FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — Delsea Regional High School’s football team relied on a quick start to hold off Cedar Creek’s late rally Friday night.
Running backs Shaikyi Hannah and Tymir Kizee each ran for a touchdown and caught a TD pass from Mason Maxwell in a 28-20 victory over Cedar Creek.
The West Jersey Football League interdivisional game was an intriguing matchup of perennial South Jersey contenders. Cedar Creek (1-1) has appeared in S.J. finals in three of the past five seasons. Delsea (1-1) seeks its sixth straight trip to a sectional championship game.
A large crowd filled both bleachers.
The Crusaders treated their fans to a terrific first-half performance, then held off Cedar Creek’s furious fourth-quarter rally.
“I’m proud of the guys for the way they responded in the second half. We can take a lot of positive things from that,” Cedar Creek coach Tim Watson said.
The Pirates trailed 28-7 entering the fourth quarter, but quarterback Louie Barrios scored on a 1-yard sneak and then hit wide receiver Malachi Melton for an 11-yard TD to cut the gap to 28-20 with 1 minute, 34 seconds left in regulation.
Delsea’s Hannah recovered the onside kick to clinch the win.
Delsea grabbed a 28-7 halftime lead behind Hannah and Kizee. They scored two TDs apiece.
Mason Maxwell’s first two passes resulted in touchdowns.
The Crusaders opened the scoring on their first possession. Maxwell opened the game with a 56-yard dash up the middle on their first play from scrimmage.
Cedar Creek’s Shane Jones saved a touchdown by chasing down Maxwell from behind. Maxwel then capped the six-play, 75-yard drive with a 12-yard TD pass to Kizee.
Delsea coach Sal Marchese said, “They have a very good defense, but when you’re going against an option team like us, it’s difficult to take all of our options away. Our offense is very tough to stop, especially with Mason in there.”
Cedar Creek took its only lead at 7-6 later in the first quarter. Sophomore Malachi Melton’s 23-yard punt return set up junior running back Kamaal Reed’s 22-yard TD. Clay Olley’s PAT gave the Pirates the lead with 3 minutes, 50 seconds left in the opening quarter.
Three turnovers hurt the Pirates on their subsequent first-half possessions, however, and Delsea capitalized on the opportunities.
The Crusaders regained the lead at 13-7 on Maxwell’s 21-yard TD pass to Hannah, who also snared an interception as a defensive back.
Hannah, a sophomore, showed his speed and quickness during a terrific play later in the first half. He dropped a pitchout from Maxwell in Delsea’s backfield but scooped it up, reversed his field and broke three tackles en route to a 35-yard TD that had Delsea’s large crowd roaring.
The Pirates fumbled the ensuing kickoff and coughed up another fumble on their next series. Kizee, a senior, dashed around right end for a 13-yard TD to put Delsea up 28-7 with 2:01 remaining in the first half.
Cedar Creek — 7 0 0 13 -20
Delsea — 6 22 0 0 — 28
D — Kizee 12 pass from Maxwell. (Kick failed)
C — Reed 22 run. (Olley kick).
D — Hannah 21 pass from Maxwell. (Holdcraft kick)
D — Hannah 35 run. (Borguet run)
D — Kizee 14 run. (Holdcraft kick)
C — Barrios 1 run. (Run failed)
C — Melton 11 pass from Barrios. (Olley kick)
Records: Cedar Creek 1-1; Delsea 1-1