WILDWOOD — The Lower Cape May Regional High School football team continued its impressive turnaround this season at the expense of rival Wildwood on Friday night.
Running back Pat Moore scored two long touchdowns and Connor Eckel threw three touchdown passes to help the Caper Tigers defeat the Warriors 35-0 in a West Jersey Football League interdivisional game.
With its third straight win, Lower (4-2) improved to two games above .500 for the first time since Thanksgiving 2010.
That’s a huge jump for a program that struggled the past few seasons. Lower won just four total games the previous two years.
“I’m so proud of the guys for the improvement we’ve made in the last three years,” Lower coach Brian Hindle said. “They’ve worked very hard, and it’s paid off.”
Wildwood (0-5), which had only 19 players in uniform, suffered its 33rd straight loss since beating Pleasantville on Nov. 13, 2014.
A large crowd filled the stands at Wildwood’s Maxwell Field. The schools are located approximately 5 miles apart and are rivals.
The teams met in the final game of the regular season for more than 40 years before the creation of the Lower-Middle Township Thanksgiving game called the Anchor Bowl.
“It feels great to be able to change the atmosphere at the school,” Eckel said. “People are showing up to the games and are really enjoying watching us.”
Lower wasted little time in taking control.
Moore, a former soccer player who switched to football this year, grabbed a pitchout and dashed up the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage.
The 5-foot-9, 185-pounder scored an even longer TD in the second quarter, grabbing a 30-yard pass from Eckel and breaking away from three defenders for a 91-yard TD.
Moore also kicked three extra points.
“The last time I played football was in the fourth or fifth grade,” Moore said. “All my friends were playing football, so I decided to come out to have fun my senior year. When I got out there, the coaches thought running back would be my best position.”
Eckel, a 5-10, 170-pound sophomore, also threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Jordan Klein and a 35-yarder to junior running back Jonas Lumbruno. He went 3 for 6 for 139 yards. All three completions were for touchdowns.
Wildwood’s best scoring opportunity came in the first quarter.
Lower attempted a quick-kick, and Warriors junior defensive tackle Connor Heym stormed up the middle to block it. The 6-2, 245-pounder grabbed the carom and rumbled 20 yards to the Caper Tigers’ 30-yard line.
But the Warriors failed to capitalize, losing 17 yards on three plays.
Lower Cape May 13 15 7 0—35
Wildwood—0 0 0 0—0
L—Moore 55 run. (run failed)
L—Klein 15 pass from Eckel (Moore kick)
L—Moore 91 pass from Eckel. (Moore kick)
L—Lumbruno 35 pass from Eckel. (Causey run)
L—Konczyk 6 run. (Moore kick)
Records—LCM 4-2; Wildwood 0-5.