With the distraught look on Josh Awotunde’s face minutes after their matchup against Winslow Township High School on Saturday afternoon, one would have thought Delsea lost the game.
That wasn’t the case, as the Crusaders prevailed, 34-20, over the host Eagles in a West Jersey Football League interconference game.
There wasn’t a whole lot of excitement on Delsea’s end, however. Instead, there were mostly heads that hanging low.
“Overall, we did OK,” Awotunde, Delsea’s quarterback, said. “We didn’t play as good as we can play. We still came out with a W, and the W is important, but we still have to play better on defense to win further on in the season.”
Awotunde had a big day, rushing for 100 yards and scoring three touchdowns — including a 45-yard touchdown run with less than a minute to play in the contest. Delsea’s quarterback also scored on runs of 16 and nine yards, while going 2-of-4 passing for 27 yards.
Delsea (5-1) rarely has a problem on offense, as Winslow (0-6) found out. Its running game is hard to match and they have scored at least 28 points in each game of the 2012 campaign.
Running back Robert Hooks, who ran for 121 yards on 24 carries, added a 2-yard touchdown plunge in the second quarter for Delsea. Stephan Lewis also got in on the act, finding the end zone on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter as Delsea ran for 305 yards on the day.
It is the Crusaders’ defense that has been more of a question mark.
Delsea has allowed its fair share of touchdowns and long rushing plays while giving up 20-plus points in four out of six games this season.
“We have to step up, have some leaders, be more urgent,” Delsea coach Sal Marchese said. “We need way more urgency on defense. We have to get back to work.”
It’s a statement repeated over and over again by the players and coaches, and you can tell the amount of concern is steadily growing.
“There’s a lot more improvement to do,” added senior defensive end Andre Francious, who came up with an interception in the third quarter.
Delsea will look for someone to step up in Friday’s game against Bishop Eustace.
A strong offense can only take a team so far, and as Marchese says, “You’re not a complete team with just one side of the ball rolling.”
“They have to understand it’s important,” Marchese said of playing sound defense. “You can’t rely on offense if you’re going to be a championship-caliber team.”