GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP - You wouldn't serve turkey without stuffing on Thanksgiving.
It just wouldn't seem right.
Well, at Absegami, that's just about the same way coach Dennis Scuderi Jr. feels about standout running backs David Hood and Ben Martin.
It's no secret that Scuderi's goal going into each game is to find a way to give opposing teams a heavy helping of both backs.
That's just what the Braves did Thursday.
Hood and Martin each scored a touchdown and Hood joined Martin in the 1,000-yard club for the season as the Braves beat Oakcrest 14-6 on Thanksgiving Day.
Absegami now leads the area's only intradistrict rivalry 18-16.
"They're our workhorses," Scuderi said. "It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. We ride their backs and the nicest part about them both is the unselfishness. They're both team players and they're both great kids."
Absegami clung to a 7-6 lead late in the fourth quarter inside Oakcrest territory.
On third-and-five with two minutes left, Martin followed Hood off the right side, bouncing off a several would-be tacklers in the process, and picked up 6 yards and the biggest first down of the game.
On the very next play, Martin broke through the center of the line for a 24-yard touchdown.
Martin was the first to admit after the game that the holes he ran through on the final drive may not have been so big if not for Hood pounding the ball inside throughout the game.
"Basically, he wears them down and then I do my thing," Martin said. "One guy runs a certain style and the other guy runs a certain style so it's hard to stop the two of us."
Hood is also the lead blocker on most of Martin's carries.
"We're real tight off the field," Hood said. "On the field, I mostly block for him, and if I make a block for him it just hypes me up when I'm running the ball."
Forget thunder and lightning.
"He's fast, and I'm the power," Hood said with a smile.
Martin eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark earlier this year. Hood came into Thursday's game needing 67 yards to break 1,000.
Midway through the third, Hood passed the mark with a 5-yard run. As Absegami public address announcer Charles Breitzman - one of the most animated announcers in the Cape-Atlantic League - let the crowd know just what Hood had accomplished, fans could see the smile on Hood's face through his facemask.
"I got an adrenaline rush after that," Hood said. "It got me real hyped up inside. I felt like I accomplished something and with the both of us rushing for more than 1,000 yards, that's even better."
Oakcrest took an early lead as Villanova-bound senior Craig James threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Michael Smith.
But the Falcons missed the extra point.
Hood gave the Braves the lead with an 11-yard touchdown run with less than a minute left in the first half.
"They're a very good football team," Scuderi said of Oakcrest. "We knew we were going to be in a dogfight. You have to give coach (Scott) Parker and his staff credit. I thought they had an excellent game plan, and I thought their kids really played hard and inspired. I just thought it was a well-played football game on both sides."
Martin ran for 75 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries. Hood ran for 94 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries.
James led the Falcons with 77 yards rushing on 16 carries and completed four passes for 59 yards.
Tom Macauley and Matt McGinnis each had an interception for the Braves.
Absegami and Oakcrest are each members of the Greater Egg Harbor Regional School district.
Contact John O'Kane:
Oakcrest 6 0 0 0-6
Absegami 0 7 0 7-14
O-Smith 23 pass by James (kick failed)
A-Hood 11 run (Macauley kick)
A-Martin 24 run (Macauley kick)
Rushing 109 175
Passing 73 -1
First downs 9 9
Turnovers 2 0
Penalties 8-38 5-42
Rushing-James 16-77, Brown 6-14, Smith 3-10, Hart 2-6, Bell 1-6, Adkisson 1-0, Fursin 1-(-4) O; Hood 21-94, Martin 18-75, Ross 1-6 A.
Passing-James 4-13-59-2, Perna 2-2-14-0 O; Ross 1-3-(-1)-0 A.
Receiving-Smith 2-32, Hart 1-26, McMunn 1-8, Jiacopello 1-5, Bell 1-2 O; Martin 1-(-1) A.
Records-Oakcrest 5-5, Absegami 6-4.