WINSLOW TOWNSHIP (N.J.) - In last season's New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Group 4 state semifinals, Mainland fell short by a single yard on a kick return by current Villanova running back Ja'Briel Mace.
A score would've provided Mainland with a convincing lead in the waning moments of what turned out to be a heartbreaking loss to Millville.
This year, there would be no doubt, no questions, and certainly no heartbreak.
Another Villanova commit assured a different outcome.
Mainland's Jamie Tyson scored a pair of touchdowns and intercepted two passes on defense as the Mustangs punched their ticket to the Group 4 state final with a 41-7 win over Winslow on Friday night.
Mainland improved its record to 13-0 and will face Ramapo in next week's Group 4 state championship at Rutgers University.
The Mustangs also avenged last season's loss to Millville with a 35-13 victory in last week's South Jersey Group 4 final.
Mainland's Jamie Tyson (16) and Stephen Ordille (17) celebrate after a play in the Group 4 state semifinals played at Winslow Township High School in Winslow, New Jersey on November 17, 2023. Lukas Guerrier/D2 Sports Network
Tyson previously shattered the school record for interceptions in a single season and now has 11. His 11th pick of the campaign resulted in a 76-yard house call. On offense, the Villanova commit hauled in three receptions for 69 yards and a pair of scores.
Mainland's defensive front headlined by Holy Cross commit Hunter Watson racked up six sacks. Rocco DeBiaso, Cohen Cook, Dan DeFeo, Ethan Schock, and Zach House each tallied a sack.
The Mustangs never trailed.
Stephen Ordille struck first with a six-yard rushing touchdown to cap a six-play opening drive. Ordille charted 25 rushes for 177 yards and two scores. The senior also intercepted a pass on defense.
Winslow showed signs of life late in the first half as Deante Ruffin located Texas A&M commit Jaylan Hornsby for a 75-yard touchdown to help cut the deficit to 21-7 with 4:25 left in the second quarter.
Ruffin entered the contest averaging 245 passing yards per game. Mainland's secondary limited him to 156 yards through the air.
Over the course of the season, Tyson has emerged as one of the Garden State's best defensive backs.
"He's been on every team's best wide receiver all season," Mainland coach Chuck Smith said. "We have all of the confidence in the world that he will cover the top receivers to the best of his ability every game."
Tyson's assignments throughout the season have been no easy task. The senior has guarded Millville's Lotzeir Brooks and Atlantic City's Sah'nye Degraffenreidt - a responsibility that requires speed and immense focus - this season, among others. A majority of Tyson's defensive assignments don't call for safety help in the secondary.
"I've been on an island all season," Tyson said. "I hear all the noise every week talking about oh, he's going to get burned by such and such, but the numbers speak for themselves."
Mainland didn't live in the past and let last week's dominance distract it from this week's task.
The Mustangs reached the same round of the playoffs as last season, and were determined to complete the job this time around.
"We didn't talk about the Millville win all week outside of film study," Smith said. "Most teams would just be satisfied with a win like that, but not us. Not these kids. This is the most focused and humble team I've coached and it was a big part in today's win and the success all season."