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  • Writer's pictureDan Russoman

St. Joe’s new turf field finally in play

St. Joe's new turf field

It took longer than anyone expected or wanted, but the new turf field at the Moss Mill Road Athletic Complex saw its first action last week as St. Joseph Academy’s football team hosted Ocean City on Oct. 6.

The game was played almost two years to the day that St. Joseph and the Town of Hammonton announced that they would split the cost to install the field which will be shared by SJA and Hammonton rec programs like the Hammonton Youth Soccer Association (HYSA).

A capacity crowd filled the stands and circled the field for the football game last week, and young athletes from both St. Joe and the HYSA were excited to finally be able to use their new field.

The deal to install the field was made in mid-October of 2021, and the expectation was that it would be installed and ready to use by the fall of 2022.

Delays in permits and approvals for the projects by numerous government agencies such as the New Jersey Pinelands Commission pushed the start date into 2023, and issues with machinery caused further delays until the field was finally certified on October 4.

There are a few issues with the field markings, which are not regulation for high school football and are not all placed properly, but administrators from St. Joseph said remedies both financially and physically are being discussed.

“The company [that installed the field] know what the problems are and they’re working with us on solutions,” St. Joseph Academy President and Head of School Stephen Cappuccio said.

“Obviously, we’re not totally satisfied with it, but we’re hopeful we can find a solution,” he said.

Many local residents have expressed similar sentiments, as the field is being funded in part by the town.

“Someone needs to fix this, it’s terrible,” one fan said prior to the start of the game.

“For what it cost, you’d like it to be perfect, and it’s not. It’ll never be ‘perfect’ but it could definitely be better than it is,” he said.

Although there are issues with the final product, those sentiments did little to dampen the excitement surrounding St. Joseph’s first true home game since November of 2021. Since then, the Wildcats have played “home” games at Buena Regional, William T. Capella Field in town, and Rowan University.

None of those fields belonged to St. Joseph.

This one does.

And while the Wildcats were soundly defeated, 42-7, by Ocean City, the game had the feel of some of those old St. Joseph matchups played at Bill Bendig Memorial Field across town on Wood Street.

For years, records were broken and championships were won on that 100-yard patch of grass.

This field doesn’t have a name, and nothing has been won on it yet, but like Bendig Field, it a home for St. Joe.


Dan Russoman has been the sports editor for The Gazette since its inception in 1997.

Russoman earned two New Jersey Press Association awards in sports writing while at Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey). Russoman is the author of Hometown Pride: The Tradition of Sports in Hammonton. Russoman can be reached at


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