BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - If you were in the stands and happened to miss something during the St. Joseph High School-Buena Regional game, there's a good chance it would have been Gordon Hill making a play.
The St. Joseph junior running back/safety did it all Friday, offensively and defensively, leading the Wildcats to a 47-7 Cape-Atlantic League National Conference win.
The win gives the Wildcats (6-2) the top seed in the state Non-Public II tournament.
Hill finished with 108 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, and had several impact plays on defense.
"He's a great athlete," St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said of Hill. "He's been kind of low-key in a lot of the games this year. He's been very consistent and we've been telling him, 'You need to have a breakout game.' Tonight's game had to be it."
Hill was at his best at one stretch early in the second quarter.
He burst into the backfield to sack Buena quarterback Donetae McKinnon for an 11-yard loss.
"After the sack I just got a lot of energy," Hill said.
Hill intercepted McKinnon on the next play.
On the ensuing St. Joseph drive, Hill caught a pass for 12 yards and had a 7-yard yard run to set up his 5-yard touchdown run.
"The line did a good job with the blocking up front," Hill said. "As a back, I know that if the line is blocking well, I do well. So I thank them for my success."
Kaheem Reynolds also eclipsed the century mark with 111 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns. Sean Clark added 37 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns of his own.
That balance will be needed for St. Joseph to be successful in the playoffs.
After a New Jersey-record eight straight state playoff championships, the Wildcats have missed the finals each of the last two years with semifinal losses each coming in the final five seconds of the game.
"Nobody can key on one person," Hill said of St. Joseph's array of playmakers. "It's definitely a benefit for our team. Sean can hit (a big run) one time, I can hit one or Kaheem can hit one so teams know that we can switch it up."
The Chiefs (4-4) scored first Friday.
McKinnon's 72-yard run on third-and-long set up his 5-yard touchdown.
But it was all St. Joseph from there.
"We told our kids that championship teams win in November," Sacco said. "That's when you have to be at your best, and we've always been successful with that.
McKinnon finished with 107 yards on 15 carries. Buena's Michael Haygood carried eight times for 49 yards.
St. Joseph quarterback Darryl Smith threw for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
Contact John O'Kane:
St. Joseph 7 19 14 7-47
Buena Regional 7 0 0 0-7
BR-McKinnon 5 run (Brown kick)
SJ-Clark 1 run (Bockarie kick)
SJ-Lewis 5 pass by Smith (kick failed)
SJ-Hill 5 run (conversion failed)
SJ-Reed 42 pass by Smith (kick failed)
SJ-Reynolds 30 run (Bockarie kick)
SJ-Clark 3 run (Bockarie kick)
SJ-Reynolds 35 run (Bockarie kick)
TEAM STATS SJ BR
Rushing 259 155
Passing 87 8
First downs 15 6
Turnovers 0 4
Penalties 6-47 4-30
Rushing-Reynolds 10-111, Hill 9-108, Clark 13-37, Pogue 2-5, Brown 1-2, Bianchini 1-0, Smith 4-(-4) SJ; McKinnon 15-107, Haygood 8-49, T. Brown 6-8, Norton 2-1, S. Brown 2-0, Rice 4-(-3), Garland 1-(-7) BR.
Passing-Smith 6-10-87-0 SJ; McKinnon 2-6-8-1, Rice 0-3-0-1 BR;
Receiving-Reed 1-42, Lewis 2-27, Hill 1-12, Kelly 1-9, Paulhill 1-(-3) SJ; Hillgrube 1-8, Haygood 1-0 BR.
Records-St. Joseph 6-2; Buena 4-4.