Woodbury's Ibn Muhammad (16) and Ja'Bron Solomon (11) celebrate Muhammad's 13-yard touchdown catch in the Thundering Herd's 36-6 win over Maple Shade in the South Jersey Group 1 final on Saturday, November 12, 2022. Kiersten Cowgill/D2 Sports Network
WOODBURY (N.J.) - Ibn Muhammad was in eighth grade when the Woodbury High School football team terminated a 12-year sectional title drought in 2021.
Anthony Reagan, Jr. was there when the trophy was hoisted, but was unable to contribute as an ACL injury sidelined the junior for the duration of the season.
Almost a year later, Muhammad and Reagan, Jr. combined for three touchdowns as the Thundering Herd stampeded past Maple Shade, 36-6, in the South Jersey Group 1 final on Saturday afternoon. Woodbury secured its eighth sectional championship in school history.
Muhammad, a freshman, maneuvered through the Wildcats' secondary to reel in a 13-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Johnson to give the Herd the first lead of the contest. Muhammad's second touchdown catch of the opening half featured a few shedded tackles and a burst of speed, heightening Woodbury's lead to 22-0 with 2:09 left in the second frame.
"It feels good being with my new teammates," Muhammad said. "I just knew I had to push myself and be the best."
The freshman finished with three receptions for a game-high 84 yards and two touchdowns.
"It was great to have Ibn to be able to just trust the process," Woodbury coach Anthony Reagan said. "Early on, coming up from the youth level to high school, you think it's going to happen instantaneously, but he trusted in what we were doing.
As he was around us, he understood what Woodbury football is about. And now he done etched himself in that category as well as a Woodbury football player being successful with this program."
Reagan, Jr. contributed to a 29-point second quarter with an 80-yard touchdown run. The senior complemented his lone score with 172 yards on the ground. He also used a pair of 24-yard runs to help set up a six-yard rushing score by Ja'Bron Solomon.
However, his return hasn't administered a full dose of satisfaction just yet.
"It's just another step," Reagan, Jr. said. "We not satisfied until we're back at Rutgers. That's when I'm a be satisfied and happy."
From a father's perspective, Reagan could see his son was heartbroken during the injury rehabilitation process.
Even if it was subconscious.
Reagan, Jr.'s performance on Saturday was a culmination of his journey.
"That was special for Anthony," Reagan, Sr. said. "I know he had to really grind to get back to where he was at. His heart was hurting, but he was supportive of the team throughout the year. So when he came back this year, he knew that he wanted to be an active participant on the field. For him to be able to walk off as a champion, I'm very happy."
Johnson completed 11 out of 19 pass attempts for two touchdowns and 221 yards. The senior southpaw also ran for a score.
The Thundering Herd will face Salem in a rematch of last season's NJSIAA South Jersey Group 1 regional final in the Group 1 state semifinals at Cherokee High School next weekend.
Woodbury fell to the Rams, 34-8, in last year's regional title bout. The Thundering Herd also suffered a 21-20 setback while on a business trip to Walnut Street in Salem on October 22.
Through trail and error, Woodbury feels it's prepared for its third rodeo.
"I think now we know that we have to lock in," Reagan, Sr. said. "Each play is valuable. I think we learned that. Last year was a great experience, even though it was humbling. We got there and found out Salem was more prepared for that day. So what we did this year was make sure we locked in and focused on each team as if it was that day. So now I feel we'll be way more prepared to make that next step."