Outstanding Season for Penns Grove Football

Outstanding Season for Penns Grove Football

Penns Grove’s football team was expected to be a strong contender for a sectional title and the Red Devils went one step beyond.

Not only did Penns Grove win the South Jersey Group 1 championship but the Red Devils became the area’s first team to win a bowl game, defeating Willingboro, 35-26 in one of the better postseason comebacks.

Penns Grove allowed the game’s first 20 points and then trailed 26-6 in the second quarter before storming back.

The bowl games were in their first year, pitting the South Jersey and Central Jersey champion. Actually it was two South Jersey teams, but Willingboro was moved into Central Jersey.

That last game was an example of the character that Penns Grove showed this year. The Red Devils were one of only two South Jersey teams to finish 13-0, with Haddonfield the other.

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The road to the championship wasn’t easy, but beating the Red Devils proved to be more difficult. Penns Grove was challenged by rival Salem before beating the Rams 14-7 t win the South Jersey championship.

In that game, Penns Grove jumped to a 14-0 lead before Salem scored a fourth quarter touchdown. The Red Devils defense forced four turnovers.

While it’s likely little consolation, it was the second game this season in which Salem came within a touchdown of Penns Grove. In the regular season, Penns Grove beat the Rams, 26-20.

This was the second sectional title in school history and in both instances the Red Devils finished undefeated. The first title came in 2012 when Penns Grove finished 12-0.

What was more impressive about coach John Emel’s team is that this only contained four seniors – receiver-running back-linebacker Tyreke Brown, receiver-linebacker Jay Tillman, two-way lineman Michael James and receiver-defensive back Deandre Pollard.

All will be tough to replace, especially Brown, who was among the most versatile and best players in South Jersey.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Brown rushed for 937 yards (8.8 avg.) and 18 touchdowns. He caught 24 passes for 512 yards and nine TDs. Brown even attempted seven passes and threw one TD pass.

On defense, Brown had 117 tackles, two sacks and one interception.

Still, the Red Devils have plenty of playmakers returning including current junior quarterback Kavon Lewis, who threw completed 66 percent of his passes for 1,620 yards and 21 TDs.

Sophomore Nasir Robinson rushed for 1,141 yards (7.3 avg.) and 11 TDs. Junior Jamar Johnson rushed for 605 yards (9.0 avg.) and 6 TDs.

Junior Torvon Ransome had 50 receptions for 770 yards and 8 TDs.

There are plenty of other key players returning so the future is bright a team that has been 23-2 the last two years.

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Author: Marc Narducci


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