BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP - Gabe Voumard stepped in front of a Seton Hall Prep pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown Saturday night.
The interception gave the St. Augustine Prep football team an early touchdown lead.
The rest of the state Non-Public IV quarterfinal is better left forgotten by St. Augustine.
Seton Hall Prep scored seven straight touchdowns after the Voumard score. The Pirates won 49-14.
Seton Hall rushed for 470 yards on 50 carries - an average of 9.4 yards per attempt. The loss was St. Augustine's first of the season.
"It was probably the worst game we've played in the four years (the St. Augustine seniors) have been here," St. Augustine coach Dennis Scuderi said, "and it wasn't a good time to play it. But I have to give (Seton Hall Prep) credit. They played hard. They forced the issue, and we didn't respond."
There is always an air of mystery of when a team from northern New Jersey meets one from the southern part of the state. Not many high school football fans expected this contest to be so lopsided. Seton Hall Prep (9-1) is the No. 5 seed. St. Augustine (8-1) is the fourth seed and No. 3 in The Press' Elite 11.
"I expected a close game," Seton Hall Prep running back Kevin Monangai said.
The contest was St. Augustine's first home playoff game in 14 years. But the Hermits fans had little to get excited about.
The Pirates physically dominated St. Augustine. The Hermits could not stop Seton Hall's running game, and it didn't matter who carried the ball for the Pirates.
"We are a running team," Monangai said. "We always make a point to work on the details at the point of attack."
Monangai rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. Rory Merklinger carried nine times for 122 yards and two touchdowns. Kevin Ijoma carried five times for 97 yards and a touchdown.
Seton Hall didn't grind it out. The Pirates scored on big plays. Monangai ran 48 and 46 yards for touchdowns. Merklinger ran 56 yards for a score, and Ijoma sprinted 89 yards for a touchdown.
"We didn't answer," Scuderi said. "They physically handled us."
St. Augustine didn't fare much better on offense. The Pirates constantly harassed St. Augustine quarterback Dustin Thomas, who completed 8-of-26 passes for 85 yards. When Thomas did have time to throw, St. Augustine receivers dropped his passes.
"It's disappointing," Scuderi said, "but it's reality. It's a humbling experience."
Seton Hall Prep meets top-seeded Don Bosco Prep (9-0) in next weekend's semifinals.
Meanwhile, St. Augustine prepares to play at Buena Regional (4-5) the night before Thanksgiving.
"We're going to come back," Scuderi said. "I expect us to play hard against Buena. If we don't, I'll be disappointed."
Contact Michael McGarry:
Seton Hall Prep 7 21 21 0 - 49
St. Augustine 7 0 0 7 - 14
SA - Voumard 35 int. return (Gough kick)
SH - Merklinger 4 run (Aguirre kick)
SH - Monangai 48 run (Aguirre kick)
SH - Monangai 1 run (Aguirre kick)
SH - Monangai 46 run (Aguirre kick)
SH - DiTommaso 15 run (Aguirre kick)
SH - Merklinger 56 run (Aguirre kick)
SH - Ijoma 89 run (Aguirre kick)
SA - Voumard 6 pass from Thomas (Gough kick)
Records: Seton Hall Prep 9-1; St. Augustine 8-1