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Gloucester shuts out West Deptford in playoff opener

Jake Zearfoss rushes for a huge gain in a 21-0 win over Schalick on Friday, August 26, 2022. (Photo: 856 Photography)

GLOUCESTER CITY (N.J.) - The Gloucester High School football team knew it had a tough task on its hands with West Deptford.

It overcame the strength of the Eagles with a 14-0 win in the Central Jersey Group 2 quarterfinals on Friday night.

"We knew they were big and strong," Gloucester coach Rob Bryan said. "Coach (Jason) Morrell is a wonderful coach and has his players disciplined. So credit to them."

The game pitted two physical defenses against each other. The strength in the trenches proved to be the difference for the Lions.

Damere Finley led the way for Gloucester's stifling defensive effort with a sack and multiple tackles for a loss.

The offensive line paved the way for running back Jake Zearfoss. The junior ran for a score with 7:47 left in the opening quarter and accumulated over 100 yards on the ground.

Zearfoss accredited his success to the strength of his offensive line.

"I'm beyond proud of them," he said. "We come in day in and day out and work our tails off every week."

Bryan echoed Zearfoss' statement in agreement.

"The line and Zearfoss are special," Bryan said. "They grind it out weekly at practice and are just straight up tough. They're a very competitive group."

The standout two-way player also fulfills duties at linebacker and safety. Those efforts contributed to the shutout on Friday night.

"It's something I'm prepared for," Zearfoss said. "We're a small Group 2 school, we all know we're going both ways and we just have to keep working."

The Eagles concluded their season with a 4-5 record.

"We've played an unbelievable regular season schedule and I truly think Gloucester is one of the best teams we've played all year," West Deptford coach Jason Morrell said. "Rob does a great job and he coaches a very physical program like us."

The Lions will travel to second-seeded Haddonfield next week in the Central Jersey Group 2 semifinals. It'll be the first time the two teams face off.

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