CINNAMINSON The rain and lightning struck early, delaying Friday’s night game between the Cinnaminson and Holy Cross high school football teams.
The Lancers, however, waited to strike late in the West Jersey Football League Liberty Division matchup.
Down three touchdowns at the half, Holy Cross edged Cinnaminson 34-33, handing the Pirates their first loss of the season.
“I didn’t yell at the half,” Holy Cross coach Frank Holmes said. “I said we had to execute in the second half and we would be fine.”
Holy Cross sophomore quarterback Jeff Undercuffler heard his coach and executed like a seasoned veteran in the second half, throwing all three of his touchdown passes.
“Coach always preaches to have heart and that’s what we did,” the 6-foot-5 Undercuffler said.
He completed 8-of-18 passes for 172 yards without an interception on the slick field.
“Thankfully, I have great receivers,” he said.
Matt Correnti, Rob Rodolico and Jordan Baxter all caught touchdown passes during a 5:42 span at the end of the third quarter into the fourth.
Junior running back C.J. DeGeorge added a pair of TD runs, including the game-winner from 5 yards out with 1:53 left in regulation.
“We never stopped fighting,” DeGeorge said.
The Lancers improved to 3-2 with their second straight win. Their comeback was even more impressive considering the Pirates had outscored their opponents 103-25, which included a pair of shutouts.
“This sets us up for what’s to come,” said Holy Cross two-way senior lineman Brendan Wille.
Cinnaminson dropped to 4-1 despite a superb effort by quarterback Shaun Davilla, who ran for two touchdowns and threw for three scores, including two to Devon Taylor of 58 and 59 yards.
Holy Cross battled back from a 21-0 halftime deficit to take its first lead early in the fourth quarter when Baxter caught a 34-yard pass from Undercuffler. Troy Longley kick the extra point for a 28-27 lead.
Cinnaminson, however, regained the lead on Davilla’s 10-yard run. The conversion run failed as Pirates settled for 33-28 lead midway through fourth quarter.
Holy Cross took the lead back for good at 34-33 on DeGeorge’s 5-yard run. On the drive, the Lancers converted a fake punt when Matt Correnti ran three yards for the first down. Correnti, however, was injured on the play and did not return.
“We beat a good team and another team in the division,” DeGeorge said. “We’re still in the race.”
The rain delay didn’t stop Cinnaminson from taking the opening drive 60 yards on eight plays, capped by Davilla’s 10-yard run and Tyler Simcoe added the kick for a 7-0 lead.
Late in the second quarter, Taylor caught pass on line of scrimmage from Davilla, made a defender miss and went 58 yards for touchdown for a 13-0 lead.
Cinnaminson struck again before halftime when Kevin Schoch caught a 16-yard pass from Davilla. CJ Berroa scored on the conversion pass from Davilla for a 21-0 lead.
Davilla was 11-for-15 passing for 186 yards and ran for 28 yards on eight carries in the first half.
“They completed their passes in the first half and we didn’t,” Holmes said.
Holy Cross got on the board on its first possession of the second half when DeGeorge scored on 3-yard run and Longley added the PAT to cut the deficit to 21-7.
Cinnaminson answered when Taylor caught a 58-yard pass from Davilla for a 27-7 lead.
Holy Cross scored on Correnti’s 19-yard reception from Undercuffler and Longley kicked the extra point to cut Pirates lead to 27-14
Then, Correnti intercepted a pass on the Cinnaminson 20 and returned nine yards. Three plays later, Holy Cross scored on Rodolico 9-yard pass from Undercuffler. Longley kicked the extra point to pull the Lancers at 27-21.
“I just stuck with it,” Undercuffler said.
Kevin Callahan; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org
Holy Cross 34, Cinnaminson 33
•Player of the game: Holy Cross sophomore quarterback Jeff Undercuffler threw three touchdowns – all in the second half – to lead a 21-point comeback.
•Play of the game: On the game-winning drive, Matt Correnti ran three yards off a fake punt for the first down. Correnti, a state finalist wrestler at 195 pounds last year, was injured on the play and did not return.
•Well said: “I’m very concerned. I hope he is OK.” – Holy Cross coach Frank Holmes said about the leg injury to Correnti.