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Collingswood football slips past Cinnaminson via defense

His strategy before the game was simple. He planned to hit the quarterback, and hit him often. And so the final drive was fitting.

His strategy before the game was simple.

He planned to hit the quarterback, and hit him often. And so the final drive was fitting.

Cinnaminson had a glimmer of light, and Adam Hunt stomped it out.

The hulking 6-foot-4 defensive end had three of his team's six sacks and a fumble recovery for Collingswood en route to a season-saving defensive effort in a 24-22 win over visiting Cinnaminson Friday night in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 2 playoffs.

"This is a great feeling. I feel like we're leaving a great legacy out here," said Hunt after Collingswood won the first home playoff game it had hosted since 1978. "Collingswood football is on the rise."

A wild, turnover-filled game preceded Cinnaminson taking over at its own 20-yard line with 57 seconds left.

Hunt, standing up at the line of scrimmage, bulled over the tackle and recorded a sack on first down. Second down was an incomplete pass. Hunt, from the same stand-up position, chased down the quarterback and blocked a pass on third down. And Jovon Allie came up with an interception to end the game on fourth down. It was the final statement of a stellar night.

"I was able to rip through a couple times and get the quarterback," said Hunt, whose Panthers also topped the normally high-scoring Cinnaminson, 12-8, on Oct. 14. "But it helped that the entire defense was stepping up and doing their jobs.

"The defense has been playing well all year. Tonight we just did what we do best."

The fourth-seeded Panthers (7-2) move on to play top-seeded West Deptford (9-0) next week.

Collingswood lost, 28-14, to West Deptford on Nov. 4.

"We want revenge," said junior Abdul Bangura. "They're a nice team. But we think we can come out on top."

While most of Friday night's game was a slugfest, Bangura provided the flash.

He returned two kickoffs for a touchdown. Both were daggers to a Cinnaminson team that struggled to find a rhythm on offense for most of the game.

Bangura's first touchdown went for 96 yards in the second quarter. It squashed the momentum Cinnaminson (6-3) briefly held after recovering a fumble and scoring three plays later on a five-yard run by Kevin Schoch.

Bangura's second touchdown was a 74-yard burst up the center of the field on the opening kickoff of the second half. It put Collingswood ahead by 24-6.

"I just saw openings up the middle and trusted in my speed and athleticism," Bangura said.

The scores had far more to do with Bangura's speed then they did with breakdowns in Cinnaminson's special teams.

"We work so hard on special teams and that [makes those touchdowns] so disappointing," said Cinnaminson coach Matio Patrizi. "I'm devastated about it. . . . I'm in shock over it."

It was emblematic of the costly mistakes that plagued the Pirates throughout, including four turnovers. But Collingswood continued to let Cinnaminson back in the game because of its own errors. The Panthers turned the ball over twice, including a fumble that was picked up by Cinnaminson's Kai Leibfried and returned 19 yards for a touchdown. It made the score 24-22 with 9:08 left, providing Cinnaminson with real hope for a comeback.

But an overall stellar defensive performance - including stopping Cinnaminson twice on fourth down inside the red zone and forcing a safety when Cinnaminson was called for intentional grounding in the endzone in the first quarter - and a solid run game helped seal the win for the Panthers.

Collingswood did not complete the only pass it attempted in the game. The running game was left to Mike Taulane, who rushed 24 times for 139 yards.

"We had a few mistakes, but we got the win," Taulane said. "It's a surreal feeling. I'm so happy that we got a home win in the playoffs."

Cinnaminson 0 6 8 8 - 22

Collingswood 2 14 8 0 - 24

Col: Safety

Col: Jovon Ali 1 run (Adam Hunt pass from Marquis Hayes)

Cin: Kevin Schoch 5 run (pass failed)

Col: Abdul Bangura 96 kickoff return (run failed)

Col: Bangura 74 kickoff return (Mike Taulane run)

Cin: Sean Harris 20 pass from Shaun Davilla (Harris pass from Davilla)

Cin: Kai Leibfried 19 touchdown (Schoch run)