EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP - It didn't take long to realize that Friday wasn't going to be Egg Harbor Township's night.
St. Joseph opened the game with the ball and easily went 80 yards on five plays for a touchdown.
EHTs first possession wasn't quite as successful.
The Eagles opened with back-to-back illegal-procedure penalties before going three-and-out and punting the ball back to the Wildcats.
The rest of the game wasn't much better for the Eagles.
St. Joseph (8-0), the No. 1 team in The Press Elite 11, shut out its fifth opponent this season, beating EHT 37-0 in a Cape-Atlantic League game Friday.
"We feel great," St. Joseph's Miles Pease said. "We're working hard out there. We're doing our thing and just playing hard to stay undefeated."
Friday's game meant nothing for St. Joseph in terms of league standings or playoff positioning, but the Wildcats didn't play like that.
"The way we approach things is that every week is a big game for us," St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said. "I know I sound like a broken record, but that is how we approach things."
After Darryl Smith made an over-the-shoulder one-handed catch down the sideline, St. Joseph quarterback Anthony Giagunto found Max Valles running free down the middle of the field for a 42-yard touchdown and the game's first points.
One touchdown might not seem like much of a deficit but it might as well be five when playing the Wildcats this season.
With Friday's shutout, St. Joseph has allowed exactly two points per game this season.
Saturday's 37-point output from the offense, meanwhile, actually dropped the team's average point total to 48.9 points per game.
"I'm really not a big stat person," Sacco said. "I just want our kids to come here and play hard week in and week out. We want them to have fun and do the right things because we coach them up so hard."
The start of the second half was even worse for the Eagles.
Egg Harbor quarterback Ken Doughty misfired on a third-and-long pass on the team's first drive. Pease intercepted the pass and ran it back 47 yards to give St. Joseph a 24-0 lead to start the third quarter.
Pease scored another touchdown four minutes later, taking a handoff in between the tackles and bouncing it outside for a 5-yard run.
"Every game is a big game for us," Pease said. "We have to play hard to stay undefeated, that's our goal right now. Then we want to take it to that championship and win it all."
St. Joseph lineman Roy Lucas capped off the scoring and ensured the game would end with a running clock as he stepped in front of a Doughty pass and ran it back 18 yards for the touchdown.
Giagunto completed his first six passes and finished 8-for-13 for 141 yards and two touchdowns. Smith ran 12 times for 68 yards and caught two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown. Kaheem Reynolds had 32 yards rushing and a touchdown to go with 32 yards receiving.
Matt Clayton led the Eagles with five carries for 64 yards, accounting for more than half of the team's total offense.
St. Joseph has already clinched the top seed in the state Non-Public I playoffs and will face the St. Mary vs. Immaculate Conception winner for the state crown.
So will the Wildcats go unbeaten and repeat as state champs?
"Yes sir," Pease said without hesitation.
Contact John O'Kane:
St. Joseph 12 6 19 0 – 37
Egg Harbor Township 0 0 0 0 – 0
SJ-Valles 42 pass from Giagunto (kick failed)
SJ-Smith 5 pass from Giagunto (conversion failed)
SJ-Raynolds 3 run (conversion failed)
SJ-Pease 47 INT return (conversion failed)
SJ-Pease 5 run (kick failed)
SJ-Lucas 18 INT return (Pogue kick)
TEAM STATS SJ EHT
Rushing 189 63
Passing 141 38
First downs 17 3
Penalties 6-40 5-26
Turnovers 0 4
Rushing-St. Joseph: Smith 12-68, Pease 5-43, Reynolds 2-32, Pogue 6-27, Giagunto 4-19; EHT: Clayton 5-64, Garris 1-4, King 1-1, Fitzpatrick 5-0, Doughty 4-(-1), Vance 1-(-5).
Passing-St. Joseph: Giagunto 8-13-0-141; EHT: Doughty 2-13-3-38.
Receiving-St. Joseph: Valles 2-51, Reynolds 2-32, Smith 2-31, Lewis 1-21, Thompson 1-6; EHT: Clayton 1-22, Vance 1-16.
Records-St. Joseph 8-0; EHT 4-4.