Poulter leads Wildcats to win

Poulter leads Wildcats to win

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Poulter leads Wildcats to win

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DENVILLE

One defender… Two… Three… Four… Just how many guys does it take to tackle Whippany Park’s Mike Poulter?

Morris Catholic couldn’t come up with the answer on two occasions on Saturday.

The 6-foot, 222-pound bulldozer scored two critical touchdowns that keyed the Wildcats’ 35-29 victory in an Independence Division matchup.

“Chug the feet, that’s how I do it,” Poulter said proudly afterward. “I’m not stopping until I’m in the end zone.”

Both of his scores came in big situations. With two minutes and six seconds left in the second quarter – just three minutes after Morris Catholic took a 10-8 lead – Poulter (9-for-56 rushing) looked like a man playing with his young children in the backyard. He took a handoff up the middle and, despite appearing to be stopped by a swarm of Morris Catholic defenders, somehow continued moving forward until there was no one attached to him anymore.

The result: a stunning 23-yard touchdown run.

In the second half, Poulter helped the Wildcats pull away when he stepped in front of a Joe Rosenski pass and returned the interception 50 yards for another touchdown and a 28-17 lead.

Poulter ran the first 40 yards or so in the clear before several tacklers tried to bring him down near the goal line, to no avail. Poulter dragged several Crusaders into the end zone with him for good measure.

“He’s a tough runner, a tough kid and someone who plays with a lot of intensity,” Whippany Park coach Todd Callaghan said. “He just played a great game today.”

Whippany Park took advantage of several opportunities while posting its first win of the year. On the game’s first series, Morris Catholic went three-and-out and, on the ensuing punt near the Crusaders’ goal line, a poor snap got away from punter John Scalera, who couldn’t pick up the ball cleanly. The ball rolled into the end zone and Whippany Park’s Mateo Soto came up with it for a touchdown. Callaghan went for two and quarterback Dante Stefanelli easily ran into the end zone for an 8-0 lead.

The Crusaders took the lead on Diego Diaz’s 23-yard field goal and the first of two Steve Lahoe touchdown runs before Poulter’s first score.

Morris Catholic answered with a nicely run two-minute drill from its own 43 that ended with Shawn Davis (5-for-67) taking a pitch and going untouched up the right sideline for a 27-yard touchdown with just 43 seconds left in the first half.

But rather than trying to run out the first half clock, Whippany Park decided to get the six points back right away. Stefanelli (7-for-12, 103 yards) did just that, lofting a 61-yard touchdown pass to Nick Cetrulo.

Poulter’s interception return seemed to take some of the steam out of the Crusaders. After Poulter nailed Rosenski (16-for-112) for a 1-yard loss on a third-and-12, Whippany Park went to work behind Stefanelli and RB Dan Karovic (15-for-59), who ended the drive with an 8-yard touchdown.

Morris Catholic, now trailing 35-17, responded with a 40-yard touchdown from Lahoe (12-for-87) and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Rosenski to Wayne Patterson, but the deficit was too large to overcome.

“It was a good win for us,” Callaghan said. “We were physical when we had to be and we didn’t let some of our bad plays frustrate us.”

WP–Mateo Soto recovered fumble (Dante Stefanelli run).

MC–Diego Diaz 23 field goal.

MC–Steve Lahoe 5 run (Diaz kick).

WP–Mike Poulter 23 run (Nick Cetrulo kick).

MC–Shawn Davis 27 run (Diaz kick).

WP–Cetrulo 61 pass from Stefanelli (kick failed).

WP–Poulter 50 interception return (Cetrulo kick).

WP–Dan Karovic (8 run (Cetrulo kick).

MC–Lahoe 40 run (kick blocked).

MC–Wayne Patterson 15 pass from Joe Rosenski (kick blocked).

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