The Haddonfield Bulldawgs rode a stifling, opportunistic defense Saturday to an improbable, upset win over previously undefeated Woodstown to capture the South Jersey Group 2 Football championship, 21-0.
Haddonfield had to run a gauntlet of three undefeated teams in the playoffs — West Deptford(8-0 ), Camden(9-0) and Woodstown(11-0) —to Saturday's decisive championship win in a game played on the neutral field of Rowan University on a cold, windy day.
"It’s always something to prove, to ourselves, our kids, and the challenge never ends," Haddonfield head coach Frank DeLano said.
It was Haddonfield's second state championship in the past four years.
"It’s a special journey," DeLano said.
Haddonfield(10-2) scored two defensive touchdowns—on a four-yard run after a third-quarter fumble recovery by Mark Walker, and on a 35-yard touchdown scamper after a fourth-quarter interception by Ted Stavetski. Jacob Klaus also scored in the third quarter for the Bulldawgs on a 19-yard touchdown run on offense.
Klaus paced the Bulldawgs with 19 carries for 116 yards.
Both defenses had their way in a scoreless first half. Haddonfield moved the ball on offense, but had little to show for it. The Bulldawgs had 177 total yards to just 30 for Woodstown.
The Wolverines mounted a threat to open the second half, moving from their own 35 to Haddonfield’s 23 on seven plays. The big play in the series was a 27-yard pass play to Tariq Thomas on third and 23 from the 50-yard-line.
The Haddons were on their heals until Klaus, a two-way player, fell on a fumble on the next play at 9:18 of the third quarter. Then, it was all Haddonfield.
On Woodstown’s next possession, a quarterback fumble landed on the 4-yard-line. Walker scooped up the ball and scored the first points of the game at 4:59 of the third quarter.
"That was one thing we noticed on film," DeLano said. "They do put the ball down on the ground, especially when you pressure them a little bit. Anytime you can create a turnover in a game like this, it’s deflating."