ABSECON - Holy Spirit High School football running backs Donta Pollock and Nigel Jones ran around and through the Montclair Kimberley Academy defense on Friday, and now the two Spartans will be forever linked.
Holy Spirit, the 11th-ranked team in The Press Elite 11, pounded Montclair Kimberley 62-13 in a state Non-Public II semifinal game.
A few minutes into the contest it was obvious the visiting Cougars had no answer for Holy Spirit's senior running tandem, and many in the crowd began to focus on the milestone the two close friends would reach before the end of the first quarter.
Jones ran for a 7-yard touchdown with 2 minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter and reached the 4,000-yards mark in career rushing. That, according to South Jersey football historian Chuck Langerman, made Pollock and Jones the first two New Jersey high school teammates to reach the 4,000-yard mark in career rushing in the same season.
"I wanted to get the 4,000 yards out of the way because it was kind of a distraction," Jones said. "But it means a lot to have the record with Donta. The line blocked great for us. I guess I should buy them each a cheeseburger."
Holy Spirit (6-3), the No. 2 seed, will meet unbeaten Camden Catholic, top-seeded and the Elite 11's fifth-ranked team, on Dec. 2 at The College of New Jersey in Ewing Township for the state Non-Public II championship. Camden Catholic (9-0) beat fourth-seeded Holy Cross 41-7 Friday in the other semifinal.
The score by Jones was Holy Spirit's third of nine touchdowns. Pollock rushed for 227 yards on 19 carries (all in the first half) and scored on runs of 15, 1, 5 and 40 yards. Jones, who had one second-half carry, finished with 83 yards on 11 carries, with two touchdowns. Pollock now has 4,544 career rushing yards, while Pollock has 4,019.
"The record is a tribute to Donta and Nigel, and our linemen," Holy Spirit coach Charlie Roman said. "A lot of things have to go right to achieve a record like that. You have to have a team that's committed to the run, with two tough runners who are durable."
Pollock totaled 126 yards rushing in the first quarter alone, and his 1-yard score with 16 seconds left in the quarter, plus kicker Tommy Worthington's PAT, made it 28-0.
"Coach said to get the job done early," Pollock said. "Once that happened we kept it going. Everything starts up front with an aggressive line."
Holy Spirit tried only three passes, but quarterback Tom Hehre completed all of them. He threw 34 yards to Liam Nolan to the 1-yard line to set up Pollock's second TD, and Hehre hit Nolan again for 56 yards to the Cougars' 4-yard line just more than two minutes later. Pollock took it into the end zone two plays later.
Down 7-0, Montclair Kimberley briefly moved the ball on its second possession. Running back Power Lawrence went 36 yards to the Spartans' 42 yard line, and quarterback Gabe Dimasi passed to Matthew Gregory for 26 yards to the 17. But Dimasi threw four straight incompletions, and Holy Spirit took over for an eight-play, 83-yard drive that ended with Jones' 5-yard TD.
With a running clock in the second half, the Spartans scored twice more, and the Cougars had two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Montclair Kimberley scored in the final minute and the clock ran out before the extra point, which was not attempted.
"We didn't make enough plays on either side of the ball," Montclair Kimberley coach Lance Ramer said. "I have to tip my hat to Holy Spirit, they're a very good football team."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Montclair Kimblerley 0 0 0 13-13
Holy Spirit 28 21 7 6-62
HS-Pollock 15 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Jones 5 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Jones 7 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Pollock 1 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Pollock 5 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Gambale 5 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Pollock 40 run (Worthington kick)
HS-Hehre 3 run (Worthington kick)
MK-Lawrence 3 pass from Demasi (Karole kick)
HS-Dennis 9 run (run failed)
MK-Gregory 70 pass from Demasi (conversion not held)
TEAM STATS MK HS
First downs 4 17
Rushing 41 414
Passing 132 92
Turnovers 1 0
Rushing-MK-Dimasi 3--6, Lawrence 4-47, Herrmann 1-0, Sasso 1--2. HS-Pollock 19-227, Jones 11-83, Hehre 3-5, Gambale 2-9, Bee 3-65, Bocelli 1-8, Dennis 6-31.
Passing-MK-Dimasi 7-22-0-132. HS-Hehre 3-3-0-92
Receiving-MK-Herrmann 1-4, Gregory 3-117, Penn 1-0, Karole 1-8, Lawrence 1-3. HS-Nolan 2-90, Rubino 1-2.
Records-Holy Spirit 6-3; MKA 9-2.