Florence familiarizes itself to realigned division with gritty win over Haddon Township
Updated: Sep 26, 2022
HADDON TOWNSHIP (N.J.) - With the West Jersey Football League divisional realignments, some teams lost historical rivalry games on their schedule.
That was the case for Florence Memorial High School football team.
In the WJFL Classic Division, the Flashes have ran into unfamiliar opponents such as Cherry Hill East, Princeton and Haddon Township.
Saturday morning marked the first time Florence and the latter of the three squared off since 2003.
The Flashes prevailed by etching out a 14-6 victory.
Florence's Jude Maldonado takes the handoff before scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter on Saturday, September 24, 2022. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network.
The physicality between both forces showed early as each defense was stingy in the first quarter, forcing multiple punts and turnovers on downs.
Halfway through the second quarter, Damian Ricketts found the end zone to put Florence up 6-0.
Jairo Padin responded with a huge run in the third quarter to swing momentum in Haddon Township's favor. Padin darted towards pay dirt to even the score at 6-6 with 7:42 left in the third quarter.
The defense held up until Florence positioned itself on the Hawks' five-yard line as the third quarter came to a close.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Jude Maldonado took a handoff five yards to put Florence ahead 14-6. A few drives later, Maldonado came up with an interception that proved to seal the game.
"Our guys just gutted it out and got the win," Joe Frappolli said. "I’m very proud of how they fought, although we do have some things to clean up in the bye week."
Frappolli also alluded to the timeless rivalry between Florence and Palmyra after said bye week.
The Flashes will host the Panthers on October 7.
Florence currently holds a six-game winning streak in the series dating back to 2016. It's one of the few familiar opponents that still remain on the Flashes' calendar.
“We used to play in a league with Palmyra, Burlington City, New Egypt, Maple Shade, Bordentown, and us,” Frappolli said. “With the new divisions and realignments, we hardly play any of those teams anymore except for Palmyra."