HAMMONTON — The Hammonton High School football team felt a lot better Friday night than it did two weeks ago.
Quarterback Jonathan Triboletti threw three touchdown passes as the Blue Devils beat Egg Harbor Township 41-0 in a Cape-Atlantic League American Conference game. Hammonton (2-1) has won two straight after losing its season opener to Holy Spirit 30-0 on Sept. 13.
“That loss crushed us,” Triboletti said. “But we knew we had to work hard and come back. We’re feeling good, but we have to keep everything in perspective.”
Friday’s game marked a crossroads for Hammonton and EHT. Both teams split their first two games. The winner would get a boost toward the playoffs.
Hammonton dominated from the start. The Blue Devils scored on their first three possessions to build a 20-0 lead with a little more than two minutes left in the first quarter.
Triboletti, a junior, showed an accurate throwing arm, completing 6-of-11 passes for 95 yards. Hammonton receivers dropped a couple of potential catches.
“My line did a great job of blocking, and that really gave me time to focus in on my receivers,” Triboletti said.
Triboletti threw two touchdown passes to Alex Padovani (four catches for 57 yards) and one to Dylan Mento.
Triboletti epitomizes Hammonton’s revival in the past two games. He made his first varsity start against Spirit and struggled at times.
“He’s very resilient,” Hammonton coach Pete Lancetta said. “He lets things roll off him. He got better (last week in a 41-13 win over Oakcrest), and I thought he got better (Friday).”
Triboletti was supposed to be the junior-varsity quarterback last season, but he missed the entire year with a hip injury.
“I’m a lot more comfortable now than against Spirit,” he said. “I have trust in my line. They’re all seniors. I’m feeling more confident with better weeks of practice.”
The Hammonton defense was as dominant as the Blue Devils’ offense Friday. EHT (1-2) finished the first half with just 1 rushing yard.
Hammonton defensive back Ben Bevan made two tackles for losses and returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Blue Devils defensive linemen Brandon Beebe and Brando Alfonso seemed to be a constant presence in the EHT backfield. Alfonso also recovered a fumble.
“We were hitting,” Bevan said when asked why the Hammonton defense was so stingy. “That’s the best we’ve hit all year. We were just enthusiastic.”
Hammonton, a perennial power, wasn’t used to opening with such a lopsided defeat even though Spirit has won three state titles and is ranked No. 1 in The Press Elite 11.
Lancetta said Blue Devils responded to the defeat by getting more intense at practice.
“We’re not used to (losing),” Lancetta said. “You don’t know how they’re going to react, and they’ve reacted well. It hasn’t been pretty in practice. We’ve been getting after them. We said, ‘We have to hit. We have to get some live work,’ and that’s what we’ve been doing.”
Hammonton isn’t satisfied with a 2-1 record. The Blue Devils play at undefeated Bridgeton (3-0) in a highly anticipated contest Friday.
“We did our best,” Bevan said, “but we’re going to watch film, and we can get better.”
Contact Michael McGarry:
Contact Michael McGarry:
Egg Harbor Township 0 0 0 0 – 0
Hammonton 20 7 7 7 – 41
HAM - Mento 30 pass from Triboletti (Padovani kick)
HAM - Rosu 8 run (kick missed)
HAM - Padovani 6 pass from Triboletti (Padovani kick)
HAM - Bevan 22 int return (Padovani kick)
HAM - Padovani 30 pass from Triboletti (Padovani kick)
HAM - Rivera 49 run (Padovani kick)
RECORDS-EHT 1-2; Hammonton 2-1