Smith, Klaus spark Haddonfield past Holy Cross

JHADD17-E
Senior Ben Klaus led Haddonfield on both sides of the ball Saturday, coming up with two rushing touchdowns and two interceptions.

About six Holy Cross players had a chance to tackle Davis Smith along the long and winding road of the Haddonfield junior’s punt return for a touchdown.

None could bring him to the ground.

His teammates had no such trouble.

“They had me down in the end zone, and they were pushing down on my chest,” Smith said of the celebratory pile of players. “I was really gassed.”

Smith and two-way big-play man Ben Klaus powered Haddonfield to a 38-7 victory over Holy Cross on Saturday in a West Jersey Football League inter-division clash of Top 25 teams.

Smith, a junior wide receiver/defensive back, was credited with a 77-yard punt return for touchdown, but ran nearly twice that far along a serpentine path down the field under the scorching sun at Jonas Morris Stadium at Cherry Hill West High School.

Klaus, a senior running back/defensive back, scored two touchdowns and lifted two interceptions for No. 19 Haddonfield (2-0).

“Benny’s a special player, a special kid,” Haddonfield coach Frank DeLano said. “He’s so selfless.”

Senior quarterback Jeff Underuffler passed for 194 yards and a touchdown, and senior wide receiver Jordan Baxter came up with three receptions for 98 yards and a score for No. 23 Holy Cross (1-1).

Lancers coach Frank Holmes said the combination of the 86-degree heat, an early injury to two-way senior Matt Siwak, the team’s dearth of depth, and Haddonfield’s physicality created a “perfect storm” for his football team.

“Playing a team like Haddonfield, it’s a chance to see what you’re made of,” Holmes said. “Our kids battled. I don’t like losing like this, but we can walk away.”

Haddonfield will play its home games on Saturday afternoons at Cherry Hill West this season because of construction at the Bulldogs’ historic stadium.

“We have to make this our home,” Klaus said.

Klaus scored on runs of 57 and 4 yards. Senior Nick Patrizi also scored on runs of 82 and 8 yards.

Klaus made both his interceptions in the second half.

Making plays on both sides of the football is “really fun,” Klaus said. “I want to help my brothers out in any way I can.”

Haddonfield was a little sluggish in the first quarter, trailing, 7-3. But Smith’s punt return early in the second stanza sent an electric current of excitement along the sideline, and the Bulldogs scored the game’s final 38 points.

“It was the spark we needed,” DeLano said.

Haddonfield added three more touchdowns in the second quarter, seizing command of the team’s first game in its new home away from home.

“I saw it translate right to the field,” Smith said. “Everyone started playing and the intensity level rose a lot.”

Holy Cross 7 0 0 0 — 7

Haddonfield 3 28 7 0 — 38

HC: Jordan Baxter 53 pass from Jeff Undercuffler (Paul Ginty kick).

H: Henry Gozier 34 FG

H: Davis Smith 77 punt return (Grozier kick)

H: Nick Patrizi 82 run (Grozier kick)

H: Ben Klaus 57 run (Grozier kick)

H: Patrizi 8 run (Grozier kick)

H: Klaus 4 run (Grozier kick).