EGG HARBOR CITY — The Pleasantville High School football team wanted to prove Saturday afternoon that its success wasn’t a mirage.
With that as their motivation, the Greyhounds dominated the first three quarters and beat Cedar Creek 38-22 in a West Jersey Football League interdivision game. Pleasantville (4-1) led 25-0 after the first quarter and 38-6 in the fourth quarter.
“This is a not a game,” Greyhounds senior running back and linebacker Mohamed Toure said. “Pleasantville is really here to play. We’re here.”
Toure, a Rutgers recruit, rushed for two touchdowns and caught a pass for another. Defensive back and Villanova recruit Elijah Glover blocked a punt, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble. Quarterback Sahmir Jones ran for a touchdown and threw for another score.
“This is our biggest win since we’ve been here by far,” said Pleasantville coach Chris Sacco, who took the program over in 2015.
Saturday’s matchup was one of the weekend’s most intriguing games. Both teams needed a win to boost their South Jersey Group II playoff hopes. Cedar Creek (2-3) is a perennial South Jersey contender. Pleasantville is a program on the rise after struggling through the 1990s and 2000s.
The game had the feel of a neighborhood rivalry as many of the Creek and Pleasantville players grew up playing against each other.
“We didn’t get that in our first four games,” Sacco said. “We played some teams that were out of our (area). (We) were hearing it all week — really all year — that we hadn’t beaten anybody. We used that as a rallying cry.”
Cedar Creek has played one of the toughest schedules of any S.J. Group II team this season.
Pleasantville has not. The Greyhounds opened with a loss to undefeated Haddonfield and then beat three teams with a combined record of 6-5.
“We had Cedar Creek circled right after the Haddonfield game,” Glover said. “We wanted to prove we could beat good teams.”
The Greyhounds played with energy and ferocity from the opening kickoff.
Glover picked off a pass on Cedar Creek’s first possession.
On the next play, Jones threw a screen pass to Toure, who ran 26 yards for a touchdown to give Pleasantville a 7-0 lead with just 90 seconds into the game.
Jones made it 13-0 on the Greyhounds second possession when he faked a handoff to Toure and ran around the left end for a 35-yard score.
The Greyhounds scored two more times in the first quarter.
The third touchdown came when Glover blocked a punt. Bertie Moses scooped up the ball and ran 15 yards for the score.
Defensive back Corey Crawford recovered a fumble to set up the Greyhounds’ final first-quarter touchdown.
“Our kids wanted to get out here and get off to a good start,” Sacco said. “Quite frankly, we haven’t done that against really quality teams. We did it all in the first quarter — offense, defense, special teams.”
The win boosts not only Pleasantville’s playoff chances but also its credibility. Before Saturday, the last time Cedar Creek and Pleasantville played was during Sacco’s first season in 2015. Creek won 41-6.
Pleasantville’s plan is to build on the buzz it created Saturday.
“We’re not just great athletes,” Sacco said. “We want to be a great team.”
Pleasantville 25 7 0 6—38
Cedar Creek 0 6 0 16—22
PV – Toure 26 pass from Jones (Washington kick)
PV – Toure 35 run (kick missed)
PV – Moses blocked punt return (run failed)
PV – Toure 1 run (run failed)
CK – Barrios 3 run (pass failed)
PV – Toure 13 run (Washington kick)
PV – Kotokpo 21 run (kick missed)
CK – Safety (Pleasantville punter stepped out of end zone)
CK – Richardson 22 pass from Barrios (Reed run)
CK – Barrios 3 run (run failed)