Pleasantville beats Lower Cape May 35-12 to end 35-game losing streak
PLEASANTVILLE - For the first time in four seasons, Pleasantville High School's football team celebrated a victory Friday night.
The Greyhounds snapped their 35-game losing streak - the longest in Cape-Atlantic League history - with a 35-12 victory over Lower Cape May Regional.
When time ran out, Pleasantville's fans gave the team a standing ovation while the players and coaches stormed onto the middle of the field and shared hugs and high-fives and the band yelled, "Who let the dogs out?"
The win was the Greyhounds' first since they beat Lower Cape May 42-28 on Nov. 7, 2009.
The Greyhounds (1-3) scored 27 unanswered points to earn the victory. Junior running back Kendelle Williams ran for two of the TDs, and senior wide receiver Zayd Smith also scored twice.
Junior linebacker Thomas Becker sparked the Greyhounds' defense with four sacks, including three in the first half.
Smith ended the scoring with a 41-yard catch and run with 2 minutes, 26 seconds left in regulation. The Greyhounds hurt themselves with penalties - they had two touchdowns nullified by penalties - but kept their composure when it counted.
Williams scored on a 6-yard run with 7:28 left in the first half. Sophomore place-kicker LaQuay Bishop converted the extra point to give Pleasantville a 7-6 lead.
The Greyhounds' big-play offense brought the fans to their feet late in the half when Smith turned a screen pass from junior quarterback Che'Quan Hargrose into a 91-yard touchdown with 24 seconds remaining. Smith, a 5-7, 160-pound speedster, broke three tackles while weaving his way across the field and then raced up the right sideline ahead of two defenders.
Williams, who rushed for 63 yards on eight carries, upped the lead to 20-6 in the third quarter by bursting through a huge hole provided by his offensive line and rumbling 33 yards for a touchdown.
Smith showed his versatility on a fourth-quarter drive, catching a 16-yard pass and then scoring on a 30-yard run to put the Greyhounds ahead 27-6 with 8:34 left. He caught four passes for 178 yards.
Lower Cape May (0-4) scored its first touchdown the first time it touched the ball.
The Caper Tigers stunned the crowd at Pleasantville immediately, when freshman Chris Rivera returned the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. Rivera, a 5-foot-10, 150-pound running back, raced up the middle of the field and then angled to the right sideline and outran two defenders to the end zone to give his team its first lead of the season, 6-0.
Rivera supplied most of Lower's offense, rushing for 73 yards on 17 carries and catching three passes for 43 yards.
Lower's offense had trouble moving the ball for most of the first half but used a solid running game to move to the Greyhounds' 7-yard line before defensive end Dimitri Ledger and defensive backs Hargrose and William Morgan combined to stop Rivera for a 2-yard loss on fourth down.
Sophomore Tony Prats' 65-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter set up John Campbell's 1-yard plunge with 5:00 left for the Caper Tigers.
Pleasantville coach David Dudley also was emotional afterward.
"I'm just so proud of the kids for hanging in there this whole time. I give them a lot of credit for not giving up. It's very hard to hang in there and stay focusd and not get down when you're going through something like that," he said. "Teams have been pushing us around for three years, but not anymore."
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