Nick Ocampo didn't even know there was an MVP named during the rivalry fotball game played between Paul VI and Camden Catholic.
When he saw the trophy on the field after Paul VI's 34-19 win over the Irish on Wednesday night and then heard his name called, he was the most stunned person in the stadium.
"I saw the trophy, heard them call my name and was really surprised," said Ocampo, a sophomore receiver-defensive back who had three receptions for 58 yards and a touchdown and four tackles and an interception. "It was just great to go out with a win."
This was a game played between teams who had fallen on hard times. Both entered the game 0-9 but each played with tremendous intensity.
Paul VI went up 21-0 and it looked like a laugher, except that Camden Catholic then scored the next 19 points. After a 17-yard touchdown run by Trey Thorpe, with 8 minutes and 2 seconds left in the third quarter cut the deficit to 21-19, Paul VI stopped the Irish, just short of the goal line on a 2-point conversion run.
The Eagles would then put things away with a 13-0 fourth quarter that consisted of field goals of 41 and 33 yards by Henry Westermann sandwiched around a 1-yard run by sophomore quarterback Joe Gledhill.
It was a big week for Westermann, one of the top kickers in South Jersey. On Monday he made a commitment to attend West Point, where he was recruited as both a kicker and punter. And then on Wednesday he ended his career with the two field goals, four PATs and some booming kickoffs.
"It's unexplainable, just getting out there and winning again, it's been over a year," he said. "I am just ecstatic."
Paul VI's last win was Nov. 11, 2017 when the Eagles beat Bishop Eustace, 14-2. Camden Catholic, which leads the series 31-19-1, had won the previous four games between these two rivals.
Gledhill played the entire second half in relief of Kevin Johnson, who suffered a first half injury. Johnson completed 7 for 13 for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while Gledhill was 6 for 13 for 85 yards.
For Camden Catholic it was the end of a rough 0-10 year, but the team stuck together and continued to battle while using many young players.
After coach Nick Strom was dismissed following an 8-2 season last year in a well-documented incident, many of the top players transferred. Then Strom's replacement Cody Hall resigned during the season.
So for a team that faced so much turmoil, the Irish played extremely hard.
"This definitely is what it was all about, both teams battling until the very end," Camden Catholic interim coach Gary Onuekwusi said. "I love it the kids stayed positive."
Camden Catholic 0 13 6 0 — 19
Paul VI 14 7 0 13 — 34
P: Brian Brown 4 run (Henry Westermann kick)
P: Nick Ocampo 8 pass from Kevin Johnson (Westermann kick)
P: Nolyn McGrath 4 pass from Johnson (Westermann kick)
C: Joe Punchello 9 run (Vinicius Nakata kick)
C: Punchello 6 run (kick failed)
C: Trey Thorpe 17 run (run failed)
P: Westermann 41 FG
P: Joe Gledhill 1 run (Westermann kick)