Football: Saturday at Rowan
Football: Saturday at Rowan
It was a long, fun day of football at Rowan.
Great crowd, great atmosphere, great weather.
I heard Friday night was a real problem as far as fans getting into the game. Several people told me there were still fans outside, waiting in line, in the third quarter of the Pennsauken-Millville game.
Part of the problem was that Rowan only had two gates open because construction at one end of the field limited access. Another part of the problem was strange but true -- the $5.50 ticket price for adults created all kinds of headaches because almost everybody needed change.
That really slowed things down. The state needs to charge $5 even, or $6 even (if the commissioner of education will allow it). This $5.50 ticket price created a major problem.
Rowan associate AD Dan Gilmore said he's been at Rowan for more than 30 years and never saw a bigger crowd than Friday night. He estimated it was 7,500-8,000.
Reflections on Saturday's games:
Glassboro 41, Pennsville 13: If you told me the night of Sept. 10 that Glassboro would be winning the Group1 title on Dec. 3, I would have told you that you were nuts. The Bulldogs lost to Penns Grove that day by 54-0.
But Glassboro clearly was the best team in SJ 1 by the end of the season. They dominated Pennsville with a ferocious pass rush, led by none other than Corey Clement.
Oh, Clement also ran for 238 yards and jacked his season total to a SJ record 2,510. Freshman Jwan Johnson had three INTs. Johnson and DE Antoine Alicea returned INTs for TDs.
Glassboro won this game with its pressure on Pennsville sophomore QB Dylan Cummings. He never had time to set his feet, survey the field or step into his throws. "They bullied us," Pennsville coach Ryan Wood said.
That's four SJ 1 titles in five years for Glassboro. That's more than a good run with a couple good classes of athletes. That's approaching dynasty territory -- and with Clement and a lot of other players back next season, don't think the Bulldogs can't make it 5-of-6.
West Deptford 22, Haddonfield 14: I guess I shouldn't be shocked since WD has such great traditon and coaching and lots of good players, too. But I was very surprised.
Haddonfield was so good this season and that was such a special senior class for the Bulldogs. I thought they were going to finish 12-0 for the first time in program history.
But it's tough to beat a team twice in a season (just ask WD in 2009 and 2010). WD was under the radar this season and the Eagles liked it there. Haddonfield got all the pub, and dealt with all the pressure. WD just got better and bided its time to the rematch.
Sophomore FB Gerald Towns is legit. He's not just a bullish runner. He's got that little wiggle that makes his strength so much more effective. And senior Jamil Pollard really played a monster game in his last outing for the Eagles.
That defense got better and better all season. They came up with four takeaways against Haddonfield -- three INTs and a fumble recovery on the 1-yard line.
Haddonfield made a late push but it was just a tough day for the Bulldogs. They lost RB Chris Dengler with an apparent concussion and never really found their offensive rhythm.
Watch out for WD in 2012 and beyond. The Eagles return a lot of talent, starting with Towns and also RB/LB/K Josh Cornelius. But that was a special senior class for them, too. Pollard, Tom Jakubowski, Josh Roane, Jake Hannan and Co. held up the standard that so many other WD classes set in the last 10, 15 seasons.
Timber Creek 33, Hammonton 7: This is how a great team finishes a great season: By playing its best game on the biggest stage.
Hammonton jumped in front 7-0 and then TC just took over the game. Senior QB Calvin Lowe was great again and junior Bryce Shade made a couple of big plays. He's a pretty good football player for a great wrestler. Junior RBs Khalil Pierce and Eric Church ran hard.
The TC defense was dominating after Hammonton's first drive. LB Quanzell Lambert was all over the field. So was junior DB Taliq Chambers. Junior DLs Greg Webb, Myles Nash and Dajaun Drennon played the game on Hammonton's side of the line of scrimmage.
TC finishes 12-0 and belongs in that No. 2 spot in the rankings behind St. Joe. The Chargers rose up and played their best football when it mattered most. That's the mark of a champion.
And take a look at that roster. There were juniors and sophomores all over the field for TC. I'm not 100 percent on this, but this team might be the one that I project as the preseason No. 1 for 2012. They return that much talent, although they will miss Lambert, obviously, but also the underrated Lowe. He made a ton of big plays for this team, right down to the end.
Lowe made two great deep throws on Saturday. I mean they were great throws -- 50, 55 yards in the air and right on the money to Shade and Kevin Casey.
I'll have the final Top 10 on Sunday afternoon, and then a projected 2012 preseason Top 10 probably on Tuesday.
-- Phil Anastasia