The Hammonton High School football team’s coaching staff went over old stats to determine that the Blue Devils have won approximately 95 percent of their games when they force at least two turnovers.
Hammonton had three takeaways in a dominating performance against Washington Township on Sept. 18, shutting out the Minutemen for three quarters en route to a 24-8 win and a 2-0 record.
“Our kids are flying around out there,” coach Jim Raso said. “We have more kids coming back this year on the defensive side of the ball than we do on the offense. We have some great senior leaders in Zac Barnard, who is doing a great job getting everybody in position. The defensive line was getting after the quarterback.
“The whole key for us is that we always preach two turnovers. We did a big study on us, and every time our defense was able to get two turnovers, the percentage grew to like 95 percent of the time we were able to win those games. We were able to get three turnovers (against Washington Township). The kids have their assignments and they are just playing hard.”
While the defense kept the Minutemen off the scoreboard through the first three quarters, the offense, especially the running attack, built a big lead.
After John Ryker opened the scoring with a 37-yard field goal in the opening quarter, Hammonton quarterback Malachi Winters scored on a one-yard run in the second for a 10-0 lead. Barnard added a two-yard touchdown run to help give the Blue Devils a 17-0 halftime lead.
The Blue Devils’ Mitchell Vitali scampered 30 yards for a third-quarter touchdown to put the Blue Devils up 24 points.
“The offensive line did a great job,” Raso said. “With the backs, if they are not carrying the ball, they are blocking as hard as they possibly can for one another. The foundation of Hammonton football is what we are going to stay with.
He added: “For the kind of kids we have — we are never the biggest, never the strongest and never the fastest — but the formula we use works best with the kids that we have.”
The Blue Devils welcome an 0-2 Pennsauken team to town on Sept. 25, but Raso said his squad can’t take their next opponent for granted.
“They are very athletic, they have athletes all over the place,” he said. “They run the spread offense, and it’s going to be a challenge for us. We have to stick with what we do. We have to do all the little things right. That’s what we preach to the kids.”