The Game At A Glance: Delbarton jumped out to a 16-0 lead, before Paramus Catholic came back to win, 36-23. The Paladins were sparked by Jabrill Peppers' three touchdowns.
First Half Highlights: Paramus Catholic was forced to punt on its first possession, but a bad snap went out of the end zone for a safety, giving Delbarton a 2-0 lead. On the ensuing possession, the Green Wave went 29 yards on nine plays before a 33 yard field goal attempt was wide left, leaving it at 2-0. After a PC punt, Delbarton went 56 yards on six plays, scoring when Michael Bicknese found tight end Will Reynolds over the middle for a 36 yards, to make it 9-0 with two minutes left in the quarter. The Green Wave was methodically moving the ball, with Jamie White carrying the ball nine times in the first two drives.
Paramus Catholic found itself with good field position when Delbarton got off a bad punt, giving the Paladins the ball at the Delbarton 29. Two penalties and a six yard loss made it third and 26 from the 45, when Brendan Huston intercepted and returned it 55 yards for a score and a 16-0 lead for the Green Wave. PC got on the board when Steve Shanley found Jabrill Peppers for a 51 yard score over the middle, faking out a defender and running in for the score, to make it 16-7 with 6:48 left in the half. With just under four minutes left, the Paladins had another opportunity, when Shanley found Tyrone Washington for passes of 31 and 22 yards on consecutive plays to the 18. Three plays later, Peppers broke through the middle for a 5 yard score, having his helmet ripped off in the process. With two minutes left, the Paladins narrowed the gap to 16-14.
Second Half Highlights: After a Delbarton punt, Paramus Catholic put together a nice drive, spearheaded by alternate quarterback Corey Gaarn. They made it as far as the 11, but the Delbarton defense stiffened, forcing a 29 yard field goal attempt that was no good, keeping Delbarton in front. Paramus forced Delbarton to punt on the following drive, with Peppers taking the punt on his own 43 and returning it 52 yards to the 5. On the following play, Keyon Washington took the handoff for the score, putting the Paladins in front for the first time. The two point conversion from Shanley to James Colacci was good and it was 22-16 with two minutes left in the quarter.
Early fourth quarter, Andrew McGrath intercepted for Delbarton on the 30 and returned it five yards to the 25, setting the Green Wave up in great field position and a chance to retake the lead. On the previous play, PC had an apparent touchdown of 80 yards from Shanley to Tyrone Washington called back on a penalty. Delbarton's chance was squandered when they turned it over on downs, with the last two plays having a pass sail through the receiver's hands that would have given them a first down. Two plays later, Peppers did it again, taking the pitch and racing 68 yards for the score. Peppers went right, towards the sideline, turning it upfield, and making some moves on defenders, before cutting left for the goal line. It was 29-16, with nine and a half minutes left. Delbarton wasn't ready to give up, going nine plays and scoring when Bicknese found Huston for the 10 yard score. 29-23, PC, with six minutes left. PC went down the field, as Peppers went 60 yards to the 12. They settled for a field goal attempt, but a Delbarton defender blocked it, giving them another chance with three minutes left. Their hopes ended when Saleem Brightwell intercepted for PC and went 37 yards for the score and put the game away with two minutes left.
Play Of The Game: An argument can be made for three or four Peppers plays, but I will go with the 68 yard score in the fourth quarter on the pitch, putting them up two scores and giving his team a little breathing room.
Game Balls: Peppers gets one because he made the plays and they wouldn't have won this game without him. He rushed for 152 yards on nine carries, had one reception for 51 yards, and one punt return for 52 yards. He is a threat to score from any point on the field. In addition to him, several PC players stood out. Their defensive front won the battle up front, giving Delbarton little running room. From my estimations, they held Delbarton to 40 yards rushing overall and minus 20 in the second half. Two who stood out were defensive end Khilyni Kennedy and inside linebacker Marquise Watson.
In a losing cause, tight end/linebacker Will Reynolds played a strong game on both sides of the ball, as did defensive lineman/tight end Brendan Huston.
Paramus Catholic Head Coach Chris Partridge - "I'm happy that we won and the fact we came back, but we were sloppy. We all have to improve and we have another tough team to play in DePaul. We were able to come back and I expected us to come back. I like the way we fought back, but we have to improve. We beat a good team today."
Paramus Catholic wide receiver/running back/defensive back Jabrill Peppers - "This game was very important in terms of the season. Nobody wants to start off 0-1. Coming back from a 16-0 deficit says a lot about our team. We're young, we'll get batter, and the sky is the limit. We have a lot of guys who can make plays. Every time I get the ball, I think touchdown, but I have our linemen and receivers to thank with the blocking they do."