Paulsboro Rebounds in a Big Way

Paulsboro Rebounds in a Big Way
Paulsboro’s football team has been one of South Jersey’s top programs for decades and once again the Red Raiders ended up on top after beating Salem 22-13 in the West Jersey Football League Bracket D final.
 
This year the NJSIAA decided that there would not be football playoffs, but gave teams the chance to play two games after the six-game regular season. 
 
The West Jersey Football League, which includes all teams from South Jersey along with some Mercer County schools, put 16 of its teams in Pods, matching up the best teams either by Group size or one Pod that included the top teams in South Jersey regardless of Group size.
 
Paulsboro and Salem were by far the top Group 1 teams in South Jersey. Each entered the game 6-0. 
 
For Paulsboro it was a return to the top. Not counting this year, which wasn’t an official South Jersey title, Paulsboro has won 19 South Jersey titles since the advent of NJSIAA championships in 1974.
 
The Red Raiders last won the South Jersey Group 1 title in 2017.
 
After that Paulsboro had consecutive 8-3 seasons, losing in the sectional final each season. Most programs would take that type of success in a heartbeat, but Paulsboro’s program is at the point where to win championships each year.
 
So even though this was an unofficial Group 1 title, Paulsboro returned as the No. 1 Group 1 team.
 
Coach Glenn Howard, among the best in South Jersey history, but a team this year around senior Bhayshul Tuten, who was among the top players in South Jersey.
 
Tuten rushed for 1,282 yards (9.9 avg.) and 19 touchdowns. Imagine what he would have done playing in say, 12 or 13 games. Tuten also had 11 receptions for 184 yards and 4 TDs. 
 
Junior Ameer Bateman rushed for 255 yards (11.1 avg.) and 3 TDs. 
 
Junior Tyree Thomas threw for 616 yards and 10 touchdowns.
 
Sophomore defensive end Damire Avant had a team-high 13 tackles for loss.
 
Paulsboro was so dominant that it beat every team by at least nine points, and other than the Salem game, beat every other team by 15 or more points.
 
After an opening 22-6 win over Woodbury, Paulsboro beat West Deptford 27-0. These are usually two of the top Gloucester County teams, and it has become a great rivalry.
 
After beating Collingswood, 48-14, Paulsboro then defeated two-time defending sectional champion Penns Grove, 35-20. In that game Tuten rushed for 262 yards (9.4 avg.) and 3 TDs. 

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The Red Raiders then routed Sterling and Haddon Heights before beating Salem to leave no doubt as to the top Group 1 team this season in South Jersey.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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