It wouldn’t be fair to characterize it as two-headed, three-headed or even a four-headed monster.
The West Deptford offense, itself, was a monster.
To the Paulsboro defense — in the trenches — it was a mauling, painful and physical nightmare of a game.
Outwardly, to those watching, the win was cool and breezy, as comfortable as the early fall weather in which the game was played.
It was as close to perfect as West Deptford could have hoped for on opening day: A 31-14 thrashing of an old rival, Paulsboro, on the road.
“Moving this game from Thanksgiving to Week 1 puts a whole new perspective on the preseason,” Eagles coach Jason Morrell said of the rivalry that, until last year, was played every Thanksgiving for decades. “You’re coming out and going into a heavyweight slugfest right out of the gate. I think our guys were jacked up. We have a ton of respect for Paulsboro. So we were juiced to get out here and see what we can do.”
West Deptford lost this game on Week 1 last season, 19-14.
But Saturday, out of a Wing-T offense, the Eagles used a host of running backs to chip away at the Paulsboro defense and gain chunks of yards at will all afternoon.
Defensively, it was a similar story.
West Deptford did not allow a first down until Nick Pellegrini connected with a wide-open Bhayshul Tuten on an 80-yard bomb over the middle to make the score 24-7 with 2:25 left in the first half.
The play was an aberration. And West Deptford didn’t blink.
“We worked hard all offseason, and I was expecting nothing less,” said running back Tyshawn Bookman. “We have a great line, a young line that’s finally catching on. We were clicking on all cylinders. I loved it.”
Bookman, Gavin Shields, Kameron Dixon and Mychael Gilmore all had success out of the backfield in a game in which West Deptford came away with points in each of its first four possessions.
Bookman led that effort with 15 carries for 135 yards and two touchdowns. Shields recorded two first-half touchdowns.
Defensively, Bobby Royal had two sacks. Aaron Graeber — who was solid under center on offense — and Dixon each had interceptions.
Paulsboro wasn’t able to mount a sustained drive until scoring on its final drive with most of the starters out of the game.
And, to put a cherry on top of a thoroughly dominant performance, the game’s MVP award went to kicker Brandon Ratcliffe.
The senior hit a 34-yard field goal in the first quarter and impressed by sending each of his six kickoffs through the end zone.
“I’m at a loss for words right now,” Ratcliffe said. “Last year, we opened up against them and lost, and that stuck with us ever since.”
West Deptford 10 14 7 0 — 31
Paulsboro 0 7 0 7 — 14
WD: Brandon Ratcliffe 34 field goal
WD: Gavin Shields 7 run (Ratcliffe kick)
WD: Shields 2 run (Ratcliffe kick)
WD: Tyshawn Bookman 10 run (Ratcliffe kick)
P: Bhayshul Tuten 80 pass from Nick Pellegrini (Giovanni Serrano kick)
WD: Bookman 17 run (Ratcliffe kick)