GLASSBORO (N.J.) - Only 4.7 miles separate neighboring Delsea Drive rivals Clayton and Glassboro.
However, the two squared off on Friday for just the 10th time in the previous 19 years.
Clayton had won last year’s matchup, 22-14.
The Bulldogs returned the favor with a 14-6 victory on Friday.
It was a special night for the community as the win followed assistant coach Timmy Breaker's induction into the Glassboro High School Athletics Hall of Fame on Thursday.
Glassboro quarterback Jhaisir Harden looks to pass in the red zone early in the fourth quarter against Clayton in Glassboro on Friday, September 30, 2022. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
Both teams' defensive units constricted each other on drives in the opening frame until Glassboro's Amari Sabb broke the tie late in the first quarter. The freshman took an inside run to the house to establish a 6-0 lead.
Clayton evened things up at 6-6 with 13 seconds left in the second quarter. Omari Watson broke a run up the sideline and raced into the end zone.
Late in the third quarter, the Bulldogs began to drive deep into Clayton territory to help set up the game-deciding score on the first play of the final period. Jhaisir Harden found Charles Graves from 10 yards out for a touchdown to extend the lead to eight points.
The Bulldogs' defense hung tough and proceeded to force an incompletion on fourth and long to cease Clayton's final threat and seal the victory.
“Being down our quarterback, we were low on numbers this week," Clayton coach John Chamberlin said. "I think we had one day only 23 guys were able to practice due to injury. These kids came out here and battled. We have to get better and we’re going to get better”.
Glassboro exerted it's strength with another defining performance after pushing Woodstown - South Jersey Group I's top team - to overtime last week.
Coach Tim Hagerty believes his team's gutsy win over Clayton showed how competitive the Bulldogs can be. He also thought it illustrated how important the rekindled rivalry is to both towns.
“Both of these teams have kids that are playing against their cousins, best friends, and borderline brothers with how close some of these kids are," Hagerty said. "They got us last year and this year we just snuck by them, but I hope it’s a rivalry that’s here to stay”.
Harden finished 3-for-6 passing for 40 yards and a touchdown, and added 41 yards on the ground.
“I’m always looking forward to throwing the ball as a quarterback," Harden said. "But in a game like this where it’s raining, I’m willing to do what I have to do and step up and help our team move forward.
"I’m a football player," Harden added. "I’ve been doing this for all of my life and I just want to win. I’m going to do whatever I can to put us in that position."