UNION, N.J. - Salaam Horne's head started pounding Wednesday.
The St. Joseph junior quarterback saw the school nurse and was told he had a 100-degree fever and had to go home.
Horne spent the next two days at home with strep throat. He drank fluids and watched video on his phone and his computer just to get ready for the Non-Public 1 state football final Saturday.
By the time game day came around, Horne hadn't seen his teammates in days and no one knew if he could play. He finally met his teammates an hour late, after he got sick twice in the morning.
Once Horne showed up, he quickly learned a weather-adjusted game plan and was ready to go.
If that couldn't stop him, what chance did St. Anthony have?
Horne led St. Joseph to its sixth straight state title with a 55-0 win at Kean University.
"It's the state championship game," he said. "I couldn't sit out. I had to come out and try to give it a go."
Horne threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns on four passes and ran for 34 yards and a score.
"This morning, he came in and said, 'I don't know if I can play,' " St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said. "We got him some tea. We got him some lozenges. Things like that. He couldn't swallow. Once he got moving out here with the kids, I think he felt better, and they're great athletes."
Horne led an offense that scored on its first seven possessions and gained 448 yards on 31 plays. At halftime, St. Joseph had 312 yards on 18 plays and a 41-0 lead.
C.J. LaFragola had 63 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries and a 75-yard touchdown catch. Horne's twin, A'laam, ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Sacco said that when his players turned in their pads the week after last year's championship, they asked when they could return to the weight room to prepare for this season. He gave in and let them lift, and he said he wouldn't be surprised if his players push next week to prepare for the 2015 season.
"The kids really buy into it," Sacco said. "I have to be thankful for that. . . . We've got great players, too. I can't say enough about those kids."
"We work hard, and we're dedicated to this program," A'laam Horne said. "We just want to get state championships."
The win over St. Anthony (8-4) gave St. Joseph (11-0) its 21st straight win and 24th championship. St. Joseph had its fourth shutout of the year to cap a stellar season.
The Wildcats gave up 7.1 points per game and surrendered more than 10 only twice. St. Joseph's offense averaged 44.9 points and scored at least 36 in 10 games. St. Joseph also earned a signature win on Oct. 11 when it won, 25-23, at Steubenville (Ohio).
"I'll never compare," Sacco said. "They go down as one of the great teams in St. Joseph history."
St. Anthony 0 0 0 0 - 0
St. Joseph 21 20 7 7 - 55
SJ: C.J. LaFragola 5 run (Eric Graziano kick)
SJ: Salaam Horne 32 run (Graziano kick)
SJ: LaFragola 38 run (Graziano kick)
SJ: Ricardo Quirindongo 38 pass from Horne (Graziano kick)
SJ: LaFragola 75 pass from Horne (kick failed)
SJ: A'laam Horne 1 run (Graziano kick)
SJ: A'laam Horne 17 run (Graziano kick)
SJ: Davore Mewborn 19 run (Graziano kick)