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Delsea overcomes 14-point deficit to punch its ticket to Group 3 state final

EVESHAM (N.J.) - In a battle between the top two teams in South Jersey, Delsea overcame an early deficit to punch its ticket to the state final at Rutgers University with a 20-14 win over Camden.

Wayne Adair ran for 68 yards and a score in Delsea's 20-14 comeback win over Camden at Cherokee High School on Saturday, November 19, 2022. Ryan Fuhs/D2 Sports Network

Camden's offense benefited from favorable starting field position on multiple drives courtesy of its defense. The stout defensive play led to a 14-0 lead.

Delsea's defense settled in and bent, but didn't break.

The backfield tandem of Wayne Adair and Jared Schoppe clawed the Crusaders back into the contest as both players scored a rushing touchdown.

A Delsea interception set up the offense in the red zone with a little over a minute left. After multiple failed attempts, Delsea quarterback Jimmy Reardon finally punched it in from a yard out, whilst punching a ticket to the state final.

The Crusaders' composure never seemed to have been lost.

"We've been behind before this year. It's something that we know we can battle back from," Adair said.

With the NJSIAA implementing a true state championship, this means the Crusaders will be playing for a Group 3 state title for the first time in history.

"It's the first time in history and it feels great to be the first team in Delsea history to compete in this game," Adair said.

A motto that the Delsea football team has preached all year was to be "Delsea Tough."

Crusaders coach Sal Marchese explained that the phrase is something he reiterates to his players and has been since the beginning of training camp.

"We pride ourselves in being as strong and as physical as we can be," Marchese said. "I'm so proud of these kids and how much they always fight. They haven't just laid down and gave up when things got tough and that's what 'Delsea Tough' is - not giving up in any situation."

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