EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - No opposing team figures to key on any Egg Harbor Township High School running back this year. The Eagles feature at least four, when you count quarterback Adam Bynum.
Egg Harbor Township spread the ball around Friday afternoon against Oakcrest, and fittingly, Bynum, running backs Dante Moore and Darius Ellis and fullback Juwan Moore each scored in a 27-13 EHT victory.
The Eagles totaled 328 yards rushing between those four and ran almost exclusively. The Eagles' ground game was able to run down the clock on Oakcrest and score a final TD with 3 minutes, 7 seconds left. On the previous drive, Oakcrest drove to the EHT 10 line but failed to score the tying touchdown.
"First of all, it all starts up front," Egg Harbor Township coach Tony DeRosa said. "The line blocked well. They did a great job moving people. Ellis had some tough runs, and he runs with a chip on his shoulder. All our running backs block well too. We have a saying, 'No block, no rock.' "
The Eagles looked like they'd dominate the game at first as they marched 76 yards in nine plays to score on the opening drive of the game. Dante Moore, a sophomore and no relation to Juwan, ran five yards around right end for the first touchdown.
Oakcrest went three-and-out, and Egg Harbor Township went 52 yards to score on its next possession. On the ninth play of the drive, Juwan Moore bulled into the line from 1 yard out and just got over the goal line. The extra-point kick was low and no good, and EHT was up 13-0.
The next two touchdowns were by Oakcrest, which tied the score at 13-13 in the second quarter. Sophomore Falcons running back Terrence Smith scored on runs of 5 and 13 yards. The first extra-point was no good, and the score was tied with 7:21 left before intermission.
"It was the same thing as last year, we'd start fast and then have a letdown," DeRosa said.
Smith totaled 125 yards on 17 carries. Falcons freshman quarterback Kendall Elliott completed 6-of-15 passes for 51 yards.
"Egg Harbor Township came out ready, and we could have folded when they went up 13-0," Oakcrest coach Chuck Smith said. "But our kids are fighters. We were 1-9 last year, so we were down a lot, but they kept fighting. We have a freshman quarterback who's very coachable. He threw the ball well and has a good future.
"At this time of the year it comes down to who makes the least mistakes, and EHT didn't make as many as us."
Bynum pulled off the biggest play of the game when EHT got the ball back. The senior pulled a keeper play and dashed around left end 39 yards for the winning touchdown. Billy Tizol's PAT made it 20-13 and the Eagles were up for good.
"I was a little nervous at first," Bynum, 18, said. "It was only my second start at quarterback, and it was the first time I ever played cornerback. It was a little nerve-wracking but after some hits I warmed up to it."
Bynum had nine carries for 81 yards. He had little success throwing the ball, completing 1-of-6 passes for 9 yards. DeRosa didn't seem concerned.
"Bynum showed a lot of poise in a tough situation," DeRosa said. "He broke the long one. I was very conservative. We held a lot of things back in the passing game. We overcame adversity. We're a young team, and our seniors don't all have a lot of experience. We're a work in progress."
Ellis had the most impressive numbers with 12 carries for 106 yards. He scored the final TD on a 31-yard run with 3:07 remaining. He ran into traffic running left, but cut back and went all the way for the score.
"The line was blocking great and we had a great running game today, amazing," Ellis, 18, said. "Everybody gets the opportunity to make it count."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Oakcrest 0 13 0 0—13
Egg Harbor Township 13 7 0 7—27
EHT—D. Moore 5 run (Tizol kick)
EHT—J. Moore 1 run (kick failed)
O—T. Smith 5 run (kick failed)
O—T. Smith 13 run (Hess kick)
EHT—Bynum 39 run (Tizol kick)
EHT—Ellis 31 run (Tizol kick)
TEAM STATS O EHT
First downs 8 15
Rushing 114 328
Passing 51 9
Turnovers 2 1
Rushing—O—K. Elliott 6--11, T. Smith 17-125. EHT—Ellis 12-106, D. Moore 21-89, J. Moore 12-52, Bynum 11-81.
Passing—O—K. Elliott 6-15-1-51. EHT—1-6-0-9.
Receiving—O—L. Elliott 4-28, Tunstall 1-18, Roberson 1-5. E—Whitted 1-9.
Records—Oakcrest 0-1, EHT 1-0.