WASHINGTON TWP. It’s been said that football is a game of opportunity and, to be successful, you have to take full advantage of such opportunities. That adage was proved to never be truer than what took place at West Morris Friday night.
The Wolfpack had two gigantic chances to score early against Delbarton, to get in the end zone and take control of their highly anticipated NJAC-National showdown.
Instead, West Morris fumbled going into the end zone on its first possession and threw an interception in the end zone on the second.
Failure to score on either of those chances came back to bite West Morris in a 26-0 loss to the Green Wave.
Senior running back Andrew Sanders simply dominated, galloping for 194 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving as Delbarton earned its first win in three games.
“When Andrew (Papantonis) went down (with a knee injury), I knew someone had to step up,” Sanders said. “I took it upon myself to be that guy. There was no way that we were going to lose this game. It was on our minds when we first stepped on the field Monday for practice. It’s what we thought about all week. We had to get back to do what we do best.”
In the early going, it was all Wolfpack.
West Morris (2-1) took the opening kickoff and marched right down the field, using its ball-fake offense to confuse the Green Wave. On the 12th play of the opening drive, Cooper Sloan hit a wide-open Mike Egan with a perfect sprint-out pass. Egan was set to go into the end zone when he fumbled out of the end zone, thwarting the scoring chance. The Wolfpack marched 79 yards, took almost seven minutes off the clock, and had nothing to show for it.
The Wolfpack had another opportunity in the first quarter. After Sloan intercepted a pass at the Delbarton 21-yard line, he threw a pick to Anthony Siragusa in the end zone.
The Green Wave marched 80 yards on nine plays after Siragusa’s interception, with Sanders taking the ball the final 39 yards for the score on the first play of the second quarter. They never looked back.
“It was a little discouraging,” West Morris head coach Kevin Hennelly said of the early mistakes. “It definitely deflates you a little, but those two turnovers didn’t decide the game. Their kid (Sanders) is a very good player.”
Delbarton capitalized on another West Morris turnover to get its second score. After Jonathan Catania picked off a Sloan pass, Sanders went back to work, collecting 43 yards on three carries, setting up Luca Tria’s direct snap run for a 13-yard touchdown, pushing the lead to 13-0 with 2:53 remaining in the half that remained that way into the break.
Sanders helped the Green Wave increase the lead to start the second half. He motored for 30 yards on two carries, then caught Matt Zebrowski’s screen pass and took it 22 yards for his second score of the game and a commanding 20-0 lead with 8:46 left in the third quarter.
Tria added his second score of the game, once again out of the Wildcat formation, taking the snap and punching it in from the 4-yard line with 7:47 remaining, pushing the lead to 26-0.
“We just had to get back to basics and play Delbarton football,” Bowers said. “This feels really good. The resiliency that we showed was tremendous. We just had to get back to play the way we can.”
West Morris 0-0-0-0-0
D-Andrew Sanders 39 run (Carter Massengill kick)
D-Luca Tria 13 run (kick blocked)
D-Andrew Sanders 22 pass from Matt Zebrowski (Massengill kick)
D-Tria 4 run (kick failed)