The Delsea Regional High School football team’s defense set a new standard for dominance on Friday night.
The Crusaders locked down Winslow Township all evening, limiting the Eagles to minus-1 yard offensively in the first half and 29 yards total as they spearheaded a 35-0 victory on homecoming.
Delsea (4-2) didn’t allow a first down until there was 1 minute, 10 seconds left in the first half and gave up just two in the game. The first-string defense gave up just six yards before being pulled in the fourth quarter.
“It’s unbelievable,” said senior defensive back Brendon Slade, who made a second-quarter interception. “I think we had a good week of practice. … We can only get better from here I hope. We just keep working and get better. I like the sound of that, less than 30 yards.”
“I am impressed,” added senior lineman Dakota Brovero. “I’m a little surprised, because I didn’t think we held them to negative yardage. I’m glad we did. I knew we can do it, (I’m surprised), but I’m glad.”
Delsea has only allowed 22 points since losing to Camden 38-29 in Week 1.
“Defense played awesome tonight,” coach Sal Marchese said. “In fact, the last three or four games we really played well on defense. We’re practicing better, were practicing with a lot more urgency on defense and it showed tonight.”
The Crusaders were tested early as they were put on their heels following a special teams miscue. After Delsea forced Winslow (0-6) into a three-and-out on its first possession, the Crusaders muffed a punt, setting the Eagles up at the Delsea 34-yard line. But four plays later, Delsea was taking over on its own 37 after Phil Sampson sacked Winslow’s Jymir Holmes on 4th-and-11.
The Crusaders would subsequently march down the field as Isaiah Spencer capped a methodical 11-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 with 2:49 left in the first quarter.
Delsea’s offense wasn’t perfect though as Winslow kept 10 men in the box, creating some confusion in the blocking scheme in the opening half. However, the Crusaders would make it 14-0 with 1:30 remaining when quarterback Rob Rolle used play action on 4th-and-4 from the Winslow 21-yard line to find Slade in the end zone for a touchdown.
“They bit on the fake and I was just wide open in the back of the end zone,” Slade said. “It was a good ball and I caught it.”
Yet the lead wasn’t good enough for Delsea as the team made some adjustments at halftime to account for Winslow’s defense.
The alterations worked as the Crusaders had three straight scoring drives to open the second half. Rob Hooks found the end zone twice in the third quarter on runs of 9 and 5 yards, respectively, and quarterback Rob Rolle closed the scoring with a 28-yard touchdown scamper in the fourth quarter.
“Coach (Sal) Marchese, he drew (out adjustments) for us (at halftime), he told us who we should be blocking, we came out and it was just gaping holes in the second half,” Hooks said.
The Crusaders rolled up 373 yards rushing in the game, including 153 by Hooks and 112 by Spencer.
The Delsea starters were pulled after Rolle’s touchdown, giving them an opportunity to savor the homecoming victory.
“It’s beautiful,” Slade said. “Senior year, homecoming, couldn’t have ended (any) better.”
Delsea 35, Winslow 0
D: Spencer 10 run (Deckert kick)
D: Slade 21 pass from Rolle (Deckert kick)
D: Hooks 9 run (Deckert kick)
D: Hooks 5 run (Deckert kick)
D: Rolle 28 run (Deckert kick)
Rushing: W-Muhammad Razzaq 4-18, Zan Chancey 4-0, Jymir Holmes 5-(-2), Noah Austin 2-(-2), DaShaun Brown 1-(-2). D-Rob Hooks 23-153, Isaiah Spencer 12-112, Rob Rolle 8-50, Brendon Slade 4-24, Dylan Landi 3-19, Austin Jones 1-11, Jarrod Brovero 1-4.
Passing: W-Noah Austin 1-13-0, 13 yards, Jymir Holmes 1-4-1, 4 yards. D-Rob Rolle 1-3-1, 21 yards.
Receiving: W-Judlin Pierre 1-13, D’Lyndon Coleman 1-4. D-Brendon Slade 1-21.