Boys Varsity Football
Game Summaries & Headlines.
Haddonfield makes it 13 out of last 14 against Heights on Turkey Day
HADDONFIELD - Roughly 3,500 fans filed into Haddonfield’s stadium Thursday to see a yearly tradition that had gone one way for 12 of the last 13 years.
Make that 13 of 14.
The Mayor’s Trophy will remain with the Haddons, who jumped out to a 17-0 lead by halftime and cruised to a 31-0 win over rival Haddon Heights.
“There’s no feeling like winning your last game own your own turf,” senior tight end and defensive lineman Jason Garstkiewicz said. “Especially in a game that means so much to so many people.
“The second that final clock rang, I felt that sense of accomplishment.”
Fellow upperclassman Brendan Gilmartin felt it too. The 18 year old welled up with emotion as he explained Haddonfield's (6-4) ritual from practice the night before.
Twelfth-grade players speak in front of the team. Together, the squad burns a shoe. Under the old sod, they used to bury it.
Today’s artificial turf doesn’t allow for the dig. Still, the ceremony remains an important moment – and extra motivation.
Gilmartin watched Garstkiewicz – a longtime friend who lost his leg to bone cancer in seventh grade and now plays with a prosthetic – address the group Wednesday night.
It helped spark him on Thanksgiving morning. Gilmartin finished with two touchdown tosses, 109 yards in the air and 41 more on the ground to go with four tackles and a sack. He even caught a pass to convert a fourth down on the game’s first drive.
That enabled Gabe Klaus to sprint in from 10 yards out to open the score just four minutes, 20 seconds into play.
“Obviously it’s a big mix of emotions,” Gilmartin said after he handed the large trophy to a teammate. “It really hits you. What Jason went through in the seventh grade, it was really emotional hearing him talk about that last night.
“He is one of the toughest kids you’ll ever meet. It’s just an inspiration to all of us.”
Midway through the second period, Gilmartin found Spencer Flores on a post for a 51-yard score. A field goal from Henry Grozier made it 17-0 at the break.
Early in the second half, Klaus put the game out of reach on an inside power play. He broke through the Garnets (6-4) and rolled 65 yards to pay dirt.
“We wanted to get after them in the second half and get to it,” Klaus said. “The line and fullback made me a huge hole. I hit it hard and sprung one.”
The junior tailback finished with 86 yards on five carries.
“They played well,” Heights’ coach Chris Lima said. “That’s a good Group 2 football team over there.
“You can’t make mistakes like that. I was shocked at some of the mistakes we had all over the field. We didn’t have those all year.”
Gilmartin’s 22-yard strike to Matt Burns put the final touches on Haddonfield’s fourth consecutive success in the series that dates back to 1902.
The Haddons upped their overall advantage to 60-42-6.
“There’s so much tradition,” Garstkiewicz explained. “Every year we go out and try to be better.
“Being able to be a Haddon after watching in the stands since the day I was born, it means so much.”
Mark Trible; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org