CAMDEN--- Woodrow Wilson needed a big play to get it into a rhythm on Saturday.
Instead of the momentum swing being earned by the offense, the Tigers defense sprung into action at the start of their 41-6 win over Triton in the South Jersey Group 3 quarterfinals.
Defensive back Marquay Graves picked off a pass on Triton’s first drive near midfield to set up a methodical 14-play, 57-yard drive that resulted in Wilson’s first touchdown, a four-yard pass from Nick Kargman to Amari Clark.
“Having a great defense helps out a quarterback a ton,” Kargman said. “It makes it so much easier on me and takes the pressure off our offense.”
Wilson responded to Triton’s only score of the game, a five-yard run by Davaun Payton, with another surge down the field that ended with an 11-yard touchdown scamper by Naiem Simmons.
The Tigers finally created some separation at the end of the first half, when Clark caught a lateral from Kargman and hit Fadil Diggs down the left sideline for a 70-yard touchdown heave.
“That’s been a big play for us last year too,” Kargman said. “We knew we couldn’t get all the way down there in 20-30 seconds so we knew we could take a shot with the trick play”
While they were ahead by double digits for the entire second half, the Tigers didn’t feel fully comfortable until Kargman hit Stanley King for a 85-yard touchdown pass with four minutes left in the third quarter.
“They put up a good fight, but after that touchdown, we were able to control the game,” Kargman said.
Graves provided the exclamation point on the victory with his second interception, which resulted in a pick six.
“I was looking at the wide receiver to see what he would do,” Graves said. “I read it well and jumped on the pick, focused my eyes on the ball and ran into the end zone.”
“It took hard work at extra practice. I'm always asking my coaches what to do to get the ball.”
Not only did the victory snap Wilson out of a two-game losing streak, it gave the defense an opportunity to take on a run-first offense similar to what it’ll see against Delses in the South Jersey Group 3 semifinals.
“This helps a lot,” Graves said. “Today we saw similar things to what Delsea does. I just hope next week we can do the same.”