Last season Moorestown’s defense struggled at times, especially against quality football teams. The Quakers allowed 30 or more points in five of their 10 games.
The defense was part of an impressive opening effort that was also aided by a strong running game and efficient passing attack in Friday's 28-12 win at Paul VI.
Junior Drew Pederson may be the best backup QB in South Jersey, but he played a great game at safety (in addition to completing a huge pass on a fake punt).
According to statistician Joe Palovick, the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Pederson had eight tackles and two passes defensed. Senior linebacker Brent Ogle had a team-high 11 tackles.
This was a Paul VI team that beat Moorestown, 41-30 in last year’s opener.
True, it hurt Paul VI that running back Johnel Anderson suffered an ankle injury late in the first half and didn’t return, but Moorestown did a good job of limiting Anderson’s home-run capability before the injury.
Couple that with a balanced offense and Moorestown couldn't have enjoyed a much better debut.
The rushing game was led by led by Delaney Wallace (13 carries, 105 yards, 3 TDs) while quarterback Andrew Lisa was a more than efficient 14 for 20 for 142 yards,
And the offensive balance between the pass and run, threw Paul VI’s defense off all game.
“Last year we threw the ball a lot and we knew this year we had to run the ball more,” Moorestown coach Russ Horton said.
Horton added that Wallace is healthy last year after being banged up a year ago. His performance didn’t surprise Paul VI coach John Doherty.
“We knew that (No.) 25 (Wallace) is a fantastic running back and I told the kids that all week,” Doherty said. “But when you play Moorestown it’s almost like you have to pick your poison.”
That means it’s hard to load up on the run because of how proficient the Quakers are throwing the ball.
It’s only one game, but to look so strong, running, throwing and defending against a Paul VI team that has won four straight division titles bodes well for the Quakers.
This is a Moorestown team that went 7-3 and earned a playoff berth last year and at least for the opener, did nothing to discourage the heightened expectations that the Quakers entered this season with.