on a two-yard run, capping a short drive after John Foley's interception gave Haddonfield the ball on the Cinnaminson 38 yard line.
Cinnaminson 0 0 0 0 – 0
Haddonfield 7 0 7 7 – 21
1Q-H: Drew Gavranich 13 pass from Jay Foley (Henry Grozier kick)
3Q-H: Jay Foley 16 run (Henry Grozier kick)
4Q-H: Alex Kadar 2 run (Henry Grozier kick)