Paulsboro outlasts West Deptford

JWEST29
Paulsboro players celebrate their overtime win over West Deptford Friday night. (Curt Hudson/Staff Photographer)

All game, Paulsboro threw the football.

De'Shaun Burgess had other ideas in overtime.

"I even got into a little argument with Coach [Glenn] Howard," Burgess said. "I wanted to run the football."

Burgess carried the ball three straight times for 25 yards in overtime, scoring a 3-yard touchdown to lift Paulsboro to a 36-33 victory over West Deptford in a wild game between annual Thanksgiving-week rivals.

"The whole game, we had been passing," Burgess said. "In overtime, I said, 'Let's run the ball.' "

The dramatic victory on a frigid Friday night in front of a large crowd at West Deptford improved Paulsboro to 9-2 and sent the Red Raiders into the South Jersey Group 1 title game with a big boost of confidence and momentum.

Paulsboro will face Salem in the sectional final next Saturday at Rowan.

West Deptford (9-2) will play that same weekend, as well. The Eagles will face rival Haddonfield in the South Jersey Group 2 final on Dec. 7 at Rowan.

"We have to get ready for the Bulldogs," said West Deptford senior Luke Cornelius, who tied a state record with four field goals and also made three extra points and scored on a 40-yard run.

Cornelius' 27-yard field goal tied the score at 30 with 2 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in regulation.

Cornelius' 25-yard field goal gave West Deptford a 33-30 lead on the Eagles' first possession of overtime.

Paulsboro junior Carlton Aiken set a program record with 53 passing attempts.

Aiken was 28 for 53 for 302 yards and two touchdowns, with three interceptions. Senior wide receiver Theo Holloway caught both touchdown passes.

But in overtime, Paulsboro executed three plays, all runs by Burgess.

"He came up to me and said, 'Coach, let's run the ball on the first play of overtime,' " Howard said. "He made a great individual effort."

Burgess gained 18 yards on the first carry, giving the Red Raiders a first down at the West Deptford 7.

He gained four yards on the next play, then crashed into the end zone for the winning score.

"It's very emotional," said Burgess, who scored three touchdowns after halftime. "We've never beaten West Deptford since I've been here. We fought and fought. We were in a war zone."

Paulsboro rallied from deficits of 17-0 and 27-12.

"I'm very proud of these kids," Howard said. "They never gave up, kept playing hard."

Cornelius credited Paulsboro with a strong comeback and saluted his old friend, Burgess.

"They don't give up," Cornelius said of Paulsboro's players. "Kudos to them. I have to give credit to De'Shaun. He's a great athlete and an old friend of mine. We played on some teams together when we were kids."

Paulsboro 0 6 6 18 6 - 36

West Deptford 7 10 10 3 3 - 33

WD: Nick Diaco 17 pass from Isaiah Easterling (Luke Cornelius kick)

WD: Diaco 2 pass from Easterling (Cornelius kick)

WD: FG Cornelius 34

P: Theo Holloway 29 pass from Carlton Aiken (kick failed)

P: Aiken 7 run (pass failed)

WD: FG Cornelius 29

WD: Cornelius 40 run (Cornelius kick)

P: Burgess 1 run (pass failed)

P: Holloway 31 pass from Aiken (run failed)

P: Burgess 1 run (pass failed)

WD: FG Cornelius 27

WD: FG Cornelius 25

P: Burgess 3 run (no attempt)


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