Iverson Clement’s most dynamic play was his 30-yard touchdown run on a fourth-and-1 play in the second quarter.
His most impressive work came at the end of the game, when five consecutive carries produced two first downs as Rancocas Valley ran out the clock on a 10-7 win over Lenape in a battle of unbeaten teams.
But the Florida-bound senior set the tone for the Red Devils’ victory without the football in his hands.
Iverson’s jarring tackle in the first quarter announced that the visiting team was ready, willing and able to match the
home squad big hit for big hit before a huge crowd on Friday night at Lenape.
“I came downhill and I showed him I was about my business,” Clement said of his tackle of Lenape star senior running back
Clement ran for 146 yards on 28 carries to lead the way for Rancocas Valley in West Jersey Football League Capitol Division clash of Top 7 teams.
Senior linebacker Kyle Sapp played a strong defensive game and senior wide receiver Allan Watson came through with two clutch catches for Rancocas Valley (5-0 overall, 3-0 in the division), the No. 7 team in the Inquirer Top 25.
Senior quarterback Matt LaJoie ran 14 times for 64 yards and was 5-for-7 passing for 74 yards for No. 5 Lenape (3-1, 1-1).
“That’s an outstanding football team,” Lenape coach Tim McAneney said of Rancocas Valley. “They are well coached, play great defense and No. 11 (Clement), he’s going to the SEC for a reason.”
McAneney lamented his team’s mistakes, including some costly penalties, a failed fake-punt and the use of timeouts before the crucial final moments of the game.
“That’s on me,” McAneney said. “We burned our timeouts. That’s a no-no in the second half.”
Spectators filled both bleachers on each side of the field, with both teams supported by boisterous, chanting student sections. The teams could meet again in the playoffs, as both are likely to qualify for the South Jersey Group 5 tournament.
But anyone who imagined the matchup would featuring a clash of styles in the speedy, finesse-first Red Devils against the physical Indians was mistaken.
“That’s what we talked about all week,” said Sapp, who also played offensive guard. “Lenape is one of the most intense, physical teams around. We had to be just as intense as them.”
Lenape is known for its defense, and Friday night’s game marked the 27th time in the last 37 games that the Indians held an opponent to a touchdown or less.
But Rancocas Valley’s defense was just as good. The Red Devils got strong work from Sapp, senior linebacker Joel Anaya and senior defensive end Daequan Jackson-Swoope in holding the Indians to 220 total yards and nine first downs.
In the fourth quarter, Rancocas Valley held Lenape to just six yards.
“That’s what we wanted to do, stop them from those long drives where they eat up eight minutes off the clock,” Rancocas Valley coach Dan Haussman said.
Lenape’s only scoring drive ended when senior fullback Mike Galaida crashed into the end zone on a fourth-and-one late in the first quarter for a 7-3 lead.
Clement gave Rancocas Valley a 10-7 lead midway in the second quarter when he bounced outside on a 4th-and-one play, broke a couple of tackles and raced down the right sideline and into the end zone.
“He makes good football players miss,” McAneney said of Clement.
For Clement, the victory was a bit of personal redemption. He said he had never beaten teams that featured Lenape athletes, going 0-5 against the Fleetwood youth program playing for the Willingboro Panthers, and 0-3 during his high school career.
“This was my last ride,” Clement said. “I told my teammates I was going to do everything to get us the win.”
That included a highlight-reel touchdown run, some hard carries at the end of game and a big defensive hit at the start.
“He’s a thumper,” Haussman said of Clement. “He gives us everything he’s got.”
Rancocas Valley 7 2 0 0 — 10
Lenape 7 0 0 0 — 7
RV: Kyle Prescavage 39 FG
L: Mike Galaida 1 run (Steve Mulville kick)
RV: Iverson Clement 30 run (Prescavage kick)