State titles for Wildcats and Spartans


football-webSt. Joseph running back Miles Pease tries to slip past three St. Mary’s defenders, in the Wildcats’ championship game last weekend.

Two local Catholic high schools won their respective football championships Dec. 8, as Holy Spirit (Absecon) defeated Immaculata 30-6 in the State Non-Public II title game, and St. Joseph (Hammonton) defeated St. Mary 36-0 in the State Non-Public I title game.

Both games were played at the College of New Jersey in Ewing Township.

The Holy Spirit Spartans won their third straight title, led by first-time head coach John Iannucci. With 10 minutes, 18 seconds left in the first quarter, the Spartans scored the first touchdown of the game, as linebacker Franco Rifici ran the pigskin in for 10 yards. The Spartans scored 24 unanswered points until the fourth quarter when Immaculate scored a touchdown, but missed a 2-point conversion.

The Spartans’ defense was also effective, stopping an Immaculata team that had scored at least 30 points in five straight games.

For the season, the Spartans finished 8-4.

The St. Joseph Wildcats won their fourth straight title. Under head coach Paul Sacco, the Wildcats have won 15 state championships since the Non-Public playoffs started in 1993.

St. Joseph scored on their first possession, as senior quarterback Anthony Giagunto ran 8 yards into the end zone.

Winning the Cape-Atlantic American League Conference, which it just started competing in this year, St. Joseph played a tougher schedule, against schools with larger enrollments.
For the year, St. Joseph finished 10-1.