PENNSVILLE (N.J.) - The Pitman High School football team needed one more win to secure an outright divisional title over Lower Cape May.
The Panthers' goal came to fruition with a 14-7 victory over Pennsville in a West Jersey Football League Royal Division matchup on Friday night.
Pitman also clinched its first playoff berth since 1999.
"It tells you who we are as a program and especially this year," Pitman coach Chris Thomas said. "We've encountered a lot of setbacks over the years. We've been as low as you can imagine and this year we've reached new heights."
In 2017, the program was set back to play a junior varsity-only schedule to avoid folding the program as a whole. Five years later, the team has established higher standards.
"We knew at some point in time it would all come together," Thomas said. "We think we're getting to that point."
Keros Cooper's 75-yard touchdown proved to be the difference in Pitman's 14-7 win over Pennsville on Friday, October 21, 2022. Chris Baker/D2 Sports Network
Pitman trailed 7-0 heading into halftime. On the first drive of the third quarter, Chase Rollins punched it in from a yard out to even the contest at 7-7.
In the fourth quarter, Keros Cooper dashed for a 75-yard run up the sideline for a touchdown that proved to be the difference.
"I can't even put into words what's going through my head right now," Cooper said. "We came from playing J.V. in 2017 and minimal varsity games in 2018, and now we're division champions. No one had hope for us and it's great to see the things we've done as a program to get to where we are now."