By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA – The Lower Cape May Regional High School football team had just one possession in the first half of Friday’s game against Pennsville, save for one play with seven seconds left in the half.
The Tigers had quite a few more after halftime.
Lower scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to turn a 10-7 deficit into a 26-10 victory to improve to 2-0 on the season.
“We all thought we should have been winning (at halftime),” senior two-way lineman Jacob Bey said. “So we were angry. We used that anger to our advantage in the second half.”
Lower Cape May’s defense allowed Pennsville to go on two long drives that totaled more than 16 minutes of game time in the first half, the Eagles recording a field goal and a touchdown run by Randy Hall on the two drives.
The Tigers then conceded just one first down to Pennsville and scored on three of their five possessions in the second half.
“I like to use a phrase I got from (Alabama football coach) Nick Saban – be where your feet are,” Lower coach Lance Bailey said. “I told the kids they can’t let what happened in the first half affect what happens now. We challenged them at halftime to do that and to show more character and be more disciplined and to bring the fight to them and be more aggressive. To their credit, they did that.”
Lower Cape May used an extremely balanced offense to pull away from Pennsville. Hunter Ray completed 9 of 14 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 27 yards on six carries. Aiden McCarraher rushed 14 times for an even 100 yards and a touchdown. Isaiah Carr-Wing needed just four carries to pick up 33 yards and two touchdowns. And Braswell Thomas caught four passes for 61 yards and a score.
Also for Lower, Archie Lawler added three catches for 28 yards and Dennis Serra picked off a pass.
Lower Cape May improved to 2-0 on the young season. The Tigers play Cumberland next week.
“Yes, we’re 2-0, but we have a lot to fix and we’ll start on that right away,” Bailey said. “I don’t care who we play next week. We have to fix us first. We have good kids in our locker room and I’m confident that we’ll fix it and we’ll get better.”
Bey echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“We’re excited and hyped to be 2-0,” he said. “But we have to worry about going 1-0 next week.”
Prior to the game, Lower Cape May honored members of the football and cheerleading teams that were involved in the first game played on Steven Steger Memorial Field by making them honorary captains. Those honored included Ed Sherretta, Floyd “Flash” Hughes, Terry Shields, Ed McDuel, Betty Anne Sherretta and Beverly Shields. Also on hand was Dave Weinburg, representing his father, coach Norm Weinberg. Lower Cape May beat Hammonton, 6-0, in that contest, played in September 1962.