The Hammonton High School football team jumped on Pennsauken early on Sept. 25, essentially putting the score out of reach in the first 12 minutes of a 56-24 victory.
The undefeated Blue Devils (3-0) ate up yards and seemingly scored at will, tallying all 56 points in the opening half.
Hammonton’s Zach Barnard and Mitchell Vitali both ended the game with more than 100 yards and combined for five touchdowns. Daniel Figueroa, who usually leads the way for his fellow backs, also found the end zone in the win.
“Our backfield has been doing a good job, and all three are new (this year),” Hammonton coach Jim Raso said. “They get better and better each game.”
He added: “The one thing we preached this week is that they were going to throw a lot guys in the box and if we take care of things up front, we can we get our backs to the second level. That’s what happened, and they found the end zone after that.”
Barnard had a huge game, finding pay dirt four times, scoring on runs of 5, 57 and 39 yards in the opening quarter. Barnard, who needed just 10 carries to amass 181 yards on the ground, also scored from 15 yards out in the second quarter.
“We talked about that it has been awhile since we had that kind of performance from any individual kid,” Raso said.
Vitali rushed seven times for 101 yards in the blowout win. He scored on an 11-yard run in the second quarter to help give the Blue Devils a 56-12 lead at halftime. Placekicker John Ryker was a perfect 8-for-8 on extra points.
Hammonton quarterback Malachi Winters also added to the ground attack, gaining 56 yards on just two carries, including a 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
“They broke a couple of tackles, but for the most part the guys did a good job blocking up front to get the guys to the second level,” Raso said. “Then the backs just had to make a move on (the) safety and they were off and running.”
Winters only attempted one pass, but that too added to Hammonton’s score total, as he found Victor Solis-Mays for a 69-yard touchdown.
While the Blue Devils’ offense was building a lead, it was the defense that kept getting the offense the ball in the opening quarter. Pennsauken scored just once in the first 12 minutes of the game.
Vitali and Izick Flores also picked off passes for Hammonton.
The Blue Devils next take on host Cherry Hill West on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. Cherry Hill West has dropped two straight games, including a 23-6 loss to Paul VI this past week, after winning its opener.
“They are much more physical than the team we faced this (past) week,” Raso said. “It’s a different challenge.”