WAYNE — On a cold and snowy Friday night in North Jersey, the DePaul Catholic High School football team earned a 35-14 victory over St. Joseph Academy in a state Non-Public B semifinal.
The second-seeded Spartans advanced to the final where they will face top-seeded Red Bank Catholic, which beat fourth-seeded Holy Spirit on Friday. St. Joseph fell to 6-3.
DePaul scored on its opening drive when quarterback Derek Zammit connected with De’zie Jones for a 24-yard score with 7 minutes, 32 seconds left in the first quarter.
St. Joseph recovered a fumble with six minutes left in the first half, finding itself at DePaul’s 36. Zach Cruet made a fourth-down reception that set the Wildcats up at the 3-yard line. Ty Mercado got the Wildcats on the board with his 3-yard TD run to tie the game 7-7.
The Spartans broke the tie with just seconds left in the half. Anthony Almeida rushed into the end zone from 14 yards out to put DePaul up 14-7 at halftime.
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Snow began to fall in the second half, with St. Joseph getting the ball first. The elements played a factor as both teams traded punts in the third quarter.
St. Joseph tied the game with 4:34 left in the third, when James Mantuano ran it in from the 1-yard line to make it 14-14. That was all the offense the Wildcats would get the rest of the game.
It didn’t take DePaul long to take the lead back. Following St. Joe’s touchdown, Jadin Johnson caught the ensuing kickoff and brought back 96 yards to the end zone to make it 21-14.
With 8:54 left in the fourth, the Spartans extended their lead after Zammit rushed into the end zone.
DeShawn Stewart intercepted a Wildcats pass for the Spartans. DePaul took possession at the St. Joe 5, and Max McMillian rushed into the end zone to seal the game.
DePaul 7 7 7 14 — 35
St Joseph 0 7 7 0 — 14
D — Zammit 24 pass to Jones (Monteyne kick good)
S — Mercado 3 run (kick good)
D — Almeida 14 run (Monteyne kick good)
S — Mantuano 1 run (kick good)
D — Johnson 96 run (kick good)
D — Zammit 1 run (kick good)
D — McMillian 5 run (kick good)