His team had just allowed four touchdown passes against a team known more for its running game, but when Haddonfield coach Frank DeLano was asked whether he expected this type of performance from Sterling's aerial attack, he was quick and to the point.
"Yes," DeLano said after Sterling earned a 39-19 win over Haddonfield on Saturday at Cherry Hill West.
"Their quarterback is as talented as any we've seen this year."
DeLano was referring to C.J. Barrett, Sterling's 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior, who, like his team, took serious lumps his previous two seasons as a starter and is now administrating them this season, along with the rest of the Silver Knights.
Sterling was 3-7 in Barrett's sophomore season and 1-9 last year. This year, the Silver Knights are 7-1, with the only blemish a 34-33 loss to defending South Jersey Group 2 champion West Deptford.
What's more, Sterling is expected to host Haddonfield (5-3) on Friday in the opening of the NJSIAA South Jersey Group 2 playoffs. The official pairings will be released Monday.
Barrett happens to be a major reason for Sterling's resurgence.
He entered the Haddonfield game with nine touchdown passes this season and departed with four more. Barrett completed 8 of 14 passes for 259 yards, the four TDs and two interceptions. He also rushed for 60 yards on 11 carries.
"I think he is the best quarterback in South Jersey, no doubt," said junior receiver Jarred Matchett, who had touchdown receptions of 19 and 39 yards.
While Matchett is obviously biased, it's interesting to note that Barrett isn't usually mentioned among the area's best, simply because Sterling doesn't pass the ball much.
This season, he has completed 45 of 78 passes for 1,046 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those are efficient stats.
The better statistic is the one in the win column, which is all Barrett cares about.
"It's just great to be playing meaningful games in November," he said.
Could that extend into December, when the sectional finals are played? Who knows, but in a wild Group 2 that is up for grabs, anything is possible.
Sterling runs the ball well, and teams that can do that generally have a chance to extend their season, and with Barrett's passing and a solid defense, Sterling is an interesting team.
"We are benefiting greatly from his experience," Sterling coach Dan Harris said of Barrett.
Haddonfield led, 13-6, after John Foley returned a kickoff 78 yards for a touchdown with 1 minute, 48 seconds left in the first quarter. Sterling struck back with 31 unanswered points.
Barrett said the best thing for Sterling is a short memory, to forget about this decisive win and prepare to face the Bulldawgs again.
When pressed, he acknowledged that personally this game was special.
"This was probably my best game," said Barrett, who has had many to choose from in this turnaround season for him and his Silver Knights teammates.
Sterling 6 17 7 7 – 37
Haddonfield 13 0 0 6 – 19
H: Drew Gavranich 47 pass from Jay Foley (kick failed)
S: Joel Deaney 58 pass from C.J. Barret (kick failed)
H: John Foley 78 kick return (Henry Grozier kick)
S: Damiere Hutchinson 45 pass from Barrett (Nick Harmer kick)
S: Jared Matchett 39 pass from Barrett (Harmer kick
S: Harmer 30 FG
S: Deaney 5 run (Harmer kick)
S: Matchett 19 pass from Barrett (Harmer kick)
H: Gavranich 48 pass from Jay Foley (pass failed)