Defense comes naturally to Nnamdi Njoku.

He knows to keep it simple: Tackle the guy with the football.

"He's nearly impossible to block," Florence coach Joe Frappolli said of Njoku, a 6-1, 210-pound defensive dervish who lines up in a varsity of positions - end, tackle, inside linebacker, outside linebacker - for the Flashes.

Offense is another story for the senior who has played the game for just four years.

"Tight end - I'm still getting used to it," Njoku said. "Not the blocking. I get that. But holding on to the ball."

So Njoku isn't exactly a receiving threat, but Florence isn't exactly a passing team. The Flashes are a physical squad that runs the football and plays fierce defense.

That's why third-seeded Florence (10-1) has reached the Central Jersey Group 1 championship game Saturday at 10 a.m. at the College of New Jersey against top-seeded Shore Regional (9-2).

Frappolli said Njoku has been a key to Florence's defensive dominance.

"He's got a motor," Frappolli said. "He plays with such passion and intensity. We move him around because they always are trying to double- and triple-team him."

Njoku was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He moved to Florence with his mother, two brothers and sister when he was 10.

He said he played a lot of soccer in Nigeria. He tried soccer when he got to Florence but said he was struggling with his conditioning.

He wanted to try something to help him get into shape.

"I thought about boxing but I thought football was the next best thing," Njoku said.

He liked the game right away.

"I didn't know what I was doing, but I liked the physical part," Njoku said. "I could see right away that football was my game."

Frappolli said Njoku has made steady improvement in high school. Njoku is part of a strong senior class of players who hope to finish their careers with a victory in the sectional title game.

"Last year, we lost the championship [to Asbury Park]," Njoku said. "As soon as that was over, we told ourselves that next year was going to be different. We were going to take it this time."

Njoku prefers defense and makes most of his impact on that side of the football. But the position of tight end is growing on him.

He's made just two catches, for 7 yards. He hasn't scored a touchdown yet.

"I've got one more chance," Njoku said. "You never know what can happen."