As we enter into the second week of the NJSIAA State Playoffs we see first hand the teams that are making their mark for the season. A team that has been the power to match their incredible fan base in the Seraphs of Mater Dei Prep. The Seraphs are coming into the playoff with a 6-3 record only falling to two Shore teams, Wall and Rumson Fair-Haven. The third was from an out of state match-up that Mater Dei Prep athletics arrange to prepare their football team for strong competition.
Having the first week of the playoffs, the team had the opportunity to prepare for their opponent, Pope John XXIII. Pope John XXIII sits in one of the strongest football brackets here in the Garden State, playing teams like Paramus Catholic, Bergen Catholic, and Delbarton all who hold a dominating athletics history. However, the team has fallen to 1-9 record for the season but with such a stacked schedule their numbers may be a misrepresentation on the skills they bring to the field.
With Mater Dei Prep winning the toss they decided to defer allowing the team to receive the ball during the second half of the game. With Pope John receiving the ball first, they were immediately overwhelmed by the Seraph defense forcing the team to punt. This was the opportunity, Malik Ingram, one of the Seraphs highlight players need to push down the field for a touchdown. Ingram has been a “strongman” player for the team the past few years as his power blindsides the d-line that tries hard to catch-up to his movements.
With Pope John back on the offense they were met with the Seraph defense as Dominick Giudice came in with a sack that halted them at fourth down. As Mater Dei received the ball the possession was transferred back to Pope John as Billy Gould intercepted the pass from Alex Brown. This gave Pope John their spotlight to make in the endzone for the following play by Jarelle Robinson. With the score tied, the game was any sides for the taking.
Like a cannon, Ingram shot 60 yards down the field for a touchdown that immediately struck Pope John with a hard hit. The Seraphs have repeatedly shown time and time again that they are capable of big plays and adapting to the defense lines strategic maneuvers. This is a team you don’t want to allow finding the opening. Entering into the second quarter Mater Dei’s Clarence Lewis went in for another touchdown.
Pope John answered the touchdown with a great push to the endzone but Malik Ingram was back with another touchdown that brought the score to 28-14 by the end of the first half. The cheer team took the field to show off their team spirit alongside some of their talented cheering skills for the halftime performance.
Coming back on the field the fans cheered for the team they love so much. The third quarter was for the Seraphs. Malik Ingram ran the majority of the opening plays and scored a quick touchdown after a tremendous run. Following, Isaiah Noguera came down the field for another Seraph touchdown.
Entering into the fourth quarter Pope John tried to add points on the board as they were on the edge of the endzone but Clarence Lewis got in front of the pass and intercepted the ball at the third-yard line. Mater Dei went down the field for another touchdown by Kyree Drake who made an 82-yard run. Mater Dei secured the win with their defense consistently attacking the ball blocking Pope John from reaching the end zone.
With a final score of 49-14, the Seraph will go on to play in one of the most anticipated games of the year. The rematch from last year’s state playoff final, Red Bank Catholic. The Caseys last year took home the championship at Metlife Stadium against the Seraphs. Now, the Caseys will host the game at Count Basie Park on November 22 at 7 pm. The crowd is expected to be large and full of football spirit for their respective teams. This is a game you don’t want to miss out on.