By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — With the Lower Cape May Regional High School football team down three two-way starters and four one-way starters due to injury, Jonas Lumbruno put the team on his back Thursday evening.
The junior running back and defensive back ran for four touchdowns, intercepted a pass in the end zone and broke up another pass at the goal line to carry the Caper Tigers to a 28-8 victory over Lindenwold in an NJSIAA consolation game.
Scoring four touchdowns “is great but at the end of the day if it wasn’t for the linemen I wouldn’t have gotten there,” Lumbruno said.
Lumbruno scored from a yard out to finish a 55-yard drive early in the second quarter. That was the lone score of the half, giving the Tigers a 6-0 lead at the break.
Lower began to pull away early in the fourth when Lumbruno rushed in from eight yards out to make the score 12-0. He helped set up the score by catching a 32-yard pass from Connor Eckel a few plays earlier.
After breaking up a pass along the goal line on fourth down to end a Lindenwold scoring threat, Lumbruno then ran through the heart of the defense for an 85-yard score to put the game out of reach.
Following Lindenwold’s lone touchdown, Lumbruno rushed in from 28 yards out for the final touchdown of the game.
“It was an amazing night for him,” Hindle said. “He has that level of athleticism. He’s worked his tail off. I’m really proud of him.”
Eric Konczyk and Eckel each had two-point conversion runs for Lower.
Lumbruno also ended a Lindenwold scoring threat by intercepting a pass in the end zone late in the first half.
Lower improved to 6-3 with the win, marking the first time the program has won at least that many games in a season since it finished 7-3 in 2010.
“After two 2-8 seasons, it feels really good,” Hindle said. “It’s good for the kids, it’s good for the community. … The kids have worked really, really hard and they’re in great shape. Not that we haven’t put the work in in past years, but it’s nice to see it pay off.”
Lower is scheduled to finish its season Thanksgiving morning against Middle Township.
“Being 6-3 isn’t going to matter on Thanksgiving,” Hindle said. “Middle is a good football team and we’re going to have work really hard to get ready for them.”