Vineland High School running back Marcus Nelson scored three touchdowns and the Fighting Clan pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat host Pleasantville 42-12 on Friday in the Greyhounds' first game on their new artificial turf field.
The Cape-Atlantic League inter-division win put Vineland at 2-0 on the season. Pleasantville, which led 12-6 in the third quarter, is 0-2.
"The field turf feels great. We've been on it for about three weeks now," Pleasantville's first-year coach David Dudley said.
"A lot of schools are going to it now. Actually we had a soccer game on it before this. We've also played at Egg Harbor Township and the Atlantic City Dolphins field, so we're pretty experienced on turf."
After a scoreless first quarter, Nelson scored the only touchdown of the first half on a 6-yard run. The score was set up by R.J. Morgan, who ran for 69 yards on three carries in the drive. Morgan was also 4-for-4 in extra-point kicks.
Pleasantville went up 12-6 in the third quarter. Running back Josh Evans ran five yards to tie the game, and the Greyhounds took the lead when freshman linebacker Thomas Becker picked up a fumble and ran six yards for a TD.
"Pleasantville is an upstart team and they really came out after us," Vineland coach Josh Hedgeman said. "Not to take anything away from Pleasantville, but we came out flat. We played mistake-filled football.
"Later in the game we played like we should have in the first quarter. Pleasantville lost by a lot to Bridgeton (54-7), but I told our team all week that you can't turn your back on them. They have a new coach and I thought they would come out and play hard."
Vineland running back Isaiah Spencer then scored consecutive touchdowns as the Fighting Clan took command. Spencer ran 47 yards to score and Vineland led 13-12 at the end of the third quarter.
Spencer also caught a 62-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tory Clark, and they hooked up again on a pass for two points to make it 21-12.
The Fighting Clan pulled away with three more touchdowns.
For Pleasantville, Evans rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries. Freshman quarterback Chaquan Hargrose completed three passes for 40 yards but was intercepted three times.
"For 2 quarters we played excellent football, but we have a lot of young players without experience who don't know how to finish a football game," Dudley said. "We have a lot of freshman and sophomores playing against mostly-senior teams. They'll have to learn how to grow together."
Contact Guy Gargan:
Vineland 0 6 7 29-42
Pleasantville 0 0 12 0-12
V-Nelson 6 run (run failed)
P-Evans 5 run (run failed)
P-Becker 6 fumble recovery (run failed)
V-Spencer 47 run (Morgan kick)
V-Spencer 62 pass from Clark (Spencer pass from Clark)
V-Nelson 6 run (Morgan kick)
V-Nelson 58 run (Morgan kick)
V-Matteo 23 run (Morgan kick)
Records-Vineland 2-0; Pleasantville 0-2.