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Woodrow Wilson's Jairo Ramos leads Tigers to South Jersey Group 3 football title game

The versatile senior has made plays as receiver, runner and passer as the Tigers have reached the sectional finals for the first time since 2001.

Senior all-purpose standout Jairo Ramos has led the Woodrow Wilson football team to the South Jersey Group 3 title game Saturday at Rowan.
Senior all-purpose standout Jairo Ramos has led the Woodrow Wilson football team to the South Jersey Group 3 title game Saturday at Rowan.Read moreChip Fox/Staff Photographer

Jairo Ramos likes to give his father the "good news" about his play for the Woodrow Wilson football team.

There has been plenty to report this season.

Ramos, a senior all-purpose athlete, has helped the Tigers advance to the sectional finals for the first time since 2001.

A top linebacker on defense and a jack-of-all-trades on offense, Ramos has made plays as a runner, receiver and passer as Woodrow Wilson (8-3) has reached Saturday's South Jersey Group 3 title game against Delsea (8-3) at Rowan University. Kickoff is 11 at a.m.

Woodrow Wilson coach Preston Brown calls Ramos "Mr. Reliability" for his consistent, dependable play on both sides of the football as well as his veteran leadership.

"As a coach, you wish you had a team full of guys like that," Brown said of Ramos.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Ramos prefers to play tight end on offense. He's a strong blocker who also can flex outside when the Tigers employ a spread formation.

Ramos has caught 29 passes for 359 yards and four touchdowns. He also has run for two touchdowns.

But Ramos' versatility has been best on display during three games in which he has played quarterback in place of injured junior Nick Kargman.

Ramos played his best game at quarterback in the Tigers' biggest win of the regular season, a 30-20 victory over Moorestown Oct. 6 that effectively clinched the West Jersey Football League Royal Division title.

With Kargman sidelined with a shoulder ailment, Ramos ran for two touchdowns, passed for 127 yards and an another score and also threw a pair of two-point conversion passes.

"He's a kid who has never questioned it when we've moved him around," Brown said. "We did the same thing last year, had some injuries, needed him at quarterback, and he stepped in."

Ramos said he takes pride in his ability to help the team in a variety of ways.

"That's what all about, helping the team," Ramos said. "Whenever they need me, that's where I'll play."

Ramos grew up in Brown's old neighborhood on Rand Street in East Camden. Ramos didn't start playing football until he was a seventh grade, when he joined the Camden PAL Bulldogs' program.

At Woodrow Wilson, Ramos has been instrumental to Brown's efforts to rebuild the Tigers into one of South Jersey's top programs.

"I've known him a long time. He grew up across the street from where I used to live," Brown said. "I've known what kind of kid he is. He's been a straight-A student for three straight years, always does things the right way."

Ramos is the youngest of seven children. He said he parents separated when he was around eight years old, and his father, Juan, moved to Puerto Rico.

When Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria on Sept. 20, Ramos went nearly three weeks before hearing from his father.

"I was calling his phone, and it was going straight to voice mail," Ramos said. "I was worried, but I knew he was going to be all right. He's always prepared for everything no matter what it is."

Ramos said he finally heard from his father in early October, shortly before the big game against Moorestown.

"He called me off somebody else's phone," Ramos said.

Brown said Ramos was a "different kid" after learning that his father was OK.

"He had a big smile on his face. You could just see the relief," Brown said. "He was walking around, all excited, and he started playing his best."

Ramos said his father still doesn't have full power in his home in Arecibo, a city on the northern coast of the island about 50 miles from San Juan.

But his cell phone is working, and Ramos is able to relay news of his senior season to his father.

"I talk to him, update him on everything," Ramos said. "I always try to give him all the good news because I know what he's going through, so I try to give him something good to keep on his mind."

South Jersey Group 3 football title game

Woodrow Wilson (8-3) vs. Delsea (8-3): Saturday, 11 a.m. at Rowan University

Road to Rowan

Woodrow Wilson beat Deptford 46-14 and Lakewood 46-25.
Delsea beat Ocean City 56-34 and Timber Creek 41-30.

Previous titles

Woodrow Wilson: 1 (2001)
Delsea: 13 (1976, 1979, 1982, 1984, 1986, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)


Woodrow Wilson: Preston Brown is 20-11 in his third season.
Delsea: Sal Marchese Jr. is 199-69-1 in his 25th season.

Woodrow Wilson players to watch

Senior TE Jairo Ramos: 29 catches, 359 yards, 4 TDs
Senior DE/WR Travon King: 16.5 sacks, 32 catches, 555 yards, 7 TDs
Junior WR/DB Stanley King: (32 catches, 596 yards, 9 TDs
Junior QB Nick Kargman: 122-for-200 passing, 1,754 yards, 25 TDs

Delsea players to watch

Junior RB Aidan Borguet: 211 carries, 2,112 yards, 26 TDs)
Senior QB Mason Maxwell: 94 carries, 561 yards, 9 TDs plus 8 TD passes)
Senior C Tommy Maxwell
Junior DB Keison Fowler: 89 tackles
Ssophomore linebacker Jay Wright: 90 tackles

Fast fact

Delsea beat Woodrow Wilson 43-12 on Oct. 27.


Delsea, 34-22.