Delsea's streak of sectional football titles ends
It was Delsea football at its best. It was a dominating offensive line, a powerful ground game, and firm control of the football and the clock.
It was Delsea football at its best.
It was a dominating offensive line, a powerful ground game, and firm control of the football and the clock.
It even was executed by a team in red.
But the harsh twist for the four-time defending South Jersey Group 3 champions on Saturday at Rowan University was that the team that unfurled that familiar game plan was from Wall Township.
The Shore Conference team controlled the first half, building a 20-0 lead and holding off Delsea's rally in the fourth quarter to emerge with a 20-7 victory in the South Jersey Group 3 title game on a brisk, breezy afternoon at Richard Wackar Stadium.
"We said before the game, 'We have to run the ball and we have to stop the run,' " Delsea coach Sal Marchese Jr. said. "I'm sure that was their message, too.
"They ran the ball on us in the first half. That was the story of the game."
Senior running back Sean Larkin carried 33 times for 172 yards and two touchdowns for Wall Township (10-2), which won its fourth sectional title but first in South Jersey.
Larkin gained 139 yards and scored both of his touchdowns in the first half, when Wall Township used bruising work by its offensive line to hold advantages of 225-50 in yards and 14-3 in first downs over Delsea.
"It's surreal," Larkin said. "The offensive line was absolutely amazing."
Senior fullback Rashaad Williams scored on a 14-yard run early in the fourth quarter for Delsea (7-5).
But the Crusaders' first-half struggles proved too much to overcome, especially in windy conditions, where the West Jersey Football League team was 0-for-6 passing with two interceptions.
"They wanted it more than we did," Williams said. "We came out flat. I didn't know why. It seemed like some guys just weren't focused."
Marchese said his team lacked "intensity" in the first half.
"I give all the credit to Wall," Marchese said. "They have a bunch of seniors and you could see it meant a ton to them.
"I've been saying that when you win three, four in a row, you always have to fight complacency, the sense that it's always going to happen.
"It's not going to be easy. It's never easy to win a championship."
Wall Township took the opening kickoff and set the tone for the game. The Knights went 81 yards on 14 plays, converting six first downs and taking the lead on Chevesse Covin's 15-yard burst around right end.
Delsea went three-and-out and Wall Township executed another 14-play drive. But Delsea's Keelan Borguet made a touchdown-saving tackle on fourth and goal from the one and the Crusaders had life.
But the Crusaders couldn't move the football and Wall Township scored again as Larkin went 43 yards for a touchdown and a 13-0 lead.
After an interception, the Knights drove 34 yards and jacked their edge to 20-0 on Larkin's 5-yard run.
"In the first half, we just couldn't get anything going," Marchese said.
Delsea played better in the second half, but the lack of a passing game limited the Crusaders' ability to rally from a three-touchdown deficit.
"We fought right to the end," Williams said. "We never gave up. I'm always proud to be a Delsea Crusader."
Delsea 0 0 0 7 - 7
Wall 6 14 0 0 - 20
W: Chevesse Covin 15 run (kick fail)
W: Sean Larkin 43 run (Aidan Mulreed kick)
W: Larkin 5 run (Mulreed kick)
D: Rashaad Williams 14 run (Larry Holdcraft kick)