EAST RUTHERFORD--- As Haddonfield celebrated the South-Central Group 2 bowl game victory, one of Jimmy Kane’s coaches ran up to him and called him the most underrated defensive player in South Jersey.
If he was before the game, Kane certainly isn’t underrated anymore after his interception and key fourth-down sack in Haddonfield’s 17-7 win over Hillside at MetLife Stadium.
Kane’s third-quarter pick set up the final scoring play for the Haddons, a 35-yard field goal by Henry Grozier.
“In practice, coach told me if you see the quarterback drop back and you’re free and he keeps dropping, it has to be a screen,” Kane said. “He started dropping, I stopped and it came right to me.”
With Hillside down 10 points and threatening in the fourth quarter, Kane made a massive sack on fourth-and-goal from the 32 to secure the victory.
“That could not happen to a better kid,” Haddonfield head coach Frank DeLano said. “It’s awesome to see that. That’s a kid who never played football until his freshman year.”
“We talked about it last night how he was not going to play his freshman season unless his buddies dragged him out here. It was awesome to watch that moment for him. That’s hard work. That’s coming to play on a big stage and he didn’t flinch.”
Kane’s two defensive stops were just a pair of the big plays made by the Bulldawgs against undefeated Hillside.
With a seven-point lead at the end of the first half, Davis Smith took a punt return 53 yards, as he crisscrossed from left to right to hand Haddonfield all the momentum it needed.
“It was huge. We’re just thinking at that point maybe we can get a block,” DeLano said. “Maybe sneak three in there. If they got a good punt off, we were kneeling it and taking it into the half. That just completely changed the complexion of this whole deal. There’s no doubt. That is a big-time player making a special team play on a big stage and he did it all playoffs.”
Led by Kane and a slew of others, Haddonfield held the Comets offense to seven points.
When DeLano was handed the trophy at the conclusion of the contest, he called over injured senior Chris Brown to hoist the prize in front of his teammates.
“We’re here because of him,” DeLano said. “Last year he got hurt as well, but he never played a down last year. He’s played at a high level. He deserved to play in this game. My heart breaks for him. He had to go through surgery again last week. Everything we want our program to be about is a kid like Chris Brown.”
With the win, Haddonfield became the second 13-0 team from South Jersey after Penns Grove won the South-Central Group 1 bowl game a week ago.
“This is amazing,” Kane said. “I just did what my coaches taught me to do. The atmosphere was amazing.”