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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

Delsea powers past Hammonton

Dan Russoman/THG Hammonton’s DeAndre Clemons (10) tries to elude Delsea defender Carlos Reyes (8) late in last week’s game.

FRANKLIN TWP.—A struggling Hammonton High School football team continued to sputter last week, as just about everything that could go wrong did for the Blue Devils in a 41-6 loss at Delsea Regional on October 13.

The Blue Devils were overmatched from start to finish, as mistakes, poor execution and an inability to physically match the Crusaders sent Hammonton to its second-straight defeat.

“They’re good, they’re physical, and we weren’t. That’s what it comes down to. And we don’t do anything to help ourselves,” Hammonton coach Jim Raso said.

Turnovers on their first two possessions of the game helped Delsea take a 14-0 lead and the Crusaders never looked back, punishing Hammonton up front on the way to gaining 329 rushing yards in the game.

On the Blue Devils second play of the game, Kenny Smith lost the ball while trying to stretch for a first down and it was recovered by Delsea at the Hammonton 25-yard line. Four plays later, Wayne Adair broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run and a 6-0 Crusaders lead.

On Hammonton’s next drive, Drew Craig was intercepted on a third-down pass that was tipped by a Hammonton receiver, setting up an Adair 6-yard touchdown run that put Delsea ahead 14-0.

“In a game like this, to start with a penalty, fumble, let them score, interception, they score, you’re already in the hole and the thing we’re trying to get these guys to understand is we have to start being a lot more mentally tough and be able to handle these kinds of situations. Whether it’s a close game or a game like this, you have to be able to overcome that kind of stuff,” Raso said.

From there, it was pretty much all Delsea.

Hammonton was unable to move the ball, going three and out on its next three possessions.

In contrast, Delsea advanced the ball at will, using Adair, fullback Dan Russo and quarterback Zach Maxwell to gain yards in bunches, moving the ball downfield for two more first half scores, both short runs from Maxwell.

Running behind a big, strong offensive line, the Crusaders were able to control the clock and keep Hammonton’s offense on the sideline.

The Blue Devils were unable to control the line of scrimmage on either side. Delsea’s dominance up front shocked and frustrated Hammonton.

“I didn’t think it was going to be to the degree that was going on, but they’re just big and they’re physical and at times our guys just weren’t matching it and you have to be able to match against a team like this,” Raso said.

Trailing 28-0 at the half, Hammonton allowed Adair to score from 14-yards out in the third quarter, then gave up a 57-yard touchdown run by Xavier Wyatt early in the fourth quarter.

The Blue Devils were never able to get their offense going and the frustration showed on the field and on the sidelines.

“We needed some kids to step up and they didn’t do that,” Raso said.

“It’s disappointing,” he said.

Hammonton finally began to move the ball late in the game against a mostly second-team Delsea defense. The Blue Devils finally gained a first down with less than a minute remaining in the third quarter and scored their lone points on the game’s final play, a 16-yard touchdown run from Josh Camargo.

The win solidified Delsea’s standing as one of the area’s top teams and left Hammonton seeking answers for what has become a disappointing season.

“It’s very frustrating, it is. It’s times where we’re needing guys to step up and they’re not. And we have to try to overcome. We have to just put this one to bed, watch the film and put it to bed and start figuring out how we’re going to become better, as a group and as individuals,” Raso said.

Raso and the Blue Devils coaching staff are hoping their team can regroup in time for the postseason while also looking for some players to step up into leadership roles.

“Leaders have to step up, at a time like this, you need leadership and it starts with me. I’ll be the first one to step out in front. We have to do a better job. Have to figure out what better buttons to push because right now, it’s not working,” Raso said.

Hammonton hosts Ocean City on October 20 at 7 p.m.


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