Haddonfield Impressive, Earns 2nd Title

by Marc Narducci; photo Marc Narducci | Dec 10, 2014
Haddonfield Impressive, Earns 2nd Title Haddonfield Impressive in Earning Second Straight South Jersey Football Title

This year, Haddonfield was the only football team from the seven-county South Jersey area to finish 12-0. (St. Joseph, the consensus No. 1 team in South Jersey ended 11-0, playing one fewer playoff game). It was quite an achievement for Haddonfield, earning its first unbeaten season since 1964, when the Bulldogs went 9-0.

What was most impressive, is that the Bulldogs had just one close call all season, and another game where the outcome was still unknown at halftime. Both of those games were against rival West Deptford.

During the regular season, Haddonfield earned a 28-25 overtime win over their Colonial Conference Liberty Division rival. On Sunday, Haddonfield beat West Deptford, 27-0, to win its second straight South Jersey Group 2 title.

At halftime, Haddonfield led just 7-0, but West Deptford had controlled play throughout most of the first two quarters.

Haddonfield then sealed the win with 20 points in the third quarter.

This was not an overly flashy Haddonfield team, but one that was well coached by Frank DeLano, fundamentally sound, and with a veteran group. Many of this year’s key players also starred on last year’s 10-2 sectional championship team that beat Woodstown, 21-0, in the final.

So this current group of Haddonfield players went 22-2 the past two years. Since the advent of NJSIAA playoffs in 1974, this was Haddonfield’s first back-to-back sectional titles team.

This was a team that had toughness and intelligence.

One of the leaders was senior Michael Alberto, who was a first-year starter at quarterback and did a masterful job running the offense. In the championship game, he threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Ty Klaus and scored two touchdown runs. Alberto finished with 19 touchdown passes, even though Haddonfield was known more as a running team.

Seniors Jake Klaus (pictured) and Mike DeFeo were the chief running backs, and both finished their high school careers in style. Klaus ran for 103 yards and scored Haddonfield’s first TD on a 1-yard run. DeFeo gained 143 yards and jump-started the offense in the second quarter.

Defensive end Ty Klaus, the cousin of Jake, and middle linebacker Mark Walker were the leaders on defense. Senior wide receiver-defensive back Jake Robinson, who is a Temple recruit, was among the better all-around players in South Jersey.

Even though Haddonfield was dominant in the postseason (and regular season), it’s easy to forget that the Bulldogs were only the No. 3 seed in a loaded South Jersey Group 2 field. No. 1 Camden was upset in the first round by Collingswood.

No. 2 Buena was eliminated in the semifinal, by Haddonfield, 38-7.

Of the 12 wins, 11 were by 17 points or more; 10 of the wins were by 27 or more points.

In a year in which this was considered the deepest South Jersey Group 2 field in recent memory, Haddonfield, won its three playoff games 102-7.

The Bulldogs were a veteran team, with 16 of the 22 starting positions manned by seniors. Under DeLano, Haddonfield has won three South Jersey Group 2 titles in the last five years in becoming one of South Jersey’s model programs.

Photo (Marc Narducci): Haddofield's Jake Klaus (22) had a big game in the championship against West Deptford.

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Author: Marc Narducci; photo by Marc Narducci


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