By DAVE O’SULLIVAN
ABSECON — The Holy Spirit Spartans knew that if they beat undefeated St. Augustine Prep on Friday night it would be a statement win. But it was the Hermits who made an emphatic statement, scoring 20 points in the second quarter and 14 more in the third to cruise to a 41-0 victory in one of the week’s most highly anticipated games.
Junior quarterback Josh Zamot had perhaps his best game of the season, completing 11-of-15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a 40-yard rushing touchdown of his own in the fourth quarter to put a stamp on one of the Hermits’ most impressive victories of the season.
Both teams came out fired up on defense and much of the first quarter was a stalemate. The Hermits were able to contain Holy Spirit senior running back Reggie Jean-Charles, one of the top runners in South Jersey, limiting him to 64 yards on 22 carries. His counterpart, Kyle Dobbins, another fantastic South Jersey running back, collected 87 yards on 13 carries and scored on runs of 43 and 10 yards.
“It feels great. Everyone played hard until the final buzzer, and it’s great to win,” said St. Augustine linebacker Quinn Dolan. “(Reggie) runs real hard, and that’s a credit to him, but we played hard and stepped up. Everyone just played well, as usual, and it’s on to the next game.”
“The offensive line deserves all the credit. Without them, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do and Kyle wouldn’t be able to do what he does,” Zamot said. “I scored one (rushing) and Kyle scored two, and we were able to score twice in the passing game, and that’s because of them.”
The Hermits (6-0) got on the board early in the second quarter when Dobbins finally broke free, bursting around the right side for a 43-yard touchdown run. St. Augustine’s defense then forced another Holy Spirit punt, and on the ensuing possession, Zamot found a wide-open Josh Daids down the middle of the field for a 36-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 13-0. Prep extended its lead to 20-0 when Zeke Ennis caught a 66-yard touchdown pass from Zamot, breaking a pair of tackles inside the 20-yard line to find paydirt.
“Every week I think I’m getting better and better. I’m going to practice every day, working on the same plays, and my progressions are getting better. The timing I have with my teammates is getting better, and we’re seeing that when we get out on the field,” Zamot said. “I always feel like I have to make a couple of plays in the passing game. I can’t leave it to Kyle to do it all by himself, even though he can. The passing game was open and Zeke, Shamere (Collins) and (Josh) Daids were able to make plays for me.”
Zamot has made great strides in just his first season under center. He took over for the graduated Jose Tabora, who had an outstanding career as a Hermit.
“This offseason, he worked harder than anyone I know. He wanted to get better, he worked hard, and now it’s showing” Dolan said of Zamot.
The Hermits ended any hope of a Holy Spirit (5-1) comeback when Ennis stopped the Spartans’ best drive of the night by picking off a pass at the 15-yard line and returning it 85 yards to house. That gave St. Augustine a 27-0 lead, and later in the third quarter Dobbins scored from 10 yards out. A two-point conversion pass from Zamot to Ennis gave the Hermits a 34-0 lead.
“This was a huge game. A lot of people probably thought we were going to lose this game or it would be close, but we came out here and shut them out,” Zamot said. “They got zero and we put up 41 points on the board. Our offense is good, but this really shows how good our defense is as well.”
Added Dolan, “We treat every game the same and we come in with the same mentality. It doesn’t matter if the other team is undefeated. It took us a while to get going today, but we played hard and went out and did what we did.”
Contact Dave O’Sullivan: email@example.com; on Twitter @GDsullysays
By DAVE O’SULLIVAN