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Woodrow Wilson rolls to South Jersey Group 3 football title

The Tigers used many big plays to rout Somerville, 54-30, for the title.

Woodrow Wilson coach Preston Brown holds up the trophy after the Tigers won the South Jersey Group 3 football championship.
Woodrow Wilson coach Preston Brown holds up the trophy after the Tigers won the South Jersey Group 3 football championship.Read moreLOU RABITO / Staff

Woodrow Wilson wide receiver Amari Clark caught a pass behind the line of scrimmage, set his feet, and launched the ball 40 yards downfield.

Fadil Diggs — a 6-foot-5 Texas A&M recruit — caught it with a safety closing in on him.

Alone inside the 20-yard-line, the two grappled until Diggs, with one arm, violently shook off the defender, pinned him to the ground, and waltzed into the end zone.

“I had to send a message that one person can’t tackle me,” Diggs said. “I wanted to set a tone.”

In a lot of ways, he did.

That play was a snapshot of Wilson’s 54-30 win over Somerville in the South Jersey Group 3 championship game Saturday: a little bit of flash. Some speed. Some muscle.

And so many big moments.

A year’s worth of highlights in one game sent the Tigers to their second consecutive South Jersey Group 3 title in front of a packed home crowd in Camden.

The win marked just the third sectional title ever for Wilson. So history was on the players’ minds after going back-to-back.

“This feels pretty damned good,” said an understated Muheem McCargo.

McCargo’s soft-spoken nature after the game didn’t match his electric second-half performance.

The junior running back and Temple recruit generated four touchdowns. He finished with 16 carries for 114 yards and one rushing touchdown. He had five catches for 37 yards and one receiving touchdown. He also had two interceptions for touchdowns in the second half, one for 31 yards and one for 47 yards, that sealed the win with 4 minutes, 47 seconds left.

On Wilson’s first offensive play of the second half, McCargo ran straight up the middle, through a huge hole, for a 77-yard touchdown.

“Alignment and assignment,” McCargo said. "On that touchdown, I just saw daylight.”

The play put Wilson up, 28-14, and swung momentum in the Tigers’ favor.

Wilson (8-2) largely controlled the game on both sides of the ball from that point.

Somerville (10-2) was able to move the ball in the first half largely through a Wildcat formation with running back Cookie Desiderio (21 carries, 87 yards) taking direct snaps and keeping the ball. But the team had generated just 16 second-half yards — 15 of which came on a pass-interference call — and was losing 34-14 midway through the fourth quarter when Justin Brenner hit Kyree Hinton for a 49-yard touchdown pass — easily Somerville’s biggest play of the half.

It breathed new life into the game. But that was short-lived.

On the first play of Wilson’s next drive, quarterback Devin Kargman hit Malik Harvey for a 49-yard score. It was Harvey’s second touchdown catch of the game.

Kargman finished 15-of-25 passing for 262 yards and four touchdown passes.

“This is a great feeling — and I’m just so glad we got it done today,” said Kargman, just a sophomore. “It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders, being able to rely on my receivers. That trust helps us take our game to the next level.”

Wilson scored eight touchdowns in the game and five were from more than 40 yards out, including two from Diggs, who followed his 53-yard scoring reception on the first drive with a 53-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.

Even extra points were eye-popping. Arguably Diggs’ best catch was a one-handed grab on a two-point conversion.

For Diggs, a junior, it was all part of trying to savor a big stage.

“This is something special — we made history today,” Diggs said. “I grew up in this city. I feel like our names our going to be in the [history] books for life.”

Somerville 8 6 0 16 — 30

Woodrow Wilson 6 16 12 20 — 54

WW: Fadil Diggs 53 pass from Amari Clark (run failed)

S: Kyree Hinton 53 run (Deondre Gadson run)

WW: Malik Harvey 10 pass from Devin Kargman (Amari Clark pass from Kargman)

S: Hinton 39 pass from Justin Brenner (run failed)

WW: Muheem McCargo 13 pass from Kargman (Diggs pass from Kargman)

WW: McCargo 77 run (pass failed)

WW: McCargo 31 interception return (pass failed)

S: Hinton 49 pass from Brenner (Victor Corvera run)

WW: Harvey 45 pass from Kargman (Diggs pass from Kargman)

S: Ethan Hilliman 25 pass from Brenner (Gadson run)

WW: Diggs 53 pass from Kargman (pass failed)

WW: McCargo 47 interception return (run failed)