FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP - The Bridgeton High School football team's lack of experience caught up to them Friday night.
The Bulldogs played well at times, but made too many mistakes in crucial situations during a 46-0 loss to Delsea Regional in a South Jersey Group III semifinal.
Delsea (10-1), the No. 6 team in The Press Elite 11, will play the winner of today's Burlington Township-Northern Burlington game for the sectional title next weekend at Rowan University. The Crusaders will be seeking their 10th South Jersey crown.
Bridgeton (6-5), a team loaded with underclassmen, moved the ball well, but committed four turnovers, including two that resulted in Delsea touchdowns.
"This is going to hurt the kids and it should," Bridgeton coach Dave Ellen said. "But we can definitely count this as a learning experience. This team has talent and they care, which is very important. They are going to succeed down the line if they just keep at it."
The Bulldogs had just 23 players in uniform to Delsea's 51, but hung tough in the early going. Delsea led just 7-0 after the first quarter and Bridgeton looked ready to score when it moved to Delsea's 6-yard line.
Then came the first of the crucial errors. Delsea's Stephan Lewis ruined the Bulldogs' drive with an interception. Delsea junior running back Rob Hooks dashed up the left sideline for 73 yards, then scored two plays later to give Delsea a 13-0 lead.
"We knew Bridgeton had a young team and we couldn't afford to let them hang around too long," said Hooks, who rushed for 165 yards on 16 carries. "We knew we could beat them once we finally got going."
Cousins Brian and Dylan Dobzanski scored defensive touchdowns for Delsea to turn the game into a rout.
Brian Dobzanski, a junior safety, picked off a pass on the final play of the second quarter and sprinted down the right sideline for a 62-yard touchdown that put the Crusaders ahead 27-0.
Senior linebacker Dylan Dobzanski scooped up a fumble after a sack by defensive end Phil Sampson and rumbled 52 yards to the end zone in the third quarter.
"That's my first interception ever because I never played football until this year," Brian Dobzanski said. "I decided to come out for the team this year because I'm a junior and I didn't want to look back on my high school years with any regrets. I thought football was something I could be great at, so I wanted to give it a shot."
Delsea just wore down Bridgeton in the second half. Hooks and senior running back Tyrone Saud took turns plunging into the Bulldogs' defense behind a big offensive line.
Saud scored the second of his two touchdowns in the third quarter. Freshman Chris Bascomb closed the scoring with a 7-yard run in the fourth after Delsea had pulled all of its starters.
Sophomore running back Stefon Bowman led Bridgeton's offense with 58 yards rushing on 18 carries. Junior quarterback/safety Ronald Williams registered 12 tackles on defense.
"Those mistakes we made on offense were huge, especially the one near the end zone," Williams said. "If we had scored there, we may have been able to change the momentum.
"At least we learned something about ourselves. Some people are quitters, but we're not. We just have to learn to play like a team instead of playing for ourselves sometimes. It's not going to be easy, but if we can do that, we're going to be good."
Contact David Weinberg:
Bridgeton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Delsea 7 20 13 6 - 46
D-Saud 12 run. (Deckert kick)
D-Hooks 4 run. (Kick failed)
D-Russell 20 pass from Awotunde. (Deckert kick)
D-B. Dobzanski 62 interception return. (Deckert kick)
D-Saud 1 run. (Pass failed)
D-D Dobzanski 52 fumble return. (Deckert kick)
D-Bascomb 7 run. (Run failed)
First Downs-B 10, D 16
Rushing Yards-B 112, D 307
Passing Yards-B 14, D 20
Turnovers-B 4, D 0
Rushing-Bowman 18-58, Bonner 7-35, Miller 6-14, Sulton 2-10, R. Williams 7-(-5) B; Hooks 16-165, Saud 9-72, Landi 5-39, Bascomb 3-13, Awotunde 7-12 D.
Passing-R. Williams 2-7-14, N. Williams 0-1-0, Miller 0-1-0 B; Awotunde 1-1-20 D.
Receiving-N. Williams 1-12, Bowman 1-2 B; Russell 1-20 D
RECORDS-Bridgeton 6-5; Delsea 10-1