EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — The Egg Harbor Township High School football team turned around what looked like another victory for fourth-ranked Hammonton in the fourth quarter Friday night.
EHT rallied from a 14-point deficit in the final quarter and won 31-28 on kicker Tim Mason’s 40-yard field goal with 4.2 seconds left.
EHT denied Hammonton coach Pete Lancetta his 200th career win. Egg Harbor Township improved to 2-1 overall and in the Cape-Atlantic League American Conference. Hammonton, ranked fourth in The Press Elite 11, fell to 2-1 overall and in the conference.
“It felt pretty good to win the game that way,” said Mason, an 18-year-old senior and four-year starter at place-kicker. “I did that one other time (last year against St. Augustine Prep). This was my longest kick. I knew the line would hold and I got a good snap (from Jeremy Diaz) and a good hold from my holder (Ben Balesteri). I knew I hit it hard. I looked up and I thought it was going in.”
The Eagles trailed 28-14 early in the fourth quarter but then moved the ball well and stopped the Blue Devils in key situations.
Quarterback Kenny Doughty fired a 43-yard touchdown pass to running back Calvin Rice with 1 minute, 38 seconds left, and Mason’s extra point tied the score at 28-28.
“Hammonton is a tough team, but we fought through our mistakes and got the ‘W,’ ” said Rice, a 17-year-old senior.
EHT got the ball back when it stopped Hammonton’s Christian Mortellite on a quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-1 at the Eagles’ 49 yard line.
Egg Harbor Township had one timeout and used the clock well as it marched down the field. Doughty passed 11 yards to Randy Canela, and then tossed 11 more yards to Adam Bynum to the Hammonton 30 yard line. Doughty’s 7-yard pass to Victor Nagbe to the 23 set up Mason’s winning kick.
“We just tried to make plays and get first downs to get close to the goal line, and it worked out for us,” said Doughty, a 17-year-old senior. “We were kind of lackadaisical in the third quarter, but we picked it up in the end.”
The Eagles didn’t bother to get to their locker rooms right away, instead holding court along with the coaches with pizza by the refreshment stand.
“This is a team with no quit,” Eagles coach Tony DeRosa said. “I’m proud to have coaches and players like that. We practice that play with Mason every week, and he got up there and was confident. It was big when we stopped them on the fourth-and-one. I was thinking about what we’d run in overtime at the time and I looked up and we had the ball. We practice our two-minute drill on Thursdays. We kept moving the ball and making plays.”
Hammonton led 14-0 in the first quarter on a 68-yard touchdown run by Dominic Williams, and a 5-yard score by twin brother David.
But EHT took the ensuing kickoff and marched 60 yards on 16 plays and made it 14-7 when Doughty took it over from a yard out off right guard. Egg Harbor Township tied it at 14-14 when fullback Matt Clayton scored a 2-yard touchdown.
The Blue Devils seemed to take command again with two more TDs. Mortellite tossed to running back Dylan Rosu, who went up the left sidelines 56 yards to a score. Hammonton put the ball into the hands of David Williams on the next drive, and he carried seven times, including a 1-yard touchdown with 9:17 left to play. The PAT by Gary Deanley made it 28-14.
EHT started from its own 39 after the kickoff and marched again. Doughty scored his second TD off right guard on the 11th play of the drive. Mason’s kick made it 28-21.
Lancetta didn’t even discuss the situation of going for his 200th win until someone mentioned it.
“I didn’t think about it, but I guess Egg Harbor Township put it on their bulletin board,” Lancetta said. “I’m not an ‘I’ guy. When you win, it’s all of us — the coaches, the players and the parents. The only number I was thinking about was ‘3’ (a third win).There’s no excuses; they beat us. Egg Harbor Township did a nice job coaching wise, and they really have some players.”
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