Football: Lenape Wins Big 2nd-Half Comeback Against No. 9 Millville


The Lenape Indians running onto the field led by the Lenape and American Flag

This past Friday, September 30th, the Lenape Indians faced off against Millville High School’s football team on Lenape’s new turf field. Both the away and home stands were packed with fans waiting to cheer on their team and watch the game take place. With the game about to start, the Lenape Indians stormed the field with Lenape’s flag leading the way. Lenape had won the prior week so the morale was high and expectations were set. Millville had been ranked #9 in the state and had a couple of star wide receivers on their roster.

The coin toss took place then both teams lined up with Millville getting ready to receive the kick. Lenape’s kicker, Ethan Blackburn, kicked the ball and the game was on its way.

The first quarter was tough for Lenape as no points were gained. Lenape was able to stop Millville on their first drive but offensively, Lenape was not able to create anything themselves. The first quarter was back and forth with neither team being able to get in field goal range or convert to get a touchdown. With time winding down in the first quarter, Millville started moving down the field with no contest from Lenape’s defense. Eventually, Millville’s quarterback, Jacob Zamot, was able to complete a pass to wide receiver Donte Smith for a 48-yard Millvile touchdown. With the extra point by Jayden Raynis, the score became 0-7 Millville as the first quarter came to a close.

The second quarter would not get any better for Lenape and its offense or defense. Lenape had the ball first but on 4th and down, the team could not convert and turned the ball over on downs. With this early turnover from Lenape, Millville capitalized on the field advantage and shot a 28-yard field goal made by Jayden Raynis. This left the score with Lenape down 0-10 to Millville. Things only got worse from here for Lenape. No offense was created by Lenape and the team was forced to punt multiple times during this quarter. With Millville having the ball on their 20-yard line, quarterback Jacob Zamot was able to throw the ball to Ta-Ron Halie and score an 80-yard touchdown. The field goal was made by Jayden Raynis, leaving the score 0-17 Millville going into halftime.

I asked Lenape defensive player Riley Rodriguez how the team morale was as Lenape went into halftime. He said that even though the team was down 0-17, they “were still in it.” Knowing they could still win the game, Lenape entered the second half more than ready to prove what they had to.

Lenape lining up for a pregame talk from Coach Joe Wojceichowski

Since Millville received the ball in the first half, this meant that Lenape would be receiving in the second. The ball was kicked and the second half of the game commenced. While Lenape did not score on their first drive, it was evident that their passion to play had increased and they were able to move the ball more easily. This was the same for the defense because Millville was barely able to move the ball and had to punt multiple times during this quarter. As the end of the 3rd quarter was nearing, Lenape was able to get the ball to Millville’s 12-yard line. Lenape quarterback Jaelin Mims was able to throw the ball to Lenape wide receiver Javier Best for a 12-yard Lenape touchdown. The field goal was made by Ethan Blackburn and the third quarter closed with Lenape still trailing Millville 7-17.

Lenape went into the last quarter with more passion than ever and the knowledge that they needed to hold off Millville and score two more times. The defense started by playing at the top of their game by making Millville punt again on every possession and holding them to not scoring a point. Lenape’s offense also played their best by moving the ball and getting first downs. With less than half the time remaining in the fourth quarter, Lenape was on Millville’s 19-yard line and needed to score urgently. Quarterback Jaelin Mims threw a fly ball into the end zone and Michael Lemay made a diving catch for a 19-yard Lenape touchdown. The field goal was made by Ethan Blackburn and Lenape was right back in the game with the score being 14-17 Millville. Millville got the ball back but not for long because Lenape’s defense was able to hold them off and force them to punt on fourth down. With time winding down, Lenape was able to run the ball and find places to gain yards. With Lenape again right on the edge of the Millville endzone, Zyaire Fleming ran the ball in for a 5-yard Lenape touchdown. With Ethan Blackburn making the field goal, this made the score 21-17 Lenape for the first time in this game. With less than three minutes left, all Lenape had to do was stop Millville from scoring any points. Millville was able to move down the field but with 15 seconds left and Millville on 4th and short, Lenape was able to sack Millville’s quarterback and force a turnover on downs. With Lenape going into victory formation and the fans going crazy in the bleachers, Lenape ended up winning the game 21-17 after an amazing second-half comeback and 21 unanswered points.

Overall, Lenape had a tough start with many struggles on offense and defense, but in the end, they were able to stay composed and not only score three touchdowns but also hold off Millville to not scoring a single point. This makes Lenape’s record 3-2 on the season and they face off against Cherokee in Marlton this Friday, October 7. While Cherokee might be a tough matchup for Lenape, after winning this past game they have proved to us they can achieve anything they want when they work hard and play well. Hopefully, the future brings more wins and success for our football team.