Red Devils suffer third loss in a row to Hammonton

Friday’s defeat at home highlighted the strengths — and areas of growth — for the varsity team


Caroline Browning

The Red Devils take the field last Friday night against Hammonton

Aaron Rigby, Sports Editor

Heading into Friday’s game, the Red Devils were looking to redeem themselves after losing two games in a row. On September 16, they suffered their first loss of the season after starting off 3-0 in a 15-28 game against Timber Creek. The following Friday, September 23, they lost their second consecutive game of the season 14-21 to Burlington Township. 

Prior to their game against RV, the Hammonton Blue Devils had a 4-1 record, one game better than RV, and some of those wins were dominating. Hammonton defeated Cherokee in its second game of the season 24-14, and beat Highland regional 40-7 the following week. Though Hammonton began its season 4-0, the Red Devils took on Hammonton a week after their first loss of the season which they suffered to Mainland Regional. 

Both teams were looking to avenge their previous losses coming into Friday’s matchup. 

At 6:32 p.m the game kicked off and Hammonton had possession first. The game was already off to a rocky start for the Red Devils after the first play of the game, in which #3 Hammonton sophomore running back Kenny Smith quickly slithered through RV’s defense and straight into the endzone, giving Hammonton a 7-0 lead in the first 15 seconds of the game. 

“The game is not going to go well if you start off by giving up a 55 yard touchdown,” said Head coach Garrett Lucas following the game.

After less than four minutes of the Red Devils pushing themselves up to the 30 yard line, the student section went berserk as RV scored the second touchdown of the game. Senior quarterback #3 Kevin Burr Jr. threw the touchdown pass to senior wide receiver #13 Jameir Rollins, tying the game 7-7 at the 7:51 mark in the first quarter. 

Shortly after RV scored their first touchdown of the game, the Blue Devils quickly responded, scoring their second touchdown of the game. Hammonton’s senior quarterback #8 Billy Way handed the football off to junior running back #7 Josh Camargo at the 31 yard line, who swiftly maneuvered himself around the defense of the Red Devils, rushing himself into the endzone, giving the Blue Devils a 14-7 lead over the Red Devils with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter. 

After a lengthy scoring drought, Hammonton once again scored a touchdown at 0:43 of the second quarter. Hammonton quarterback Way threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to running back Smith who caught the pass in the endzone for Hammonton’s third touchdown of the game and Smith’s second TD of the match. This made the game 21-7 heading into halftime, giving RV a tougher hill to climb in order to get back in the game. 

With 5:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, Burr passed to senior free safety #12 Jase Deiter who then passed to Rollins, who caught the ball in the endzone for a touchdown. However, about 20 seconds after the play the touchdown was rescinded due to a penalty on the play. The refs claimed that the pass was an “illegal forward pass” which meant that senior Deiter was too far forward to catch the pass from Burr, and then make the second pass to senior Rollins. This call overturned the touchdown, putting the score back at 21-7. 

After the overturned TD, the game had been in a scoring drought since halftime and had no end in sight. Not until Burr threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Deiter for the team’s second touchdown. This TD put the game at 21-14 with 3:57 remaining in the game, that is still plenty of time for the Red Devils to make a comeback in the game. 

The Red Devils played fierce defense, and got the ball back and had a chance to force the game to overtime or even win the game with a touchdown and successful two-point conversion. RV had 1:15 seconds to gain 85 yards and score a touchdown. Burr got the ball and had enough room to have clear field vision to make a successful pass for the first down. He finally threw the ball about 15-yards to senior running back #6 Jerimya Paula, but the pass was broken up by Hammonton’s defense.

That pass-breakup was the dagger in the game, putting an end to the match 21-14 with Hammonton coming out of the game victorious. Rancocas Valley has now lost their last three games after starting their season 3-0. 

Head coach Lucas said that coming into the season he “broke it up into three different sections: the first three games, next three games and final three games,” and that RV “definitely played the top teams in that last section.”

The Red Devils have more than a great chance at winning their next game against Delran if they can play the entire game the way they played the second half of this one. Even though they didn’t end up winning, their defense in the second half was close to perfect, compared to what it was in the first half. 

“We gave up 247 yards in the first half and went the entire second half giving up 17 yards, that’s a big difference,” Lucas said.

Rancocas Valleys’ next opponent, Delran, will go into Friday’s game against RV not having won a game yet in their last six. They have suffered some grueling losses this year, losing an away game to the Delsea Crusaders 47-7, then losing to Burlington Township 21-0 at home the following week, and then losing 31-0 to Willingboro at home the week after that. 

On top of Delran not being a particularly strong team, Coach Lucas might know some of the tendencies of some Delran players. 

“Next we got a familiar opponent in Delran, that’s where I used to coach,” he said. “It’s nice because I know the tendencies of some of the kids, what their efficiencies are and what their inefficiencies are, so that definitely helps.”