HAMMONTON - Quarterback Jon Kopistecki of the Egg Harbor Township High School football team noticed late in the first half that wide receiver Kevin Marquez looked bigger and faster than the Hammonton secondary Saturday afternoon.
Kopistecki decided to throw the ball to the 6-foot-1, 226-pound Marquez as frequently as possible.
It wasn't as if anything else was working.
EHT, sparked by Marquez, rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Hammonton 24-13 in a Cape-Atlantic League interdivision game. Marquez caught five passes for 136 yards and a touchdown.
"If I get the ball in my hands, I'm a playmaker," Marquez said. "I had to make the plays to change the game around."
Both EHT and Hammonton are South Jersey playoff contenders. EHT (4-1) has won four straight. Hammonton (3-1) is No. 7 in The Press Elite 11.
One catch by Marquez turned momentum in EHT's favor.
The Eagles trailed 13-0 late in the first half and had fourth-and-9 at the Hammonton 36-yard line.
Kopistecki (10-of-15 for 190 yards and two touchdowns) found Marquez open down the right sideline for a 32-yard gain.
"Kevin is my No. 1 receiver," Kopistecki said. "We were in a bad situation, so I was going to my No. 1 guy."
One play later, Kopistecki threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Doug Bolden with 8.9 seconds left before halftime.
"That touchdown gave us momentum," Kopistecki said. "We weren't going into the locker room with our heads down, saying we were shut out."
EHT took the lead for good on the last play of the third quarter.
Kopistecki completed an out pattern to Marquez, who then weaved his way through a number of Hammonton defenders to run untouched for 68-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead.
"Hammonton runs to the ball," Marquez said. "I took it to the outside. It was me (and one defender). I had to outrun him, and I did."
EHT wore Hammonton down in the fourth quarter.
Shawn Dansby sparked the Eagles' defense with two fourth-quarter sacks, one of which forced a fumble.
Running back Stephan Thomas left the game in the first quarter with an ankle injury. But he returned in the fourth quarter and rushed eight times for 40 yards and a touchdown.
"I felt like my team needed me," Thomas said. "I couldn't keep watching, so I had to suck it up."
Hammonton played without defensive back and tight end Connor Conway, who was out with an elbow infection, according to Blue Devils coach Pete Lancetta.
Hammonton dominated early. The Blue Devils had success using running back Jared Sanchez (21 carries for 95 yards) at quarterback. Hammonton scored on its first two possessions. Sanchez threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jason Crowder for the second score.
Hammonton nearly led by three touchdowns, but a holding penalty negated a 17-yard Sanchez touchdown run in the second quarter.
"That was a killer," Lancetta said. "We could have gone in at halftime up 20-0. Instead it was 13-7. But they did a nice job in the second half. They controlled the ball in the second half."
EHT has been overlooked since its season-opening 17-13 loss to Absegami. Saturday's win establishes the Eagles as a South Jersey Group IV playoff contender.
Contact Michael McGarry:
Egg Harbor Township 0 7 7 10-24
Hammonton 13 0 0 0-13
H-Alexander 5 run (kick missed)
H-Crowder 51 pass from Sanchez (Sandovalk kick)
EHT-Bolden 9 pass from Kopistecki (Mason kick)
EHT-Marquez 68 pass from Kopistecki (Mason kick)
EHT-Mason 34 field goal
EHT-Thomas 5 run (Mason kick)
TEAM STATS EHT H
First Downs 14 7
Rushing 142 154
Passing 190 73
Turnovers 1 1
Rushing-EHT, Thomas 9035, Moody 9-71; Hammonton, Alexander 10-48, Sanchez 21-95.
Passing-EHT, Kopistecki 10-15-1-190; Hammonton, Sanchez 1-1-0-51, D'Amelio 1-2-0-22.
Receiving-EHT, Marquez 5-136, Moody 2-36, Bolden 2-14; Hammonton, Crowder 1-51, Barbieri 1-22.
Records-EHT 4-1, Hammonton 3-1.