GLASSBORO - David Williams walked among his Hammonton High School teammates as they huddled up following the South Jersey Group III football championship game Saturday.
The junior offered positive words. He put an arm around the shoulder of fellow running back Russ Forchion. He walked up to another teammate and gave him a hug.
Even though the second-seeded Blue Devils lost 33-7 to top-seeded Timber Creek at Rowan University, Williams didn't let the moment bring him down.
"We made it here. Win or lose, we got here," Williams said. "I'd rather come to this game and lose than not be here at all. I told them to keep their heads up."
Hammonton, No. 7 in The Press Elite 11, was stopped by a dominating defensive performance from Timber Creek, No. 2 in the Elite 11. The Blue Devils had one drive on which they made anything happen - their first one.
Starting on Timber Creek's 44-yard line, Hammonton picked up chunks of yards on the ground. Williams eventually scored on a 10-yard run to give Hammonton a 7-0 lead five minutes into the game.
The lead lasted into the second quarter.
That's when the Chargers took control of the game.
Timber Creek scored touchdowns on all three of its possessions in the second quarter to jump out to a 20-7 halftime lead.
"We got a little false sense of security on that first drive," Hammonton coach Pete Lancetta said. "We had decent field position, but we just turned the ball over. It was tough to recapture the momentum that we had in the beginning."
When it seemed as though Hammonton was about to get back into the game, the Blue Devils turned the ball over. Hammonton had five turnovers - two fumbles and three interceptions. All three interceptions came in or near the end zone.
Down so many points in the second quarter, Hammonton abandoned the ground game. But Timber Creek's defense was ready for nearly everything the Blue Devils showed after Hammonton's first possession.
The Blue Devils finished with 57 rushing yards - 47 of which came on the touchdown drive - and 133 yards of offense.
Meanwhile, Timber Creek consistently moved the ball. Chargers quarterback Calvin Lowe was 9-for-12 for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 44 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Khalil Pierce added 111 yards on 13 carries.
"They were better than us," Lancetta said. "That was the best I have seen them offensively all year from all the film I have seen. That kid cranked it. You suck up a little bit to try and stop the run and then they throw it over the top of you."
During preseason camp in August, Lancetta wasn't sure what he would have with his young team. The Blue Devils lost several key players from last year's team that went 7-4.
Lancetta knew the team was talented at the skill positions, but he wasn't sure if it would translate to wins. A conference title and an S.J. Group III championship game berth seemed to be more than he expected.
"You can't let this tarnish what they did this year," Lancetta said. "They were a very good football team that we lost to. We didn't lose to a slouch, that's for sure."
Forchion, a senior transfer from Overbrook in Camden County, seemed to take the loss particularly hard. The speedster had a tough game, but he played well on offense and defense all season for the Blue Devils.
Even though he only played one season with Hammonton, Forchion said this is still one of the best teamson which he's ever played.
"We are a big family," Forchion said. "We were all best of friends on the field. It was a pleasure. These are all my best friends, man. It was a pleasure."
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Hammonton 7 0 0 0-7
Timber Creek 0 20 6 7-33
H-Williams 10 run (Padovani kick)
TC-Drennon 5 pass from Lowe
TC-Lowe 9 run (Casey kick)
TC-Shade 61 pass from Lowe (Casey kick)
TC-Shade 8 run (kick failed)
TC-K. Potter 2 run (Casey kick)
Team statistics H TC
First downs 7 10
Rushing 28-57 43-208
Passing 7-85 10-178
Turnovers 5 0
RUSHING-Hammonton, Brown 6-21, Da. Williams 12-32, Forchion 7-11, Do. Williams 1-(-)6, Rosu 1-2, Mortellite 1-(-)3. Timber Creek, Lowe 13-44, Pierce 13-111, K. Potter 8-33, Shade 4-7, S. Potter 1-2, Church 4-11 TC.
PASSING-Hammonton, Mortellite 7-13-85-0. Timber Creek, Lowe 9-12-173-2, Shade 1-1-5-0.
RECEIVING-Hammonton, Forchion 2-33, Da. Williams 3-6, Barbieri 3 2-37. Timber Creek, Casey 3-88, K. Potter 2-16, Shade 2-65, Drennon 1-5, Church 2-4.
Records-Timber Creek 12-0, Hammonton 9-3.