They pushed the boulder up the mountain for years.

They made progress. They slipped back.

They went 10-0 in the regular season. They lost in the playoffs.

They went 8-1 in the regular season. They lost in the playoffs.

They went 9-0 in the regular season. They lost in the playoffs.

They were a powerhouse in September and October.

They were a puzzle in November.

But the first December game in the history of the program was something special for the Williamstown Braves.

On Friday night, the Braves finally pushed the boulder to the top of the mountain. They reached the summit on a cool and rainy night at Rowan University.

"Finally," Williamstown coach Frank Fucetola said, soaked with rain and sweat and the sweet water from an ice-bucket bath. "All that hard work, all that commitment, all that time, all those doubters."

Finally is right. The Braves finally got to enjoy the view from the peak of South Jersey football - as the No. 1 team in the top 10 rankings, an undefeated sectional champion, a team for the ages.

This was a win for Williamstown but also for perseverance. The Braves showed the value of keeping a shoulder to the task.

That's what Fucetola and his assistants and all those players have done for years. That's why they were celebrating with such unbridled joy after a 43-20 victory over Southern Regional in the South Jersey Group 5 title game.

It's been quite the struggle for the Braves. They are 51-4 since 2007 in the regular season. They have won division titles in the Tri-County Conference and in the West Jersey Football League.

But until this season, they had one postseason victory. They were 1-5 in the playoffs even as they were establishing themselves as one of the best teams in South Jersey during the regular season.

But it all changed this season. Williamstown went 12-0, wire to wire, unbeaten in the regular season and unbeaten in the playoffs.

This was a victory that validated Williamstown as one of the best programs in South Jersey, that proved the Braves belonged at the top of that mountain.

Contact Phil Anastasia at panastasia@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports