GLOUCESTER CITY — Brian Stalworth never started at quarterback at the varsity level prior to Saturday.
The 17-year-old senior typically plays wide receiver and strong safety for the Pleasantville High School football team, but No. 1 quarterback Sahmir Jones did not play Saturday due to a right knee injury.
Stalworth rose to the occasion.
Stalworth threw for 189 yards and three touchdowns in the Greyhounds’ 49-0 victory over Gloucester Catholic (0-5) in a West Jersey Football League United Division game.
Pleasantville, ranked No. 9 in The Press Elite 11, improved to 5-1 with its fifth straight win.
“I had to come out here and do my thing,” Stalworth said. “It was good to come out and play as starting quarterback and finally get to throw it to my friend, actually, No. 7, Akeem Walker.”
Pleasantville’s Ernest Howard returned the opening kickoff 39 yards to the Rams’ 35. Nine plays later, Stalworth connected with Walker for a 4-yard TD pass.
Stalworth also threw two touchdown passes to Elijah Glover.
“I was excited throwing those three touchdown passes,” Stalworth said. “I thought I was going to freeze up a little bit, but I did better than I thought.”
Jones tweaked his knee last week in the Greyhounds’ win over Cedar Creek, and Pleasantville coach Chris Sacco chose to sit the quarterback as a precaution.
The Greyhounds are off next week and will host Buena Regional on Oct. 19, so the decision will give Jones an extra week of rest.
“We definitely had faith that Brain would be able to step in and just keep running our offense,” Sacco said. “With all the weapons we have, we felt very comfortable with him throwing the ball. We felt comfortable with him running the ball. He just did a great job.
“Brian has a very calm demeanor about him, and I think everybody, knowing our starting quarterback wasn’t in there, just rallied around him and picked it up. We are proud of the way the team played.”
Glover caught a 56-yard touchdown in the second quarter to make it 14-0. The 17-year-old senior also caught a 14 yard TD pass in the third quarter to extend the lead to 36-0.
Glover also blocked a punt in the first quarter.
“It was cool scoring touchdowns,” he said. “I really play defense, but it was cool scoring touchdowns. We got the big win, so that is good, too.”
The Greyhounds’ Marcus Peeler had an interception late in the second quarter that led to Joshua Kotokpo’s 21-yard TD run that put Pleasantville up 21-0 at halftime.
Mohamed Toure ran 2 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter, and Keon Henry and Jaquan Howard each had rushing TDs in the fourth quarter.
Jabril Shakur had an interception in the closing minutes.
“We got to have good practices,” Glover said. “We have a bye week, so we need to get prepared for Buena and take care of business. ... We just got to keep getting better each week and keep going.”
Kotokpo also scored two, 2-point conversions. Zahir Washington nailed three extra-points attempts.
“We have to get healthy over the bye week and clean up the little things,” Sacco said. “Just the smaller details we have to clean up. We have the pieces. We just have to make sure we keep grinding and doing what we need to do.”
Pleasantville 6 15 15 13—49
Gloucester Catholic 0 0 0 0—0
P — Walker 4 pass (kick no good)
P — Glover 56 pass (Kotokpo run)
P — Kotokpo 21 run (Washington kick)
P — Toure 2 run (Kotokpo run)
P — Glover 14 pass (Washington kick)
P — Henry 5 run (kick no good)
P — Howard 2 run (Washington kick)