By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA — The Lower Cape May Regional Regional High School football team lost the lead in Thursday’s game when Overbrook scored a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.
One play later, the Caper Tigers grabbed that lead back for good.
Archie Lawler’s 65-yard kickoff return for a touchdown turned a 7-3 deficit into a 10-7 lead and kickstarted a strong Lower Cape May effort over the final three quarters of what turned into a 30-7 victory.
“Aside from a couple hiccups, this team has responded pretty much all year,” Lower coach Lance Bailey said. “They were giving us some things we thought we could take advantage of and to the kids’ credit we were able to do it.”
Marcus Hebron scored on a 13-yard run late in the first half to give the Tigers a 17-7 lead.
Lower then took control of the game on the second offensive play of the second half when Lawler turned a wide receiver screen pass into a 43-yard touchdown play.
Rob White scored the final touchdown on a 20-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Lower Cape May, which had entered the game with eight interceptions on the season, picked up three more against Overbrook (4-4). In addition to Lawler, Mike Cronin and Christian Campanero also each picked off passes.
“We’ve got a good, young group back there,” Bailey said. “They’ve been coached up well by Larry (Ziemba). He’s doing a great job with them. Every week they’re getting better.”
In addition to his touchdown, Hebron ran 14 times for 67 yards. White added 47 yards on his six carries to go alongside his touchdown. And Jayden Farrow chipped in with 45 yards on 14 rushes.
Lawler caught three passes for 65 yards. He now has 19 catches for 293 yards and four touchdowns on the season.
Wesley Tosto booted a 21-yard field, his third of the season, for Lower’s first points in the first quarter. He was also 3 for 3 on extra-point tries.
Defensively, Lower limited Overbrook to 162 yards of total offense as players such as White, Sean Connelly, Jackson Schiffbauer, Quinten Hagen and others controlled the line of scrimmage.
Lower (4-3) can finish with a winning record with a victory over Middle Township in the Anchor Bowl on Thanksgiving Eve.
“It’s to the kids’ credit and the coaches’ credit and everyone involved with all the adversity we’ve gone through this entire year just to get to this point,” Bailey said. “And it’s not just us. It’s statewide. And Middle’s gone through the same things we have. It’ll be great. Thanksgiving Eve, Middle-Lower. Ultimately, it comes down to us and what we do.”