Twp returns to South Jersey’s elite


Leighanna Schweikert

Minutemen offense lines up against Clearview during week 3. The minutemen went on to win 30-7.

Jackson McCrae '23, Sports Editor

Six weeks into the season the Minutemen football team is near the top of South Jersey, holding a 5-1 record. Led by head coach Mike Schatzman, and senior captains Jo’Nathan Silver, Nah’mere Graves, Quamir Land, and Vinny LaRosa, the Minutemen are off to a blazing hot start.

The Minutemen annihilated Egg Harbor Township in their first game, walking away with a 46-14 win. Egg Harbor Township had no answer for Township’s rushing attack, as the Minutemen scored all their touchdowns on the ground. Sophomore QB Jared Dzierzgowski had three rushing TD’s, while Graves had 107 yards and two TD’s, and Silver and sophomore RB/LB Giuliano Scavetta both pitched in a TD.

The next week the Minutemen took on Rancocas Valley and won handily, 28-6. Dzierzgowski threw a TD to Silver, but the Minutemen once again won by using their run game. Dzierzgowski had two more TD’s running the ball, and Silver ran for 132 yards and a TD.

The Minutemen’s next opponent was Clearview and it was a repeat of the first two weeks, a 30-7 rout. Silver once again led the way with 126 yards and two TD’s, while Dzierzgowski and junior Mike Lotsey Jr. each ran one in.

The Minutemen took on Cherokee next, a South Jersey powerhouse, and escaped with a 21-14 win in an overtime thriller. Graves had the Minutemen’s two TD’s in regulation and after a crucial sack by junior Nate Leone, the Minutemen forced OT. Again it was Graves who punched in the go-ahead TD, and soon after Graves led the way on the fourth down stop to secure the win.

However, the Minutemen’s hopes of an undefeated season were dashed by Kingsway the next week, falling 21-14. Land hauled in a 52-yard TD from Dzierzgowski, and Silver ran one in. However, up one point late in the game the Minutemen defense just couldn’t keep Kingsway out of the endzone, and a successful two-point conversion was the nail in the coffin.

The next week was the polar opposite of the Kingsway game, as the Minutemen controlled the game from beginning to end, beating Williamstown 42-7 in the homecoming game. It was another dominant game on the ground, with Silver ending the game with 202 yards and two TD’s. Graves and senior Tracy Marshall both added in another TD on the ground, while sophomore Logan Perez caught a 52 yard touchdown from Dzierzgowski.

One term emerges watching the Minutemen: bully ball. With the exception of the second half against Kingsway, the Minutemen defense has been stifling, and the Minutemen can run the ball on anyone they want. However, Coach Schatzman says the abundance of running plays is not a predetermined gameplan, saying, “The game dictates what you do as an offense, we were in control, for specifically the first three games, where we didn’t really have to air the ball out, especially in the second half.”

While the hot start was a surprise to some Township fans, that’s not the case for the players, as Land said, “We put in work during the preseason and summer camp it’s really showing how hard we worked.”

While Washington Township football has historically been associated with domination, in the past few years they haven’t played at a level synonymous with the Minutemen’s reputation. However, the Minutemen appear to be back, but Graves said they’re not satisfied, saying, “we have to keep doing better and better, and try to go higher than any Township team has before.”

There has also been a noticeable energy shift from the team. This has not gone unnoticed by Silver, who said, “last year the seniors really connected the team in a special way, and that carried onto this year. We really have a special bond with our whole entire team.”

While the captains have had a massive impact on the field, Coach Schatzman has seen their impact off the field, saying, “They’ve been leaders in school, they’ve been leaders in the locker room,” and that they’ve been, “perfect examples of hard work and being committed.”

With the regular season coming to a close in two weeks, the Minutemen are looking to finish strong against Eastern and St. Joseph. With playoff seeding on the line, a win would be huge for the Minutemen to grab some momentum heading into the playoffs.