The second play from scrimmage was loose and fluid. It was easy, like playing catch.
Shawnee quarterback Colin Wetterau floated a ball about 35 yards in the air. Daevon Robinson caught it in stride. Hammonton players were chasing him in what looked like an all-out sprint. Robinson, a 6-foot-4 Division I prospect, looked like he was jogging.
He burned the defense for a 73-yard touchdown. And most of the game was about as smooth as that second play from scrimmage.
Shawnee topped Hammonton, 41-6, Sunday night at Rowan University to win the South Jersey Group 4 championship.
"All I've been thinking about is this game right here," said Wetterau, whose team also beat Hammonton, 38-6, at home on Nov. 3. "I couldn't be happier playing for this program and for coach [Tim] Gushue."
It was Shawnee's seventh overall state football championship and fifth since 2007.
"It starts with great players and great families — we have a great community," Gushue said. "I've taught at Shawnee for 38 years and been coaching football here for 40 years. … I've just been really blessed and proud to be part of this for so long."
Wetterau, a senior, beautifully orchestrated the Shawnee offense. He also returned a fumble 33 yards for a touchdown to give his team a 34-0 lead with 1 minute, 40 seconds left in the third quarter. He looked even more motivated after the first play of the game when Jake Schillinger, something of an unsung hero for the team this year, left the game for good with a shoulder injury.
"It's emotional," Wetterau said. "He gave everything he had for this team."
Wetterau completed 7 of 15 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, leading Shawnee (8-4) to a comfortable 21-0 lead at the break that allowed the team to cruise through the final 24 minutes.
He finished 10 of 20 passing for 251 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed 13 times for 52 yards and a touchdown.
Robinson finished with 4 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns, including a 36-yard touchdown reception with eight seconds left in the first half when Wetterau found him as wide open as he was on his first score.
He also ran for a 45-yard touchdown off a jet sweep on the second play of the fourth quarter to make the score 41-0 and initiate a running clock. Hammonton finished with a 5-7 record.
"I told the coaches, these [cornerbacks] are 5-8, throw me the ball and I'll go and get it," Robinson said.
The Shawnee defense did a solid job of containing the Hammonton offense, bottling up star running back Dayquan Murray.
Late in the second quarter, with the score still 14-0, Jon Searcy intercepted a ball at the 20-yard line, turning away one of the few scares delivered by the Hammonton offense. Shawnee recorded two interceptions in the first half and four turnovers in all.
The only score it allowed was a 25-yard touchdown reception by Anthony Fazio from Giancarlo Palmieri. That happened with three minutes left after the starters had already been pulled.
"This win is big," Robinson said. "Last game of my high school career — to go out 41-6 is a great feeling."
Shawnee 7 14 13 7 — 41
Hammonton 0 0 0 6 — 6
S: Daevon Robinson 73 pass from Colin Wetterau (Joe Dalsey kick)
S: Wetterau 1 run (Dalsey kick)
S: Robinson 36 pass from Wetterau (Dalsey kick)
S: Jeremy Fisher 34 pass from Wetterau (Dalsey kick)
S: Wetterau 33 fumble recovery (kick failed)
S: Robinson 45 run (Dalsey kick)