Haddonfield rules Group 2
Frank DeLano knows history as well as football. The Haddonfield coach knows his team had not beaten Camden in 80 years before a 45-19 victory in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals on Nov. 23.
Frank DeLano knows history as well as football.
The Haddonfield coach knows his team had not beaten Camden in 80 years before a 45-19 victory in the South Jersey Group 2 semifinals on Nov. 23.
He knows his team was playing Woodstown for the first time since 1928 in Saturday's South Jersey Group 2 title game.
"We're just a little cog," DeLano said of his program's place in the big wheel of South Jersey football history.
But since the creation of the state playoff system in 1974, there has never been a team quite like Haddonfield in 2013.
The Bulldogs completed a remarkable run to the title with a 21-0 victory over Woodstown on a cold, windy afternoon at Rowan.
"What a special journey," DeLano said of Haddonfield's road to the title.
Haddonfield (10-2), the No. 8 team in The Inquirer's South Jersey rankings, won its sixth game in a row - including its third straight against an undefeated higher seed in the tournament.
Haddonfield beat 8-0 West Deptford in the opening round, 9-0 Camden in the semifinals, and 11-0 Woodstown in the championship game.
"We really worry more about how we play than who we play," said Haddonfield senior Teddy Stavetski, who scored the Bulldogs' final touchdown with a 35-yard interception return. "But it's pretty special" to beat three undefeated teams in the tournament.
DeLano said he knew Haddonfield's road to the top of the tournament mountain likely was "unprecedented," especially since it's rare for any field to include three undefeated teams - much less for all three to be lined up like ducks in a row for a No. 5 seed that entered the postseason with a 6-2 record.
"Our kids know," DeLano said. "But you have to have blinders on and just play who you play. These kids, they just bought in and worked so hard to make this happen."
In a dominant performance, Haddonfield's defense allowed just 42 yards and was the highest-scoring unit on the field with two touchdowns.
After a scoreless first half, Haddonfield junior linebacker Mark Walker picked up a fumble and ran 4 yards for a touchdown with 4 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Walker's TD was set up by Haddonfield sophomore defensive tackle Frank Fortino, whose hit had forced the fumble.
"It's great to score on offense, but it's sweeter to score on defense," said Haddonfield senior two-way lineman Patrick Porter.
In a hard-hitting defensive battle, No. 15 Woodstown (11-1) contained Haddonfield's offense. But the Wolverines couldn't generate much offense against the Bulldogs' swarming defense.
"We had trouble moving the ball," Woodstown coach John Adams said. "We had trouble blocking up front. Haddonfield is a great team and very well-coached."
Junior Jake Klaus scored Haddonfield's second touchdown on a 19-yard run, and Stavetski capped the victory by stepping in front of a pass and racing 35 yards down the right sideline with 8:20 remaining.
"I know I sound like Fred Shero," DeLano said of the late, great former Flyers coach. "But I told these kids, 'We'll walk together forever.' "
Haddonfield 0 0 7 14 – 21
Woodstown 0 0 0 0 – 0
H: Mark Walker 4 with fumble (Drew Tomlinson kick)
H: Jake Klaus 19 run (Tomlinson kick)
H: Teddy Stavetski 35 interception return (Tomlinson kick)
See and hear from Haddonfield's Teddy Stavetski.