By MARK TRIBLE
Glory Days Football Writer
CAMDEN — Behind its starters and an opportunistic defense, Woodrow Wilson’s football team extended its win streak to seven and claimed the city on Thanksgiving.
The Tigers strutted out of Farnham Park with the Whip Wilson Trophy in tow thanks to a 28-12 triumph that featured five interceptions, two Devin Kargman touchdown passes and another pair of Nasz’ir Oglesby runs for six.
Assistant coach Rob Davis’ phrase echoed through the postgame celebrations, one that’s a motto for this club.
“Winning is winning,” they yelled. “And losing sucks!”
That talk came from the victors afterward. They tried to ignore all chatter before the game. As is customary in this rivalry, the verbal barbs and jabs got traded long prior to kickoff — either on social media or in warmups.
Three of the heroes all year for Wilson (9-2) say little with their mouths and plenty with their play. Kargman and Oglesby use that mentality on offense. Senior linebacker Damir McCrary does it on the other side of the ball.
McCrary’s hurry forced the game’s final interception. He didn’t even celebrate after the play. The star simply came off the field and sat on the bench, a worker who’d done his job until called on to do it again.
“The mission today was to complete the goal,” McCrary said. “The game was on the schedule from the beginning of the season and we didn’t play like it was a Turkey Game, we played like it was another game on our schedule.
“It was another mission to complete before we got to our end goal and that’s at Rutgers on December 4 against Cedar Creek.”
Some wondered about the first-string’s fate due to the final tilt — at 7 p.m. next Saturday against the unbeaten Pirates — but coach Brandon Bather knew the importance of a win on Thursday.
“You want to play hard in front of your hometown,” Bather said. “I don’t care what anybody says.
“You don’t want to take away from all the people who helped you grow up. They feed you on the corner, they work at the grocery store, they work at the gas station. You don’t want to come out and not play for them. I’d rather play for them than anybody.”
His Tigers got behind early when Camden (5-5) hit the scoreboard on Luis Ward’s 15-yard pass to Terron Davis late in the first stanza. Oglesby’s 4-yard run and the conversion made it 8-6 with 8 minutes, 55 seconds left in the second quarter.
The score stood there at halftime. Wilson took control on its first two possessions of the second half. Kargman hit Will Love for a 16-yard score and then Mike Estremera from 10 yards out on a 4th-and-Goal.
At 20-6, the Tigers were in control. Even after Ward found Calvin Coley for an 8-yard score to make it 20-12 on the first play of the fourth, Wilson added on another with Oglesby’s 21-yard sprint.
Julius Dominguez came away with that late interception that McCrary’s rush forced. He had two pilfers on the afternoon. So did Paul Medley.
“I feel like our defense comes out hard, comes out fast and strong and holds it down just in case the offense doesn’t score on their drives,” Medley said. “We make sure our keys are right and assignments are right. We do what we have to do.”
They are hungry for the rematch against Cedar Creek — a 21-8 road loss on Sept. 25. But first, they craved some turkey and extra helpings at Camden’s table.
“It’s a crosstown rival, but we know where the team is,” McCrary said. “Most of those guys over there are my friends. When you’re in between the lines, it’s just us against us.
“Outside of the field, you know we’re cool. It was nothing that serious or anything to be mad about.”
The only thing that anyone could have been mad about were those in purple at the result of the 91st contest between the schools (Per South Jersey historian Chuck Langerman, the Panthers own the series lead 55-33-3).
Otherwise, it made for another city reunion on a beautiful autumn day.
And for Bather, his first touch of the rivalry as a head coach.
“I’m old school football, man, let’s play,” he said. “I don’t want any excuses. I don’t want to say, ‘Oh we would have beaten y’all.’ No, we played.
“Our varsity played. Your varsity played. We won. Respect it. It was a good game, they played hard. They have some great athletes who made some great plays and they hit hard. We knew it was going to be a game.”
That’s seven in a row for the squad from Federal Street. Next stop — and the final stop — Piscataway.
Mark Trible covers high school football for Glory Days Magazine. Check out his weekly Facebook Live show every Wednesday at 7 p.m. The South Jersey Football Frenzy Show can be seen at facebook.com/acglorydays. You can also take in Mark’s “Hat’s Off” podcast every Sunday at 9 a.m. at our Facebook page.