Delsea Puts on An All Around Masterclass in the Group 3 Championship

photo by: Anthony Ferrara (@af.visualsss)


Delsea Gets on the Board Early

In a thrilling start to the Group 3 Championship at Piscataway, Delsea surged ahead in the first quarter with a score of 6-0 against West Essex. 

The game kicked off with a solid 25 yard kick return from Delsea's Wayne Adair. Delsea's offense did not waste the opportunity Adair provided them. Running back Dan Russo heavily contributed to this drive, as he totaled 30 yards and ultimately cashed in a touchdown for Delsea on their first drive to make it 6-0.  

West Essex attempted to respond with their offensive drive, starting strong with a 17-yard return by Anthony Dotro. However, the momentum was short-lived as Delsea forced a three and out to get the ball back in their possesion. 

Delsea put together a promising drive, gaining 40 yards in 9 plays and reaching the West Essex 17 yard line. The drive was highlighted by a Zach Maxwell 20 yard rush. Athough Delsea was marching down the field, West Essex was able to stand their ground on a crucial 4th down that could have extended their deficit. 

The quarter concluded without further scoring, leaving West Essex searching for answers to Delsea's early lead. As the teams prepared for the second quarter, the statistics reflected Delsea's dominance in the first quarter with a total of 116 rushing yards and 6 first downs while West Essex struggled with a negative rush yardage and no points on the board.

West Essex Pushes Back

In the second quarter of the Group 3 Championship game, West Essex clawed back into contention, managing to put 3 points on the board against Delsea, making the score 6-3 as the teams entered halftime.

The quarter began with West Essex driving forward with intent to take the lead. The Knights put together an impressive drive, slowly churning their way down the field. The 17 play drive lasted over 8 minutes, taking a chunk of the third quarter. Unofrtunately for West Essex, they could not capitalize with a touchdown, but were able to get 3 points on the board with a successful field goal attempt by the leg of John Moss. The back-and-forth continued with each team's defense putting up a strong front, leading to turnovers and penalties that hindered both sides from establishing a rhythm.

As the teams headed to the locker rooms, the statistics showed West Essex having a slight edge in possession time but still trailing Delsea by a narrow margin. The second quarter set the stage for what was expected to be a tightly contested second half.

Delsea Takes a Commanding 3Q Lead

In the third quarter, Delsea extended their lead with an impressive display of offensive prowess. The quarter started with Delsea receiving the ball after a quick West Essex 3 and out. It only took 3 plays for the Crusaders to add to their lead. Russo's 17 yard rush set up an explosive 32 yard touchdown run from Adiar, making it 14-3.

Delsea continued to neutralize the West Essex offense, forcing another three and out. Delsea kept the offense clicking on their next drive that was capped off by a significant touchdown by Zach Maxwell, though the extra point attempt was unsuccessful, leaving the score at 20-3 in favor of Delsea.

The third quarter saw Delsea maintaining control over the game's tempo, evidenced by their time of possession and the execution of their plays, which left West Essex trailing by 17 points as the quarter ended. 

Delsea Puts the Nail in the Coffin

The fourth quarter was more of the same, as the Crusaders opened up the the last quarter with a bang. Delsea complied another great drive, that totaled 58 yards and took 6 minutes off the clock. Dan Russo was able to practically ice the game with a 2 yard touchdown run. 

Although West Essex was down, they were determined to make the most of their state championship appearance. The Knights' offense had been struggling all game, but was able to cover some ground in their last drive of the game, highlighted by a 17 yard connection between QB Sam Long and Anthony Drago. Unfortunately for West Essex, Delsea was able to put a stop to this run, forcing a turnover on downs before West Essex could enter the redzone. That would mark the end of the season for both teams, crowning Delsea as your Group 3 Champions.