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Ahmad Ross runs for 3 TDs as No. 8 St. Joseph beats No. 9 Millville 56-6
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Ahmad Ross runs for 3 TDs as No. 8 St. Joseph beats No. 9 Millville 56-6

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MILLVILLE — Ahmad Ross will play linebacker next season at the United States Military Academy.

The 17-year-old Bridgeton resident anticipates a successful career at Army.

But first he wants to make the most of his final season as a running back with the St. Joseph Academy football team.

“I just really try to enjoy it now,” Ross said. “We really have great players, and it’s hard to beat us. So I just want to enjoy everything with my friends — my brothers — and win as many games as possible.

“I love my teammates. We all love each other.”

The senior rushed for 154 yards and scored three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats to a 56-6 victory over Millville in a West Jersey Football League nondivision game at Wheaton Field.

St. Joseph (2-1) is ranked No. 8 in The Press Elite 11. Millville (1-2) is ranked ninth.

Ross had a 42-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. He added scores of 28 and 57 yards in the third.

The latter touchdown gave the Wildcats a 42-6 lead.

“Personally, I feel like I had a slow start to the game,” said Ross, who had 60 yards at halftime. “The second half, (St. Joseph) coach (Paul) Sacco told me to get these guys going. I just tried to do my part and be a leader. I came down on my O-line hard. I knew they would respond.

“Everyone came out. Everybody did their job.”

St. Joseph senior quarterback Jayden Shertel rushed for 99 yards and had 65 passing yards. The 17-year-old from Hammonton ran for a 28-yard touchdown on fourth-and-3 late in the first quarter to put his team up 14-0.

Millville was coming off a 22-21 upset victory over St. Augustine Prep, which is ranked 10th in the Elite 11, and had momentum entering Saturday’s game.

“We knew they were going to be high off the win last week against the Prep,” Shertel said. “A lot of energy, obviously. They are an explosive team. All week, we just watched a lot of film and pretty much had their game plan down to a T. So it was just a matter of execution.”

Shertel, a senior, is committed to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to play baseball. This is his last season of competitive football.

He was pleased with his performance Saturday.

But he was more satisfied with the win.

“I am definitely not taking anything for granted, especially because this is a shortened season,” Shertel said. “Finishing the season with the guys that I’ve been in high school with the last three years means a lot to me. I’ve grown a tremendous bond with them. Just being out here with them, it means a lot.”

St. Joseph senior defensive end Keshon Griffin had a fumble recovery on the first play from scrimmage. Millville had six first-half drives but only one with five or more plays.

Millville got its lone score after Davonte White had an interception and LeQuint Allen had an 8-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

The Wildcats led 21-6 at halftime.

“Our game plan was trying to keep the ball away from them, which we did,” St. Joseph coach Paul Sacco said. “But our first half wasn’t a good first half. … We just weren’t blocking the right people. But the second half was totally different.

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“I was confident in this game, but we are still capable of playing better. We are still making too many mistakes. I know that sounds crazy (based on Saturday’s score), but we make some poor decisions sometimes.”

Millville coach Dennis Thomas said his team had a bad week of practice. Thomas added St. Joseph outcoached and outplayed the Thunderbolts in every phase.

“They just beat us and outmaneuvered us, and that’s what happens when you start reading a lot of clippings and thinking you’re something,” Thomas said. “It’s that’s simple. … We just need to have a better week of practice and get better.”

St. Joseph sophomore Richard Chandler recovered a fumble on special teams. Millville had a hard time generating any offense in the second half.

“Kudos to the coaching staff over there,” Thomas said. “The players, they came to play. They wanted it more than us.”

Jahqir Haley had a 38-yard interception return for St. Joseph. Cohl Mercado had a 11-yard TD run. Kevin Mayfield had 45 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

St. Joseph, which lost its first game but has now won two straight, will play at Vineland at 6 p.m. Friday.

“It’s good for morale and the kids’ confidence,” said Sacco, who wanted to give a shout-out to his junior lineman Myles Solomon, who had a season-ending surgery before the first game but has been on the sideline at every game. “We just have to keep getting better.”

St.Joseph 14 7 21 14— 56

Millville 0 6 0 0— 6

FIRST QUARTER

SJ— Mercado 11 run (DelGozzo kick)

SJ— Shertel 29 run (DelGozzo kick)

SECOND QUARTER

SJ— Ross 42 run (DelGozzo kick)

M— Allen 8 run (kick failed)

THIRD QUARTER

SJ— Ross 28 rush (DelGozzo kick)

SJ— Haley 38 interception return (DelGozzo kick)

SJ— Ross 57 rush (DelGozzo kick)

FOURTH QUARTER

SJ— Mayfield 2 run (DelGozzo kick)

SJ— Mayfield 31 run (DelGozzo kick)

RECORDS— St. Joseph 2-1; Millville 1-2

Contact: 609-272-7210

PMulranen@pressofac.com

Twitter @ACPressMulranen

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