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DePaul erases 10-point deficit to capture first state title since 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD (N.J.) - The DePaul Catholic High School football team erased a 10-0 deficit to upend Red Bank Catholic, 19-17, in the NJSIAA Non-Public B state final at MetLife Stadium on Friday.

The victory avenged a 13-8 loss to the Caseys in last season's state championship.

Freshman quarterback Derek Zammit completed 11 out of 18 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Almeida powered the ground attack with 17 rushes for 47 yards and a score. Sophomore De'Zie Jones reeled in three receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown. Jones currently holds offers from Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Maryland, Rutgers, Nebraska and UConn.

John Villata powered the Spartans' defense with seven tackles and two sacks. Jeff Lopez recorded a game-high nine tackles. Paul Vidal and Lucas Young added a sack each.

Red Bank Catholic jumped out to a 10-0 lead with 4:10 left in the second quarter after a 21-yard field goal by Justin LaMorte and a four-yard rushing score by North Carolina wrestling commit Sabino Portella.

DePaul responded with 19 unanswered points. Zammit delivered a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jones and Luke Monteyne kicked a 29-yard field goal with 16 seconds left in the first half.

Almeida added his lone touchdown in the third quarter and Steve Fiorndino blocked a punt that rolled out the back of the end zone for a safety to heighten the lead to 19-10 with 7:18 left in regulation.

The Caseys responded on a 10-yard touchdown strike from Frankie Williams to Robert Stolfa with 3:22 left in the final stanza.

Following a DePaul punt, Red Bank Catholic charted three incompletions, allowed a sack and charted a turnover on downs on its final drive.

The Spartans secured their sixth state title in 10 years.

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