Sports Scrapbook – Week of Dec. 7, 2012

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Sports Scrapbook

Spartans win 44-6; aim for third straight state title

The Holy Spirit Spartans (2) easily disposed of Pingry (6) 44-6 to advance to their unprecedented third consecutive State Championship against Immaculata on Saturday night at the College of New Jersey. Spirit got two touchdowns from A.J. Dawson and Taaleb Gerald, one from Andrew Light, and 14 points from Franco Rifici Jr. on a touchdown, a 20-yard field goal, and five extra points. Once again Joe DiBuonaventura was “Joey on the Spot,” recovering a fumble that set up Spirit’s fourth touchdown. Spirit’s superb defense limited the visitors to six points and three first downs.

Championship history

2011 – An underdog Holy Spirit pounded Camden Catholic 50-7. Nigel Jones and Donta Pollock continually shredded the Irish defense for scores.

2010 – Holy Spirit’s exceptional defense stopped perennial champion St. Joe of Montvalle 14-13. The game came down to the final seconds when St. Joe’s outstanding kicker missed the extra point.

2008 – Immaculata edged Holy Spirit 21-20 in the semifinal game, blocking the tying extra point in overtime to eliminate Spirit from the championship finals.

2007 – Holy Spirit’s excellent defense stymied state champion Immaculata and ended a 21-game winning streak 26-13. The defense spearheaded by Marcus Weatherspoon, Chris Mancuso, Leonard Baldino, and Nick Hall limited Immaculata and present Notre Dame star Theo Riddick to 44 yards on the ground. The Spartan line, averaging 277 pounds, opened huge holes for William Washington and Hall. Coach Bill Walsh called this the greatest team in Spirit history with good reason. Spirit was ranked 19th in the United States.

Preview of the 2012 State Championship

In an anticipated meeting of the two state champions, Immaculata with an 11-1 will be the favorite in this rematch. The Spartans from the North are averaging 31 points a game while holding opponents to an average of 11.5 points. Spirit is 7-4 and has outscored opponents 25-9.

Statistics can be deceiving. Spirit’s four losses have all been by seven points or less. Without key turnovers, the Spartans from the South could be 11-0. To their advantage, Holy Spirit has played a tougher schedule than Immaculata and has consistently held opponents below their average.

My prediction? Spirit by seven points in a low-scoring game. If Spirit scores 14 or more points, I believe they will claim their third consecutive state championship.

Unbeaten Williamstown edges Atlantic City 20-12

Atlantic High’s dream of a state championship was shattered in the final two minutes as No. 1 Williamstown intercepted a Viking pass and went in to score. The interception possibly prevented another Viking miraculous late game comeback. Local Domineek Hurd Brown scored the first Viking touchdown on a four-yard run. Jarren McBryde hit Dayshawn Reynolds for a second touchdown. However, both extra points failed, making the score 14-12 and putting the Vikings in a hole. McBryde finished the game 8 for 19 with one touchdown. McBryde and Robert Glanville both had key interceptions for the Vikings.

Brigantine East All Stars perform at the Sand Bowl

Congratulations to the Rams All Stars, who played for the East this past Saturday at Ocean City in the 56th annual Sand Bowl Classic. Pee Wee All Stars are John Grahsler, Jack Klemm and Devin Lee. Rams Varsity stars are Eric Graziano, Jules Massella and Joe Porpora.

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