Pennsville Memorial High School hosted the Schalick Cougars on this chilly autumn evening, a clear night with temperatures dipping to the low 60's.
The Eagles were looking to improve to 3-1 for the first time since 2016, when NFL running back Jonathan Taylor was tearing up the gridiron in his record-breaking campaign for Salem.
The night began with a long kickoff by Jackson Leino-- a touchback machine most of the time-- and a field-flipping carry from Levi Feeley-Childers straight to Pennsville's red zone.
Quarterback Kenai Simmons punched in the first score of the night, and after a fumble on Pennsville's second play from scrimmage, the Cougars booted a field goal to make it 10-0.
The Eagles didn't complete a pass until well into the second quarter; it lost them seven yards. They allowed a fourth-and-20 to be completed for a touchdown to fall behind, 17-0. Things were trending poorly.
Just before the half, Robert McDade delivered a great ball to his number-one wideout, Malik Rehmer, for a 23 yard score: a sign of life, and the momentum that the Eagles were hoping to take into halftime.
After the kickoff, Pennsville converted an important third down by way of Hayden Sherman, who's shown a knack for getting open the last couple of weeks. It was a tight window throw, and they all were tonight.
Pennsville capitalized on their momentum, scoring to cut the deficit to three after being down 17-0 on a run by Skye Eppes.
The defense needed to get their offense back on the field. They had Schalick on third down in their own territory when Simmons found Feeney-Childers for a 65 yard score on a crossing route.
After grinding back into the game, it was taken away in an instant.
The Cougars locked things down on defense after that. McDade struggled to connect with much of anything once game script forced the Eagles to pass. Receivers weren't getting much separation, and a couple of costly penalties killed drives.
It was all but over when Simmons threw his third touchdown, and fourth overall, to start the fourth quarter. He ran in a fifth score to put the Cougars on top 38-14. Three different receivers caught touchdowns for Schalick, and the Cougars scored at least one touchdown in every quarter.
With the game in hand, McDade threw his second touchdown of the night, this one to Tyree Young. It was a 38-20 final score.
Takeaways from the game
- Schalick Cougars are a complete team; all facets of their game played well. They're undefeated (5-0), and Pennsville gave a good fight until they were eventually overmatched. It didn't feel like a bad loss for the Eagles.
- Pennsville actually played better on defense than the score would suggest, especially the secondary again. Hunter Hiles breaks up deep passes every week. Unfortunately, they were burned by some explosive plays-- two 50+ yarders-- and couldn't get off the field. Schalick didn't punt or turn the ball over.
- Jackson Leino is consistently very good. The senior kicker for the Eagles is a really nice weapon to have on special teams when it comes to field position. Pennsville missed downing his lone punt at the Cougar goal line by about a foot. He can steal them a few points.
Around the Royal Division
The Royal Division teams all played non-conference games tonight with varying results.
Lower Cape May (4-0) stayed red hot, cooking Wildwood 34-0.
Pitman (1-2) hosted Riverside and lost by a closer score of 30-21.
Cumberland (2-2) beat Bridgeton in a high scoring battle, 37-27.
Gateway (0-3) is still looking for their first win, losing tonight 40-7 to Middle Township.
Pennsville (2-2) moves into a tie with Cumberland for second in the division with the loss tonight, 38-20.
Check last week's contests here.
The Eagles travel to Cumberland next Friday, September 29th, to break that tie.
- Pennsville delivers big Homecoming win against Overbrook - October 7, 2023
- Schalick Stays Unbeaten in Rout of Pennsville Eagles - September 23, 2023
- Pennsville dominates second half in win over Gateway Regional - September 16, 2023