• Dan Russoman

Hawks drop title game to Linwood


Cooper DelGozzo, right, breaks into open territory for a short gain in last weekend’s championship game in Linwood. (THG/Dan Russoman.To purchase photos in The Gazette, call (609) 704-1940.)

LINWOOD—Turnovers cost the Hammonton Hawks varsity football team a chance to bring home the inaugural Jersey Shore Youth Football League (JSYFL) championship last weekend, as the squad fell to the host Linwood Panthers 36-12 in the title game.


The Hawks started well, as the teams traded scores throughout the first quarter. Linwood took the opening drive for a score on a 21-yard touchdown pass, and led early in the game 8-0.


Hammonton immediately responded with a touchdown drive of its own, capped by Ethan Peterson’s 3-yard touchdown run. The conversion kick was blocked, however, and the Hawks trailed 8-6 with 4:35 remaining in the period.


Linwood answered back quickly, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and a 14-6 lead with four minutes left in the first quarter.


A fumble on its next drive set up Linwood’s next score, a short touchdown run that put the Panthers ahead 22-6.


Hammonton turned the ball over again in its next possession, and Linwood scored again, this time on a long touchdown run as the Panthers began to pull away.


Trailing 28-6, Hammonton fought back, driving down the field late in the half and scoring on Gavin Kovac’s 1-yard plunge that cut the deficit to 28-12 at the break.


The Hawks fumbled again to start the third quarter, and Linwood added a touchdown to take a commanding 36-12 lead.


Both teams sent in their backups in the fourth quarter, as the Panthers celebrated their championship game win.