PLEASANTVILLE – The Pleasantville High School football team has transformed itself from rebuilding to a relevant program the past few seasons.

But the Greyhounds saw Friday night they still have room to grow.

Defending South Jersey Group II champion Haddonfield beat Pleasantville 20-7 in the season opener for both West Jersey Football League schools.

Senior linebacker Drew Gavranich scored touchdowns on special teams and defense for Haddonfield.

Pleasantville struggled to contain Haddonfield quarterback Jay Foley (12 carries for 69 yards), who scrambled for several big gains to extend Bulldogs drives in the first half.

Rutgers recruit Mohamed Toure rushed 21 times for 85 yards and caught four passes for 32 yards for the Greyhounds.

Friday’s game was one of the most anticipated of the season’s first weekend. Haddonfield is No. 8 in The Press Elite 11. Pleasantville is in the midst of a football resurgence. Pleasantville is No. 11 in the Elite 11 and qualified for the S.J. Group II playoffs last season for the first time in a dozen years.

Fans filled the visiting bleachers and most of the home bleachers on a cloudy, windy night that felt more like October than the last day of August.

The game turned in Haddonfield’s favor on a quirky special teams play.

Pleasantville punted from its own end zone. Gabe Klaus, of Haddonfield, partially blocked the punt. The ball landed at the 4-yard line and bounced back into the end zone where Gavranich fell on it to give Haddonfield a 7-0 lead with 7 seconds left in the first quarter.

Pleasantville never really recovered the rest of the half.

Gavranich made another big play when he intercepted a Pleasantville pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs up 20-0 with 7:06 left in the first half.

The Greyhounds had success on their first drive of the game moving from their own 14-yard line to the Haddonfield 28 before being stopped on downs. But that was the only time Pleasantville was in Haddonfield territory in the first half.

The Greyhounds played better in the second half.

The Greyhounds, behind the running of Toure and timely passing from quarterback Sahmir Jones, drove to the Haddonfield 7 early in the third but were again stopped on downs.

Pleasantville finally scored with 8:26 left in the fourth when Toure crossed the goal line on a 1-yard run.

Jones completed 13 of 15 passes in the second half and finished the game with 179 passing yards. Pleasantville receiver Brian Stalworth caught five passes for 46 yards.

The Pleasantville fans encouraged the Greyhounds as they left the field after the first half. The game’s atmosphere was a success in itself as its been a while since a Greyhounds home game drew such interest.

And while Pleasantville won’t be pleased with the loss, the Greyhounds second-half performance gave the team some positives to build on going forward.

Haddonfield; 7 13 0 0—20

Pleasantville; 0 0 0 7—7

FIRST QUARTER

HAD—Gavranich recovers blocked punt in end zone (Grozier kick)

SECOND QUARTER

HAD—Brown 16 run (kick missed)

HAD—Gavranich 24 int return (Grozier kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

PV—Toure 1 run (Howard kick)

Records—Haddonfield 1-0, Pleasantville 0-1.

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Contact: 609-272-7209 MMcGarry@pressofac.com Twitter @ACPressMcGarry

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