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Week 12

Friday, Nov. 17

NJSIAA State Playoffs

Group 5 Semifinals

Toms River North 33, Cherokee 6

Senior defensive back Jeremiah Pruitt celebrated his birthday with a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns to highlight another dominant defensive performance that sent the defending Group 5 champions Mariners (11-2) past the host Chiefs (9-3) and back into the Group 5 state championship game.

Toms River North will play Passaic Tech in the Group 5 state final at Rutgers on a day and time yet to be announced. Passic Tech defeated Union City, 14-0, in the other semifinal. It will be a rematch of last season's state final won by Toms River North, 28-7.

Pruitt had a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter and a 40-yard pick-6 late in the fourth quarter to clinch the victory. Toms River North's defense also recorded a safety when Cherokee was called for holding in the end zone. The Mariners held standout the Chiefs to 124 yards of offense and limited standout tailback Murad Campfield to just 34 yards rushing on 15 carries after he entered the game with 1,250 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Senior quarterback Micah Ford ran for 195 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries and threw for 88 yards and a touchdown. Senior running back Josh Moore caught a 25-yard touchdown pass and senior Yianni Papanikolas kicked a 33-yard field goal.

Senior quarterback Ryan Bender threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Tommy Pajic for Cherokee's points.

Check back for a complete game story by Bob Badders.


Group 2 Semifinals

Rumson-Fair Haven 35, Willingboro 28

A 6-yard touchdown run by senior running back Alastair Orr and the extra point by senior kicker Ryan Child gave Rumson a one-point lead in the fourth quarter, and a diving interception in the end zone by senior defensive back Danny Cook with 49 seconds left in regulation clinched a show-stopping victory by the Bulldogs (8-4) over the Chimeras (10-3) to return to the Group 2 state final.

A 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore quarterback Lamar Best gave Willingboro a 28-22 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty backed the Chimeras up 15 yards on the conversion attempt. They do not have a kicker and elect to go for 2-point conversions after each touchdown. Rumson stopped the attempt to keep its deficit at six points.

The Bulldogs then took the lead on Orr's touchdown and Child's extra point with 9:46 left in the game. The Rumson defense came up with a huge play when junior defensive back Cole Pangborn forced a fumble that senior defensive back Wesley Kennedy recovered midway through the fourth quarter. That led to a 7-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Kellen Murray for a 35-28 lead after the extra point was blocked.

Willingboro drove inside Rumson's 20-yard line in the final minute but Cook made a phenomenal play on a pass to the end zone by deflecting the ball away from intended receiver Terrance Knighton and then diving to catch the carom for a game-clinching interception.

Rumson will play Westwood in the Group 2 state final at Rutgers on a day and time yet to be announced. Westwood defeated Bernards, 17-0, in the other semifinal.

Check back for a complete game story by Scott Stump.



Saturday, Nov. 18

NJSIAA State Playoffs

Non-Public A Semifinals

(1) Bergen Catholic 42, (4) Donovan Catholic 13

Senior running back Kaj Sanders ran for 187 yards and three touchdowns and junior quarterback Dominic Campanile threw for 128 yards and two touchdowns to lead the top-ranked Crusaders (10-1) past the Griffins (9-3) and into the Non-Public A state final.

The two-time defending champion Crusaders found themselves in a 7-0 hole early when Donovan senior defensive back Najee Morgan picked up a live ball on a backward pass and took the fumble 12 yards for a touchdown. Bergen Catholic responded on a 4-yard touchdown run by Sanders later in the quarter and then took the lead for good on Sanders' 55-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

An undermanned Donovan Catholic squad kept the game in the first half close despite being without multiple starters due to injuries, including senior defensive end Zaeir Day, junior wide receiver Michael Thomas III, and sophomore running back Najee Calhoun. A 23-yard interception return for a touchdown by junior defensive back Naiim Parrish gave BC a 21-7 halftime lead.

The Crusaders extended their lead to 28-7 when star junior wide receiver Quincy Porter took a pass over the middle and turned it into a 60-yard touchdown in the third quarter. A 78-yard touchdown run by Sanders pushed the lead to 35-7 and a 5-yard touchdown pass from Campanile to senior wide receiver Luca Cuttita on fourth and goal put Bergen Catholic ahead, 42-7, with 7:41 left in the game.

Donovan freshman running back Ethan Nicolas capped the scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run and finished with 104 yards rushing in his first varsity action. Senior tight end/fullback Sam Rock caught four passes for 47 yards and sophomore Emanuel Gerena caught four passes for 33 yards.


Regular Season


Asbury Park 56, Neptune 12






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