It took a bit longer than expected, but the Pitman High School football team finally got to experience what winning is all about.
Playing their final home game on Senior Night, the Panthers edged Riverside 21-18 in a West Jersey Football League interdivision matchup. It was also the first victory for first-year coach Chris Thomas, a 2003 Pitman graduate.
“We tried not to think about it too much,” Thomas said. “You always hope it comes a little sooner, but we’ll take a win any time.
“The kids were thrilled. It was a big night for us. The last time they won a game was Senior Night last year, so it was real important to get these guys a victory. You kind of wonder at what point do these kids start to lose confidence in themselves, but fortunately they were able to get it done.”
Freshman quarterback Nick Kargman threw three touchdown passes, hitting junior Phil Iannella on a 30-yard TD strike and connecting with junior Goanio Chavarria on scoring plays of 26 and 5 yards.
“We have really tried to drill it home that there’s a process to what we’re doing,” Thomas added. “The culture in Pitman was easy to overhaul. We talk every day about how things in football also translate to life outside the game – accountability, sacrifice …”
Pitman (1-6) travels to Wildwood this week before playing at Clayton on Thanksgiving in one of South Jersey’s longest rivalries.
Minutemen are back: With its decisive 37-8 victory over Pennsauken, Washington Township secured a berth in the South Jersey Group 5 playoffs. The Minutemen didn’t qualify last season.
Junior quarterback Mike Piperno completed 9-of-16 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. Mike McKeever led the ground attack, rushing for 165 yards and two TDs on 21 carries. Dillion Headley added 109 yards and a score.
“We all feel pretty good,” coach Mark Wechter said. “Coming out of the first four games, if we were at least 2-2 we figured we’d have a good shot at getting in. There’s a lot of parity in South Jersey Group 5. Everybody is good and anybody can beat anybody. I don’t know if there’s that one team that’s a real lock.
“We’re excited. We feel we’re getting better every week and we have a lot of guys contributing. Our run game is coming together and we’ll continue to build on it.”
Multiple threat: Camden Catholic stayed unbeaten with a 43-0 victory over Delran. In the decisive win, senior Jamal Parker scored on runs of 30 and 35 yards, while also collecting a 49-yard TD pass.
Parker is one of South Jersey’s top scoring threats. He now has four receiving touchdowns and three rushing scores to go along with a punt return and kickoff return for TDs.
Where you been?: Michael Cubbage is in his first and last season for Winslow Township. Known more as a basketball player, he decided to come out for the team in his senior year and has had some memorable moments.
In a 28-0 win over Cumberland, Cubbage had his best offensive game of the season. He pulled in touchdown passes of 31 and 7 yards from Tyrae Taylor before adding an 80-yard kickoff return for a score to open the second half.
Getting his kicks: Cade Antonucci is certainly making the most of his kicking opportunities for Holy Spirit.
The junior leads South Jersey with eight field goals after booting a pair of 38-yarders in a win over Lower Cape May. His previous season-long was 36 yards.
Rob Juliano, a 1991 Lenape graduate, holds the single-season record with 14. The Cape-Atlantic League record is nine, set by Jim Cooper of Mainland in 2010. Jarry Jones of Lenape led South Jersey last season with 10.
Five and counting: With one weekend left before Saturday’s cutoff date for the playoffs, five teams remain unbeaten.
St. Augustine is 8-0 and will now await its fate, while Camden Catholic, Pemberton, West Deptford and Salem are all sitting pretty at 7-0.
Kevin Minnick; (856) 486-2424; email@example.com
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