The Rams are back to being a winning football team.
The weight of a 15-game losing streak, which spanned parts of three football seasons, had really started to irk some of the players in the Gloucester Catholic High School football program.
“Our original guys came down to the weight room every day,” senior lineman Dyheim Watson said. “We practiced every day, we grinded every day. We came into this season thinking differently.”
The hard work paid off, although not immediately in the win column. The Rams had lost their last three games of the shortened 2020 season and all 11 last year. Opening night 2022 was also a loss, but there were good signs during that 33-16 setback to Palmyra. On Sept. 9, it finally all came together in a 34-6 rout over Bishop Eustace.
“Getting that win really brought up the energy because we know we have a team that can do it,” junior linebacker Christopher Hagan said.
One win was a great way to stop the bleeding. A second win proved they’re on to something. The Rams followed up with a thrilling 21-14 victory at home against Lindenwold on Sept. 17 in which the defense made a late stand to hold down the win.
“It’s been a while since we’ve played at this level,” Rams coach Casey Murphy said. “This year, we have more maturity. We got a lot of guys who really rededicated themselves, and we got a year older and a year stronger and gained a little more understanding.”
They also gained some recruits: A few athletes that played other sports at Gloucester Catholic came out for the team and made an immediate impact. “It completes us a little bit so we can do some different looks,” Murphy said.
There’s more talent and more intensity. And now there’s more motivation.
“We’re just trying to prove everybody wrong,” said Hagan, who had a pair of interceptions against Lindenwold. “Everybody had us losing to Eustace, but we came out and put it to them. They don’t think we can do it. But we’re out here showing everyone that we can play.”
It’s certainly something that’s been done in the past. Gloucester Catholic has 20 playoff appearances in the program’s history and a sectional title under its belt. The Rams have won 10 playoff games with the last coming during an 8-3 season in 2009. The year prior, they were 9-2 with a playoff win. There’s winning in its culture. The new Rams are just trying to build the next version of it.
“It’s a steady build,” Murphy said. “It’s just a matter of every game being its own game. Every time we step on the field, we just want to get better. If we can go out there and string a couple in a row and compete for a division, that’s great. But we just want to keep building with these kids and have them get the best out of their experience.”
For dozens of pictures from the Gloucester Catholic High School game against Lindenwold, visit catholicstarherald.org/photos.
PUBLISHED HERE WITH PERMISSION OF THE CATHOLIC STAR HERALD