All season, Isaiah Worth has been a vocal leader while on the field as a defensive lineman and fullback for the West Deptford High School football team.
Friday night, Worthy let his hands do the talking.
Worthy blocked a pair of extra points and hauled in his first career touchdown pass, leading West Deptford to a 28-20 win over Paulsboro, in Colonial Conference action.
The win improved the Eagles to 10-0 prior to their Group 2 semifinal showdown with Woodstown, next Friday.
“I just wanted to do it for the team and do it for the seniors,” Worthy said. “This is their last time playing Paulsboro and I wanted it to be a win.”
Worthy’s biggest play of the game came with 17 seconds left in the third quarter after Paulsboro had scored a touchdown to claw within 21-20. On the ensuing extra point attempt, Worthy broke through the line and got his hands up to block his second PAT of the game.
“Coach put me in there all week and I was blocking them during practice, so coach gave me a chance to do it during the game,” said Worthy.
Asked how it felt to make two big blocks, Worthy was candid.
“Actually, it hurts more than anything,” admitted Worthy. “I didn’t want them to tie us up after they got that touchdown, so I just ended it.”
Worthy wasn’t the only Eagle who had a major impact on special teams. With the Eagles leading 7-6 midway through the second quarter, Herb Snyder blocked a punt to give the Eagles the ball on the Paulsboro 43-yard line.
“We knew that Paulsboro had a good kicker and he is very effective so we knew we had to try and get in there,” senior quarterback/cornerback Alex Hilbmann said. “Obviously, it made a very big impact in the game. That definitely helped us win the game with the special teams and that’s why we work on it everyday.”
Later in that drive, West Deptford moved the ball all the way down to the 4 yard line where it faced a third-and-goal. Hilbmann faked the handoff and rolled to his right, before firing a touchdown to Worthy, who was uncovered in the end zone.
“We were hoping (Hilbmann) would get the edge and would be able to run it in,” West Deptford coach Clyde Folsom said. “They took it away and he hit a wide open Isaiah Worthy.”
It was not only Worthy’s first touchdown of the season, but also his first reception. Worthy had been used primarily as a fullback until the coaching staff started giving him a look at tight end two weeks ago. Friday was his first start at the position, but likely not his last.
“I was open and the quarterback saw me,” said Worthy.
Paulsboro tied the game 14-14 on its first possession of the first half. Quarterback Zach Funk connected with Derrick Burgess on a long touchdown pass on third-and-26. A successful two-point conversion followed.
West Deptford responded by regaining the lead on the ensuing possession when Hilbmann threw his second TD of the game, this one to Nick Pulli. It was also Pulli’s first reception of the season.
With the Eagles being a running team, Hilbmann was happy to have the opportunity to have the ball in his hands in crucial situations.
“I don’t think (the touchdown passes) were that long, but it was great to get them out and I’m happy I got them,” Hilbmann said.
The Eagles’ increased the lead to 28-20 on a one-yard touchdown run by Josh Cornelius with 1:36 left in the game. Cornelius went over 100 yards on the ground and was named the West Deptford MVP.
Snyder sealed the victory with an interception—West Deptford’s third of the game—in the game’s final minute, allowing West Deptford to celebrate a hard-fought victory.
“I’m ecstatic getting out of here with a win,” Folsom said. “I know what we are and who we are and I know what they are as well. It’s Paulsboro-West Deptford and they are at full strength. “
Next up is a game with Woodstown that can earn the Eagles a trip back to the group 2 finals.
“I can’t wait,” said Worthy. “We are going to be ready; our coach is going to prepare us well. Our defense is going to step up and our offense is going to do what it does."