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RUMSON -- The Rumson-Fair Haven football team's defense was just about flawless for the first two games of the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III Playoffs, but in order to capture the sectional championship, it would have taken a third perfect game on defense.

Rumson's defense kept Woodrow Wilson in check for three-and-a-half quarters but the Tigers exploded for 20 points in the last 5:42 of the game to run away with a 28-6 win over the Bulldogs and a third straight sectional championship dating back to 2018.

Wilson standout quarterback Devin Kargman threw for 205 yards and hit four big plays in the passing game, but his Tigers needed the running game and the defense to secure the win and the title. Kargman ran for a one-yard touchdown run and running back Naz'sir Oglesby raced for two touchdowns and 142 yards on 26 carries.

"Their speed was tremendous," Rumson coach Jerry Schulte said. "They close as well as any team I have seen. It's tough to run any offense against that."

Woodrow Wilson's Naz'sir Oglesby tries to elude Rumson Fair Haven's Ryan McKay. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Woodrow Wilson's Naz'sir Oglesby tries to elude Rumson Fair Haven's Ryan McKay. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

Meanwhile, the Woodrow Wilson defense held Rumson-Fair Haven to one first down in the first half and 144 total yards for the game and added to the lead in the last minute of the game with a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown by Julius Dominquez.

During the first two rounds of the state playoffs, not only did Rumson-Fair Haven shutout both Oakcrest and Burlington Township -- the Bulldogs did so while not allowing a first down in either game. In the first-round win over Oakcrest, the Bulldogs held the opposition to a paltry five total yards of offense.

"We liked seeing that," Kargman said. "We always like competition and we wanted to come here and prove that we're not any ordinary team. We didn't feel like they were going to shut us out at all and we were definitely going to get first downs on them. We just came in confident."

Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Photo by Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com

Despite the offensive woes in the first half and the game going off the rails over the final six minutes, Rumson found itself with a chance to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter thanks to a workmanlike defensive effort and one drive in which the Bulldogs finally found a vulnerability in the Tigers defense.

Senior quarterback Colin Kennedy marched Rumson down the field with a no-huddle attack, keyed by a 31-yard connection through the air to junior Scott Venancio down to the Woodrow Wilson 11 yard-line. Kennedy then found sophomore Nick Rigby with a pass to get to the two yard-line and a facemask penalty tacked on the extra yard to give the Bulldogs first-and-goal from the one.

Kennedy plowed into the end zone on the next play to cut the deficit to 8-6. On the two-point play, however, Damir McCrary sacked Kennedy to deny the Bulldogs the tying conversion.

Rumson-Fair Haven quarterback Colin Kennedy. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)
Rumson-Fair Haven quarterback Colin Kennedy. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

On the first Woodrow Wilson play after the kickoff, Oglesby squashed any momentum Rumson had. The Tigers tailback took a handoff running left and immediately cut back against the flow of the play and bolted 57 yards for the touchdown.

Even after the touchdown, Rumson still had a chance to keep its deficit at one score if it could stop Wilson on the two-point conversion. On the initial attempt, Wilson was flagged for an illegal block, but Rumson committed pass interference and a personal foul to move Wilson to the one-and-a-half yard-line for the retry. Kargman muscled his way in for the conversion and the 10-point lead.

The Tigers don't have a kicker and tried the two-point conversion on all four of their touchdowns.

After Rumson turned the ball over on downs, Oglesby capped the ensuing Wilson drive with a nine-yard touchdown run with 1:12 left. Kargman kept the drive alive by dropping in a 30-yard pass to Judah Anthony on a wheel route on third-and-8 from the Rumson 43.

Anthony's reception was the last of four pass plays of 30 or more yards for Wilson.

Woodrow Wilson's Judah Anthony chased by Rumson's Luke Jamin. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Woodrow Wilson's Judah Anthony chased by Rumson's Luke Jamin. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

"We saw in our preparation that their linebackers didn't like to move out of the box," Kargman said. "We thought our slot receivers should have a big day because their linebackers didn't want to move, so we felt like we could attack that all game and we did."

A 52-yard strike to Will Love on a seam route over the middle set up Wilson's first touchdown with just under four minutes left in the first quarter. It was not easy, however, as Rumson held Oglesby to a three-yard run from the four yard-line and stuffed Kargman on second down.

Wilson's third-down play got easier when Rumson jumped offsides and move the ball to the one-half yard-line. Kargman called his own number and just barely crossed the line for the opening touchdown, followed by a pass from Kargman to Anthony for the two-point conversion.

Woodrow Wilson's Devin Kargman. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com
Woodrow Wilson's Devin Kargman. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

Rumson's offense took a major hit early in the second quarter when senior starting tailback Geoff Schroeder limped off with an ankle injury and did not return. Schroeder got in just five touches -- three runs and two catches -- for a total of 19 yards before leaving the game.

"That didn't help," Schulte said. "You lose your number one tailback, that doesn't help the cause. You never know what's going to come up, you've just got to play through it."

While Wilson moves on to face the winner of Saturday's South Group III championship between Delsea and Cedar Creek, Rumson finishes off a 9-2 season in which the Bulldogs spent time as the Shore's No. 1 team thanks to dominant performances against Wall, Donovan Catholic and Toms River North.

"We're proud of the program and everything we did this year," Schulte said. "We just ran into a better team tonight."

Rumson-Fair Haven junior Scott Venancio. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)
Rumson-Fair Haven junior Scott Venancio. (Photo: Tom Smith | tspsportsimages.com)

Box Score

Woodrow Wilson 28, Rumson-Fair Haven 6

First Downs159
Passing Yards20581


Wilson (8-2)8002028
Rumson-FH (9-2)00066


Scoring Summary

WW - Devin Kargman 1-yard run (Judah Anthony pass from Kargman)

RFH - Colin Kennedy 1-yard run (Pass failed)

WW - Naz'sir Oglesby 57-yard run (Kargman run)

WW - Naz'sir Oglesby 9-yard run (Pass failed)

WW - Julius Dominquez 64-yard interception return (Run failed)


Individual Stats

Rushing - WW: Naz'sir Oglesby 26-142, Judah Anthony 1-5; Devin Kargman 6-(-18); RFH: Dan Garvey 7-45; Geoff Schroeder 3-9; Alister Orr 3-6; Colin Kennedy 13-3

Passing - WW: Devin Kargman 11-20-0, 205; RFH: Colin Kennedy 11-21-1, 81

Receiving - WW: Will Love 3-90; Judah Anthony 3-70; Michael Estremera 2-23; Yasir Matthews 1-14; Naz'sir Oglesby 2-8; RFH: Scott Venancio 2-34; Nick Rigby 4-14; Geoff Schroeder 2-10; Jack McCarren 1-10; Dan Garvey 1-8; Nick Marchakitus 1-5

Interceptions-Return Yards - WW: Julius Dominquez 1-62


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