by Gus Ostrum
(cnbnews.net) GLOUCESTER CITY NJ-To a man, this was the game the seniors wanted to win badly. Consider it mission accomplished!
Bolstered by the presence of healthy running back John DeLaurentis and solid overall games from quarterback Micahel Davis and teammates Matt Davis and James Higginbotham, Gloucester Catholic upset city rival Gloucester High 22-15 in a West Jersey League Thanksgiving Day football classic.
"The seniors all said to a man that this was the one they wanted to win," head coach Tony Garczynski said following the huge triumph. "I told them before the game -- you've talked about this as a goal, now go out there and walk the talk. And to their credit, everyone was brought their "A" game today."
Against the South Jersey Group 1 playoff contender Lions, who fell to 7-3 overall, the Rams were paced by the return of DeLaurentis, who rushed for 122 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. "Johnny D.", as he is known around school, played a complete game for the first time this season after being plagued by a nagging hamstring injury all season.
The win was just the second of the season for GC, which improved to 2-8.
"What a difference his presence makes," Garczynski said. "Johnny D was still not 100 percent; he was still bothered a little bit by the hamstring. But you can see how much he means to the team just by being in the lineup."
Also enjoying a solid game was quarterback Mike Davis, who completed 8 of 11 passes for 153 yards, including a TD strike to his brother Matt Davis. Matt Davis and Higginbotham also contrbuted to the upset victory.
"The team as a whole really played well," Garczynski said. :"Everyone was really encouraged by Johnny D,'s return, and they stepped it up quite a bit against a very good football team in Gloucester High."
After the Lions claimed a 7-0 second quarter lead on Austin Dobleman's 37-yard touchdown pass to Larry Spann, the Rams roared back to take a commanding 22-7 lead in the third quarter.
Mike Davis moved GC to within 7-6 when he found Matt Davis on a nice 25-yard TD strike in the second quarter, making it 7-6. Higginbotham then gathered in a 16-yard TD pass from Mike Davis while DeLaurentis caught the two-point conversion, moving the Rams to a stunning 14-7 halftime lead.
The Rams carried the momentum into the third quarter as DeLaurentis scampered 14 yards for a touchdown and Higginbotham added the PAT catch to increase the advantage to 22-7.
Gloucester Catholic 22, Gloucester City 15
Gloucester City 0 7 8 0 15
Gloucester Catholic 0 14 8 0 22
2nd: Gloucester City: Larry Spann 37 pass from Austin Dobleman (Tom O'Donnell kick)
2nd: Gloucester Catholic: Matt Davis 25 pass from Michael Davis (run failed)
2nd: Gloucester Catholic: James Higginbotham 16 pass from Michael Davis (John DeLaurentis pass from Michael Davis)
3rd: Gloucester Catholic: John DeLaurentis 14 run (James Higginbotham pass from Michael Davis)
3rd: Gloucester City: Larry Spann 2 run (Andrew Boulden pass from Austin Dobleman)