Penns Grove checked off the last item on a lengthy to-do list on Saturday morning: capturing its first South Jersey football title.
The Red Devils managed something else as well: They proved they can battle through adversity.
Trailing for the first time since the season opener on Sept. 7, Penns Grove rallied for a 30-14 victory over Woodbury in the South Jersey Group 1 title game at Rowan University.
"We bellied up," said Penns Grove coach Kemp Carr, whose team faced a 6-0 deficit after the game's first possession.
Senior quarterback Nick Elmer carried 35 times for 308 yards and two touchdowns as Penns Grove, the No. 7 team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, finished the season with a 12-0 record and the school's first sectional title in football since the creation of the playoff system in 1974.
"We might not have played a perfect game, but we had a perfect season," Elmer said.
Penns Grove set a state record with 621 points scored. The Red Devils outscored their opponents by 621-46.
Woodbury coach Zack Valentine said his team was a "40-point underdog" but the Thundering Herd broke in front as Alabama-bound Anthony Averett completed three passes for 75 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown to Cameron Gamble.
"We wanted to get in front of them because they haven't faced that," Valentine said. "But hats off to them. They responded."
Penns Grove bounced back behind Elmer's hard running and with a defensive touchdown, as junior end Isaiah Coppage went 60 yards on a fumble return.
"We worked so hard for this, we weren't going to stop," Penns Grove senior lineman Sam Harvey said. "We were going to keep pushing."
Woodbury 8 6 0 0 – 14
Penns Grove 6 16 8 0 – 30
W: Cameron Gamble 13 pass from Anthony Averett (Jeray Demby run)
PG: Anthony Robertson 3 run (run failed)
PG: Isaiah Coppage 60 fumble return (Nick Elmer run)
PG: Nick Elmer 36 run (Robertson run)
W: Averett 21 pass from Daevon Ayers (pass fail)
PG: Elmer 6 run (Elmer run)