(WORTH MENTIONING is an ongoing feature from the South Jersey Glory Days staff in which we recognize a player, coach or team for doing something outstanding, give our thoughts on why it’s important, and what it means for the particular program mentioned. If you see or hear about something worth mentioning, email South Jersey Glory Days Publisher Dave O’Sullivan at email@example.com).
The Maple Shade High football team had high expectations in 2022, and although its season is over before Thanksgiving, Wildcats players and staff can head into the offseason with plenty to be proud of.
Coach Imion Powell’s squad fell, 36-6, on Saturday against a very talented Woodbury team in the South Jersey Group 1 championship, capping off the Wildcats’ historic campaign. The Wildcats came into the postseason with only one playoff victory in school history, but doubled that tally by eliminating both South Hunterdon and Asbury Park in the opening two rounds.
The Wildcats hung with Woodbury for the majority of the first quarter before the Thundering Herd exploded for 29 points in the second quarter to put the game out of reach.
Maple Shade’s season ends with a 9-3 record and the Wildcats were co-champions of the West Jersey Football League’s Freedom Division. They also had the most wins in a single season in program history. An eight-game winning streak, which also included a dominant defensive performance in a 14-0 victory over division rival Cinnaminson, headlined the overall consistency put in by this team. The Cats’ last loss prior to the sectional championship game came in Week 2 against Bordentown, and they scored 20-or-more points in seven of their last nine games.
Powell has helped instill a winning atmosphere to Maple Shade football, overcoming a 2-8 record in 2017 to register an above-.500 winning percentage in each of his last five seasons as head coach. Led by gritty tailback Sean Loomis, quarterback Nate Veasey and one of the best defensive units in Burlington County, the Wildcats took another major step forward in 2022.
The losses of several key two-way players, including Loomis and Veasey, will pose a major challenge for Powell and his coaching staff to overcome in 2023, but if the Wildcats can continue to show the same fight that they did this year, the future remains very bright for them in the Freedom Division and South Jersey Group 1.
- Larry Henry Jr., South Jersey Glory Days correspondent (@lhenry019 on Twitter)