The Holy Spirit High School football team can avenge one of the toughest losses in the program’s history Friday.
The second-seeded Spartans (8-1) will host third-seeded Mater Dei (7-1) in a state Non-Public II semifinal at 7 p.m. in Absecon.
Mater Dei beat Holy Spirit 26-20 in last year’s title game at Kean University. The Seraphs scored the winning touchdown on a 50-yard, hook-and-lateral play with six seconds left. Mater Dei celebrated while many of the stunned Spartans collapased to the ground in disbelief.
This season Spirit has won seven straight and is No. 4 in The Press Elite 11 ranking. Quarterback Josh Zamot sparks the Spartans’ offense. He has thrown for 1,096 yards and 15 touchdowns and run for 699 yards and 11 touchdowns. Defensive lineman Owen Kramer leads the Spirit defense with 17 tackles for losses.
It has been a controversial season for Mater Dei. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association put the Seraphs on probation for using ineligible players in a Sept. 30 scrimmage against a team from Canada. As part of that probation, head coach Dino Mangiero is not allowed to coach during games.
Despite those troubles, Mater Dei has been impressive with its only loss a 28-26 defeat to Delbarton on Oct. 28. Sophomore running back Malik Ingram ran for four touchdowns in last week’s 42-22 quarterfinal win over Holy Cross. Seraphs quarterback George Pearson is one of the state’s best at that position. Pearson threw for 179 yards and ran for 123 yards against Holy Cross.